Smart Society: Maximizing Social Media Intelligence to Improve Modern Lifestyles

Social media is the most rapidly moving line of global communication, and news spreads faster than ever before. While recent focus has been on the negatives of social media, this relatively new form of communication and information sharing has potential to contribute to society in many positive and unexpected ways. A recent report titled The Potential of Social Media Intelligence to Improve People’s Lives, by DataCollaboratives.org discusses numerous beneficial and innovative uses for social media. The report also outlines the challenges and concerns regarding responsibly sharing social media data, and how to mitigate key risks.

The creative use of social media to benefit many aspects of society revolves around the idea of data collaboratives, a new type of relationship bridged between the public and private sectors, and is defined in the report:

Data collaboratives are an emerging form of public-private partnership in which actors from different sectors exchange information to create new public value. Such collaborative arrangements, for example between social media companies and humanitarian organizations or civil society actors, can be seen as possible templates for leveraging privately held data towards the attainment of public goals.

As outlined and explained through numerous, well-researched case studies in the report, notable potential uses for social media data in the pursuit of public goals are:

  1. Situational awareness and response
  2. Knowledge creation and transfer
  3. Public service design and delivery
  4. Prediction and forecasting
  5. Impact assessment and evaluation

From city management and infrastructure development to public health patterns and forecasting, there are many applications for this innovative use of social media and new intelligence. Technology, creativity, and the desire to better the global community is a beautiful combination with vast potential.

An online, interactive version of the report is also available. Non-registered users may access the full report here. The HSDL offers many additional resources on related topics. Check out these Featured Topics for more: Cyber Infrastructure Protection, Cyber Policy, Interoperability, and Social Media Use in Emergencies.