Tag Archives: social networks

Jam of the Day – Take These Thoughts and Aggregate Them?

Clearly, Twitter and other social networking sites are changing the way that companies interact with and listen to customers, and now, that interaction has also turned into a business of its own! Yesterday the New York Times ran an interesting article about the “virtual currency” of online opinion, and takes a look at some of the early frontrunnrers in this emerging field unsentimentaly dubbed “sentiment analysis.” Companies such as Scout Labs in California and Jodange in Yonkers are powered by increasingly complex algorithms that serve to aggregate feelings, thoughts, and opinions as expressed by users of various online social networks, blogs, and other community web sites. The companies can then theoretically use this information to gain valuable insight into new marketing strategies or products (essentially free market research, replacing 20 random people in a room with 200,000 readers of a blog, say), or to better manage public relations, such as this spring when StubHub used data from Scout Labs to notice brewing discontent over its bad weather policy and was able to avoid any major backlash.

Of course, this all sounds nice until you hear that the accuracy of even the best of the companies’ algorithms are only “70-80% accurate” (as quoted in the Times piece). And as the article points out, “translating the slippery stuff of human language into binary values will always be an imperfect science.” I’m no moral philosopher, so I’m not looking to get into all that right now, but it seems like this article gets it right when it points out that this road may ultimately lead to a dangerous conflation of feeling and fact.

It’s almost like Chris and Thomas are commenting on the potential downsides to this “innovation” in their song “Take These Thoughts,” when they warn:

Take these thoughts /
They’re heavy and they’re old /
Don’t let ’em steal your soul

Chris (Anderson) and Thomas (Hien), a folk duo in the vein of Simon and Garfunkel, met in Liverpool at the same art school where another pretty famous pair first got to know each other (although come on, the comparison is QUITE a stretch, Ms. Dunham, no matter what their PR peeps told you). Their first full album, Land of Sea, generated a lot of interest in the group, and I’m sure that comparisons to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young have helped almost as much as the major success of last year’s Fleet Foxes record, which sounds awfully similar to these guys at times. They don’t seem to have any tour dates up on their myspace or official website, so for now, I guess you’ll have to settle for this video.

Chris and Thomas – Take These Thoughts:


P.S. Happy Birthdays, Moms!

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Jam(s) of the Day – Mapping Social Networks and Technology in the Rap Game

Yesterday a friend of mine out in San Francisco sent me a link to this song called “Hit Me On Twitter” by Mistah F.A.B., and it sent me off on a train of thought about the use of various social networking sites in recent rap jams. Even more broadly, it made me start to think about all of the songs that heavily feature some new, cool, technology in the chorus. Does this sort of usage cause a rise or decline in popularity of the social network/technology? Or does it only occur once the social network/technology has reached a certain societal saturation level? I honestly think that it might be possible to reconstruct the evolution of technology, and the popularity of that technoolgy within the culture, by “reading” rap songs.

I’m sure that this has already been contemplated by various stoned white dudes over the years, and I’m not about to try to get into it on a Thesis Paper level of research or detail, but here’s a couple of examples (in text or video) of what I’m getting at, starting with pagers, just to get the conversation started:

Big L – Lyric from “Ebonics”:

“Hit me on the hip means page me”

Lil Scrappy & G’$ Up – Cell Phone Watch:

J-Shin ft. T-Pain – Send Me an Email:

(Anyone who watches A Shot At Love on MTV will notice the Tila Tequila cameo in there)

Brandon T. Jackson ft. T-Pain (?) – What’s Yo Myspace:

(haha I love the part where he starts naming hot celebrity females that he wants to become friends with on Myspace: “Lindsay Lohan, put me in your Top 8!”…also this always comes up as T-Pain, but that just doesn’t sound right to me. Dude ALREADY has a song about emails… one is enough)

Mistah F.A.B. – Hit Me On Twitter:

And honestly, I compiled that list just off the top of the dome. I think this needs to be explored further. Someone want to call up Marcyliena Morgan at Harvard and get her on the case? I smell a best-seller here.

Know any other songs that would fit the bill? Then post it in the comments, already!



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