Monday, January 21, 2008

Analyzing Facebook with Mark Logic's Kick It: The Potential of Personal Social Media Content Analysis

The capabilities of XML server capabilities from Mark Logic are unleashed oftentimes on large-scale content solutions for enterprises and publishers, but that's not to say that XML servers are only about such major projects. Mark Logic's David Amusin decided see if he could use their technology to make sense of the hundreds of contacts that he had amassed on Facebook, a sidebar project that took only a few weeks of tinkering to get whipped into a good demo.

The problem that David faced with making sense of his Facebook contacts is a common one: too much information about too much people. When he had a couple of extra tickets for a concert recently, that spurred him to create Kick It, which uses Mark Logic technology to power a Facebook application to filter on multiple user profile attributes. So, for example, Kick It could help David find how many of his Facebook contacts in Los Angeles liked the Dave Matthews Band very quickly. Problem solved. The current iteration of Kick It enables you to traverse your Facebook contacts by category - activities, interests, companies and so on - to search by logical combinations of attributes and to get surprised by a "did you know that" random display that shows you interesting combinations of attributes (for example, three of my contacts participate in tennis. Hmm. Maybe I should dust off that racket after all).

Kick It is a simple and yet powerful example of how analysis of social media content can yield a treasure trove of potentially useful associations that can fuel both personal and professional contacts in unexpected ways. Take these associations and layer on additional content from other content sources and you can begin to get a sense of why embedding your own publication's content in social media portals such as Facebook can be so valuable. Mark Logic's technology is not unique in being able to do this, so the fact that it was able to develop Kick It as an interesting demonstration of its integration capabilities with social media using very limited efforts should spur on other content technology providers and publishers to consider just how easy it can be to make a big impression of their own. In the meantime kudos to Mark Logic for seeing an important opportunity to demonstrate how content integration technologies can make it easy for publishers to extend their value beyond their own portals into social media outlets.
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