THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUNE 21, 2009
Social Networks for Mining: Professional Twitter ?
Recently more and social networking pundits write about the way social networks can be used by business to enhance their operations. However, I want to pinpoint that despite tremendous growth of the Internet, a considerable part of businessmen know very little how to exploit the advantages offered by it. In most cases this depends on the abilities of key corporate management to streamline IT divisions in their entities. When I started working in mining industry I fully discovered all benefits of global knowledge sharing; in some time I offered some pieces of advice to my fellow miners: ASIA MINING – Practical Hints and Asia Mining: Helpful Hints No.2 — Mineral Education
That was the basic reason WHY I decided to explore Twitter among other social networks and think about its possible business applications. What is exceptionally good with Twitter, as compared to its peers, – existence the ability that is exclusively peculiar to it: sending real-time messages via text (SMS) via cell phones without Internet connection. This opens tremendous opportunities to all types of businesses that rely on real-time accurate data.
My one-month trial confirms that Twitter is in its infancy as to business applications, so I would like to share my opinion as to the future development. Recent news stories about Twitter plans for e-commerce show one side of monetizing, that can be used to its full extent. However, there are some other points that IMHO are worth considering. As I am currently working in mining, this is related to that industry, however, it can be easily adapted to any other type.
Twitter experience shows that the idea of unifying globally millions of people in one network is very feasible. This network, as opposed to the peers is characterized by concise real-time messaging. Quite naturally the next stage of it — is the establishment of global professional networks, that shall look like (for the sake of example) www.twitter.com/professional/mining. These networks may provide crucial and timely operational data for the business in case – and I am pretty sure that many, if not all, major business companies shall subscribe to it. As an example, financial agencies may provide stock quotes, miners – information on metals and minerals prices in various spots of the world, etc. From financial point of view creation of such network would not require big investments; most of the money will go into adaptation of existing software platform and for running of operations.
Another important issue that characterizes Twitter – is the ability to segment and classify data by hashtag usage. Thus, any user can easily find the subject that is needed in a very fast way. Of course, using Google, Bing or other search engine would provide with a lot, but in case of professional network the quality of data mining would be much higher. This leads to a very important feature of the proposed professional network: information database. In my one-month trial I attempted to segment news information (on a very limited basis). Let me show for those readers that know a little about Twitter. If you are already registered Twitter user – you can make use of third-party Twitter applications – TweetDeck, Filttr and twitTangle – that enable filtering and sorting. If not: using http://search.twitter.com or www.hashtags.org enter one of the hashtags words – e.g. iron_ore and here are the results.
That means that you are getting news information that was hand-picked by an expert in the field and is: relevant, up to date, and serves your needs.
In case of mining the professional network (this in fact may be applied to any other network) the contents may be segmented into the following:
- – News
- – Countries – mining developments in various parts of the world
- - Mining Finance (which in turn may be segmented in a numbers of items, like M&A, Stocks, Investments, etc.)
- - Legal mining issues
- - Mining jobs
- - Machinery and equipment
- - Market (segmented to: prices, shipments, etc.)
- – Bulletin boards
This is not a full list, and can be expanded as required.
Summarizing all – establishing a professional network(s) is a natural step in the future of social media, the step that does not require big investment and will bring a lot of collaboration in specific industries.