Optimal Conducts Social Media Analysis Demonstration in Topic Detection

COLLEGE PARK, MD—June 20, 2011—Optimal Solutions Group, LLC (Optimal) has developed a social media analysis tool kit as part of its framework to enable real-time public policy decision-making. The tool kit and associated approaches are based on the extensive review and testing of commercially available social media applications conducted over the past year, and also includes multidisciplinary collaborations with universities and experts in social media analytics.

Using the tool kit, which was refined by additional environmental scanning and compatible tool integration, Optimal conducted a demonstration on behalf of its federal agency client on topic detection. Topic detection is the ability to determine what is emerging in social media as a topic in blogs, tweets, Facebook, websites, etc., within a certain policy context, such as in health policy. Optimal examined and matched historical news articles, press releases, announcements, policy changes, and events with the volume of social media activity online over the past year, to determine the accuracy of the demonstration.

Furthermore, other areas of social media analysis include:

  • Sentiment analysis of individual Facebook posts and tweets to determine users’ emotions
  • Trend analysis of particular topics of interest
  • Geographic mapping based on topics and sentiment
  • Demographic analysis (e.g., age, gender) of the population of interest
  • Analyzing important terms and the relationship of topics

The results from the social media analyses are displayed in a dashboard with a compilation of all tools required for client requirements.

As technology moves at an ever faster pace and takes on an increasingly larger role in the lives of every citizen, public policy data design, collection, analysis and reporting is not currently keeping pace. Optimal is taking the lead by focusing on real-time policy decision making.

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Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

Founded in 2000, Optimal Solutions Group, LLC is a nonpartisan public policy research and technical assistance firm that stands out through its quantitative expertise and innovative approaches to provide rigorous, data-driven research and technical assistance to government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropic foundations. Located at the University of Maryland’s M Square Research Park in College Park, Optimal is a leader in driving real-time public policy research. Optimal has 60+ employees including multidisciplinary researchers with backgrounds in business, communication, economics, education, health policy, psychology, public policy, sociology, statistics, and urban planning. Optimal has four research centers: Health, Education, Housing, and Workforce Development and Social Policy.