Social Data for Social Good

Elena Eneva, Leysia Palen, and Patrick Meier Discuss How Organizations Are Using Social Data to Improve Social Good

Elena Eneva @palen and @patrickmeier discuss Social Data for Social Good.

What is social good? What does it mean?
The panelist demonstrated that there are a number of ways to look at social data in the context of social good—considering everything thing from the responsibility that comes with using social data to address humanitarian issues to the ways in which a technical methodology like machine learning can be applied to disaster response. In short, there wasn’t a dictionary definition because there are so many interpretations and examples of what social good is. An important point came up: the problem owners (people who are facing the problem) aren’t necessarily the people who have the skills to solve the problems and that connecting problem owners to problem solvers is an important piece of applying technical methodologies to humanitarian problems.
How can the social data ecosystem help?
Access. Access. Access. The ask for access to a variety of data sources, but particularly social, was a clear one. According to the panelists information is just as important as food, water, and shelter, during times of disaster and subsequent disaster response. In addition to access, help from the ecosystem in providing guidance in how to manage social media data during these crises—everything from understanding TOS to integrating various data sources.
In addition to data access, getting individuals in the ecosystem to devote more of their time, attracting top talent to work on these issues, prioritizing the development of open-source projects, and making social good and explicit company value are all ways to help further the work going on in the sphere of social good.
Given the examples of all work going on to leverage social data for social good, it’s clear there are infinite opportunities for individuals from all aspects of the social data industry to apply time, resources, and knowledge to assist the organizations, researchers, and universities working in this area.

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