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When does Time not mean time?

When does Time not mean time? Just about all the time. I asked someone this question today at a meeting at Time-Life headquarters because social media listening is expected to get it wrong. We’ve all seen such poor examples of social listening that we no longer have the slightest expectation that it will get the hard questions right. So, when your social listening success depends on knowing Time magazine from every other mention of the word time, it is no wonder that you are defeatist about what is possible.

I’ve had the same conversations with other household names, such as Sprint, Orange, Chase, and many more. Their brand names are overwhelmed in social media by the commonplace usage of those ordinary English words. What’s a brand manager to do?

Get better technology.

No, you don’t need to create Boolean search queries that say “sprint AND phone,” or “sprint NOT car” to try to get the right occurrences of Sprint without picking up every NASCAR Sprint car reference. Or every mention of a running race.

Instead, you can use machine learning technology to train the system to identify the conversations that you have marked yes for and to eliminate the rest. [Full disclosure: I am a senior strategist for Revealed Context that makes this kind of technology.] Until you start demanding more of your technology, you are sentencing yourself to hand-selecting relevant conversations out of the scrap heap of all tweets. Or, worse, you have already given up on social listening as being useful for your business. Don’t let poor technology stop your search for insights in social media. Demand more and reap the benefits.

Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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