What better place to have a cutting edge social media research lab than in Canada? Statistics indicate Canadians love social media, and now it’s possible for students and other researchers to peer further into their behaviour at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
Founded in 2010 by Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd at the School of Information Management, the Social Media Lab upgrade to a state-of-the-art facility was funded by Dalhousie Faculty of Management, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust. The new lab officially opened in March, 2013.
The scale of social media usage data can interfere with its study, and this facility was built with that in mind. The social media lab is equipped with tools to collect, visualize and analyze data with super-servers and computers, and a 96″ touch video wall that allows for the visualization of massive data for the identification of patterns and trends. It allows researchers to dig way down into the data for truly useful, specific information.
The idea is to identify and analyze communications for a better understanding of how people use social media, along with its impact on organizations and society. The study conclusions are applied to the development of deeply analytical tools that can be used to grab and decipher information, allowing for more effective use of social media. Tools currently in development include rDmap (Research Discovery Map), AcademiaMap, and Netlytic. Current tools on the market do allow for some monitoring and analysis, with Canada’s HootSuite being the number one choice of top brands, according to Pingdom. The goal of the lab is to take data analytics to whole new level.
Peggy Cunningham, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Management says, “The new Social Media Lab at the Faculty of Management is a world-class research facility. Work done here will help businesses, government and not-for-profit organizations understand the context of our social interactions online and how these interactions help shape and influence our society.”
What This Could Mean for Canadian Businesses
- Statistics Canada reports that in 2010, 58% of Canadian Internet users visited social networks.
- The “Canadian Digital Mom 2012 Report” published by Mom Central Consulting, indicates the most popular activity for online Canadian Moms is social networking and related online activities.
- Canada ranks in the top 10 countries for Twitter usage, according to Semocast.
- EventBrite estimated the average value of each social share is $3.23 per share ($4.15 per Facebook share).
Clearly, there is vast potential in social media for Canadian businesses and the research that this lab makes possible is exciting news. Social media marketers with the ability to access and analyze specific data would have a serious competitive edge. Businesses in general could use these tools to assist with everything from campaigns, to the improvement of internal team building. The possibilities for writers are virtually endless.
Of all the impressive universities in the World, I now find myself daydreaming about an honorary degree from the Dalhousie University School of Information Management in Nova Scotia. You know you’re a Canadian nerd when…
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