Why Focused Listening is the Foundation of Next Generation Social Intelligence

The last decade brought in the first wave of social listening. At first that caused lots of excitement in the business world. Many brands and service providers launched broad scoped listening initiatives, mainly in marketing and public relations domains. Over time however that excitement fizzled out as broad listening overwhelmed business users with noise, large volumes of irrelevant data that did not deliver insights that were needed for business decisions.

We believe that today’s big data world needs a different approach to social intelligence. An approach that has a clear focus on business outcomes that solve specific problems. We call it Focused Listening and it is based on our Adaptive Listening technology that allows business users to create flexible data-driven rules and uses machine learning to automatically segment relevant data for specific problems.

Here’s an infographic that summarizes how the old and new approaches to social listening compare.


Let’s take a look at the three key things that differentiate Focused Listening from Legacy Listening.

  1. Volume and Organization of Data – With the proliferation of mobile devices, widespread connectivity and hundreds of millions of active users the volume of social media keeps growing. This becomes a major issue when one is collecting data for broad concept or for a well-known brand and its competition. In recent years, the velocity and volume of data has exploded, exacerbating the problem. Focused listening solves this problem by breaking the problem in manageable chunks and using business rules to isolate the relevant data.
  2. Content versus People – Initial days of social listening provided us with plenty of content to analyze. There were posts with text, web links, hash tags, photos and videos. Text analytics became an attractive but elusive goal as technology struggled to capture nuances of human thought. In this process the human element took second stage. We did not pay enough attention to the people creating the posts. The keyword-based listening did not provide an easy way to scan and segment users. Focused listening provides a new approach of combining metadata from users and content that allows you to be in control.
  3. Automation through Algorithms – Social media is notorious for producing large volumes of unstructured data that requires considerable human effort to understand and organize. Focused listening goes beyond Boolean logic and keywords and comes with sophisticated yet easy to write rules that allow business users to automate tasks. This results in unparalleled speed and improves accuracy.

As we take next steps in our journey with Shapiro+Raj, we believe that Focused Listening will become the foundation of our next generation insights. If you haven’t looked at how it works, contact us today to see a demo.


by Babar Bhatti, CEO MutualMind, A Shapiro+Raj Company