I don't understand the practice of text (or digital) analytics as much as I would like as we haven't spent too much time on it, but I wanted to blog about this article because it relates very much to what our guest lecturer from Carmichael Lynch was talking about. It was written about a year ago by Tom H.C. Anderson and he addresses some problems relating to text analytics that our lecturer also spoke of in class.
He describes current text analytics as being "pure play" and not specifically tailored for market research as most have been developed for the defense, intelligence, and financial industries. This can lead to errors in analysis of social media, blogs, and other texts on the web in relation to a market researcher's research goals. Our lecturer mentioned that a tweet could mention a business, but it's hard to determine whether the tweet was positive, negative, or completely irrelevant without actually reading the tweet (something that's impossible to do as a researcher could have thousand or even millions of tweets to review).
The author calls for market researchers to develop their own text analytics software, made to meet the needs of the market researcher and to accurately analyze the wealth of qualitative data on the world wide web. He is also in the business of developing his own software for his company, Anderson Analytics. The software is called Odin Text (linked to above), and promises to properly analyze text date in order to meet marketing and communication needs.
I feel as though text/digital analytics is the future of strategic communications research, and developing the proper tools for practicing it is detrimental to that future. Our lecturer mentioned that 23% of all US advertising is now digital and the author states that 85% of all information in the world is available via text. The world is "digitizing" (trademark) and in order for communications professionals to do their jobs, we must "digitize" right along with it.