Posted February 29, 2012 2:16 pm by with 1 comment

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Twitter search is a frustrating thing. It sticks to the overall mantra of the social media outlet which is to manage what is current. What is now is now and what has passed is, well, in the past. Having historical access to Twitter data has simply been elusive.

Now Twitter has partnered with a UK firm, DataSift to provide marketers with Twitter historical data going back to January of 2010. The BBC reports

Companies are now able to search and analyse up to two years of Twitter updates for market research purposes.

Firms can search tweets back to January 2010 in order to plan marketing campaigns, target influential users or even try to predict certain events.

Until today, only the previous 30 days of tweets were available for companies to search. Regular users can access posts from the past seven days.

As a marketer does this get you excited? What can you do with this kind of data? These are good questions and ones that will depend solely on your business needs and, of course, your ability to pay for access to the data.

The cost to businesses will depend on the company’s size, with Datasift’s entry-level package costing £635 ($1,000) per month for “individuals or developers”.

Of course, no story about the online space and the use of data for marketing purposes would be complete without the shrill cry of the privacy police.

“People have historically used Twitter to communicate with friends and networks in the belief that their tweets will quickly disappear into the ether,” argued Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International.

Companies can get detailed reports showing activity around a certain term or topic “The fact that two years’ worth of tweets can now be mined for information and the resulting ‘insights’ sold to businesses is a radical shift in the wrong direction.

While it makes for good copy I doubt very seriously that most people ever consider whether their tweets disappear into the Internet ether. Most people forget what they tweeted an hour ago so the idea that truly concern themselves with some semblance of privacy on Twitter is a bit overplayed, in my opinion.

Nonetheless, data is data and marketers are suckers for whatever they can get their hands on. The adoption of this service should be interesting. DataSift claims it has over 1,000 companies waiting to take advantage of this offering. Do some simple math and that’s some decent revenue in a very short period of time.

Are you thinking about it for your business?

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  • This does matter.

    The scary New York Times Story “How Companies Learn Your Secrets”
    Showed how “Target” Stores could figure out when a shopper was pregnant based on shopping habits.,,and the irate father who apologised to Target when he realized his daughter was pregnant!

    Stephen Colbert spoofed this.

    Someone is going to do some heavy duty analysis (Sentiment) and start to use the TWITTER sphere to do the same thing…Do you want the spin doctors to start placing influence elections? Silence whistle blowers online. The patterns are already there. I better buy my tinfoil hat once goverment agencies start using this stuff…Oh don’t forget Google!!

    I think some heavy duty privacy legislation is in order, to protect Joe public from themselves.