Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT Training Course 20th-21st Nov 2019

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course

The 2 day Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course will equip delegates with the practical skills and confidence to search across key social networks to identify influencers, monitor key topics and extract actionable intelligence to assist decision support. The Social Media Intelligence training is also available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Who should attend:

The programme is particularly suited for :

  • Analysts
  • Policy officers
  • Information professionals
  • Researchers
social media intelligence socmint training course
All delegates will complete the training course with their own SOCMINT analysis dashboard customised to their work requirements

Why you should attend:

  • The practical and straight-forward training will turn the complex into the simple and equip delegates with the practical skills needed to improve productivity and gain key information to assist decision support
  • All the social media channels and digital tools we use are free and easy to use – they are cloud services and can be accessed after the training on any PC, laptop, tablet or mobile
  • Gain hands-on, practical skills and the confidence to immediately use Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT in everyday work
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn, and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance information gathering and improve decision support

What are the benefits:

Two days of practical, applicable, hands-on training that can be applied immediately.

  • Increase productivity and access to knowledge by taking advantage of social media intelligence
  • Confidence and empowerment based on acquiring practical hands-on skills
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn, and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance intelligence gathering and improve decision making

 

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course
Delegates will learn how to use social media geo-location tools

What you will get:

  • Two full days of social media intelligence SOCMINT training
  • Lunch and catering included
  • A hand-picked digital toolkit directory for future reference
  • One month help-desk support by phone or e-mail after the training

Course agenda

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT  Training Course (2 Day)

Day 1 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Introductions – you, me, what do you want from the training?
  • Latest statistics, trends, demographics, and research
  • The importance of listening & the importance of content
  • Best practice social media guidelines & behaviour, how to build an online reputation, do’s and don’t’s
  • Overview of the main social media channels and digital tools and how they can be used for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Twitter: Creating a personal Twitter profile, settings, Twitter search, identifying influencers, Twitter lists, creating and sharing content, monitoring specific topics, discreet monitoring of individuals, growing followers, Twitter ads, using Chrome extensions to assist productivity
  • Practical Session – LinkedIn: Creating and optimising a personal LinkedIn profile, settings, advanced search, discreet advanced search, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn ads, recommendations
  • Practical Exercise 1: Using Twitter for social media intelligence
  • Practical Exercise 2: Using LinkedIn for social media intelligence
  • Q&A – End of day one

Day 2 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Group Discussion – Recap of learning from Day 1
  • Practical Session – Hootsuite: Creating a free personal Hootsuite account, settings, importing Twitter & LinkedIn, creating real-time information streams from Twitter lists, identifying, monitoring and engaging, scheduling content, advanced search, geo-location search, scheduling content, automated analytics, and reporting
  • Practical Exercise 3: Using Hootsuite for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Using digital tools: Using a variety of free digital tools, delegates will learn additional skills including how to identify when a target is most likely to be online and also their possible geo-location
  • Demo – Best practice target engagement – Having identified a target, listened to their interests and discovered when they are most likely to be online, how can you engage and influence them?
  • Social media intelligence case studies – Delegates are shown and discuss 4 successful social media intelligence case studies
  • Next steps – Delegates are shown a 4-week social media intelligence plan to help embed learning
  • What have you learned? – Each delegate confirms the top 2 things they have learned
  • Q&A – End of course
  • Any questions?

The Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training is available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Course Tutor

Andy Black
Andy Black – Tutor for SOCMINT course

Andy Black   Andy has over 25 years’ experience in the software and information services sector. He has worked for companies including Perfect Information, Excalibur Technologies, and Business Objects and for clients including Jane’s Information, Reuters and Clifford Chance.  In 2005 he switched to marketing, PR and communications and has since been Head of Digital for a leading PR firm, managed Honda’s social media monitoring, directed lead generation social media campaigns for Vodafone as well as training B2B sales and marketing teams in digital skills and social selling.

Andy is a contractor to the UK Govt and trains diplomats at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in digital diplomacy.

Eventbrite - Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT - Training Course

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT Training Course 20th-21st June 2019

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course

The 2-day Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course will equip delegates with the practical skills and confidence to search across key social networks to identify influencers, monitor key topics and extract actionable intelligence to assist decision support. The Social Media Intelligence training is also available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Who should attend:

The programme is particularly suited for :

  • Analysts
  • Policy officers
  • Information professionals
  • Researchers
social media intelligence socmint training course
All delegates will complete the training course with their own SOCMINT analysis dashboard customised to their work requirements

Why you should attend:

  • The practical and straight-forward training will turn the complex into the simple and equip delegates with the practical skills needed to improve productivity and gain key information to assist decision support
  • All the social media channels and digital tools we use are free and easy to use – they are cloud services and can be accessed after the training on any PC, laptop, tablet or mobile
  • Gain hands-on, practical skills and the confidence to immediately use Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT in everyday work
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance information gathering and improve decision support

What are the benefits:

Two days of practical, applicable, hands-on training that can be applied immediately.

  • Increase productivity and access to knowledge by taking advantage of social media intelligence
  • Confidence and empowerment based on acquiring practical hands-on skills
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance intelligence gathering and improve decision making

 

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course
Delegates will learn how to use social media geo-location tools

What you will get:

  • Two full days of social media intelligence SOCMINT training
  • Lunch and catering included
  • A hand-picked digital toolkit directory for future reference
  • One month help-desk support by phone or e-mail after the training

Course agenda

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT  Training Course (2 Day)

Day 1 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Introductions – you, me, what do you want from the training?
  • Latest statistics, trends, demographics and research
  • The importance of listening & the importance of content
  • Best practice social media guidelines & behaviour, how to build an online reputation, do’s and don’t’s
  • Overview of the main social media channels and digital tools and how they can be used for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Twitter: Creating a personal Twitter profile, settings, Twitter search, identifying influencers, Twitter lists, creating and sharing content, monitoring specific topics, discreet monitoring of individuals, growing followers, Twitter ads, using Chrome extensions to assist productivity
  • Practical Session – LinkedIn: Creating and optimising a personal LinkedIn profile, settings, advanced search, discreet advanced search, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn ads, recommendations
  • Practical Exercise 1: Using Twitter for social media intelligence
  • Practical Exercise 2: Using LinkedIn for social media intelligence
  • Q&A – End of day one

Day 2 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Group Discussion – Recap of learning from Day 1
  • Practical Session – Hootsuite: Creating a free personal Hootsuite account, settings, importing Twitter & LinkedIn, creating real-time information streams from Twitter lists, identifying, monitoring and engaging, scheduling content, advanced search, geo-location search, scheduling content, automated analytics and reporting
  • Practical Exercise 3: Using Hootsuite for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Using digital tools: Using a variety of free digital tools, delegates will learn additional skills including how to identify when a target is most likely to be online and also their possible geo-location
  • Demo – Best practice target engagement – Having identified a target, listened to their interests and discovered when they are most likely to be online, how can you engage and influence them?
  • Social media intelligence case studies – Delegates are shown and discuss 4 successful social media intelligence case studies
  • Next steps – Delegates are shown a 4 week social media intelligence plan to help embed learning
  • What have you learnt? – Each delegate confirms the top 2 things they have learnt
  • Q&A – End of course
  • Any questions?

The Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training is available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Course Tutor

Andy Black
Andy Black – Tutor for SOCMINT course

Andy Black   Andy has over 25 years’ experience in the software and information services sector. He has worked for companies including Perfect Information, Excalibur Technologies and Business Objects and for clients including Jane’s Information, Reuters and Clifford Chance.  In 2005 he switched to marketing, PR and communications and has since been Head of Digital for a leading PR firm, managed Honda’s social media monitoring, directed lead generation social media campaigns for Vodafone as well as training B2B sales and marketing teams in digital skills and social selling.

Andy is a contractor to the UK Govt and trains diplomats at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in digital diplomacy.

Eventbrite - Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT - Training Course

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT Training Course 21st-22nd Feb 2019

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course

The 2 day Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course will equip delegates with the practical skills and confidence to search across key social networks to identify influencers, monitor key topics and extract actionable intelligence to assist decision support. The Social Media Intelligence training is also available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Who should attend:

The programme is particularly suited for :

  • Analysts
  • Policy officers
  • Information professionals
  • Researchers
social media intelligence socmint training course
All delegates will complete the training course with their own SOCMINT analysis dashboard customised to their work requirements

Why you should attend:

  • The practical and straight-forward training will turn the complex into the simple and equip delegates with the practical skills needed to improve productivity and gain key information to assist decision support
  • All the social media channels and digital tools we use are free and easy to use – they are cloud services and can be accessed after the training on any PC, laptop, tablet or mobile
  • Gain hands-on, practical skills and the confidence to immediately use Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT in everyday work
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance information gathering and improve decision support

What are the benefits:

Two days of practical, applicable, hands-on training that can be applied immediately.

  • Increase productivity and access to knowledge by taking advantage of social media intelligence
  • Confidence and empowerment based on acquiring practical hands-on skills
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance intelligence gathering and improve decision making

 

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course
Delegates will learn how to use social media geo-location tools

What you will get:

  • Two full days of social media intelligence SOCMINT training
  • Lunch and catering included
  • A hand-picked digital toolkit directory for future reference
  • One month help-desk support by phone or e-mail after the training

Course agenda

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT  Training Course (2 Day)

Day 1 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Introductions – you, me, what do you want from the training?
  • Latest statistics, trends, demographics, and research
  • The importance of listening & the importance of content
  • Best practice social media guidelines & behaviour, how to build an online reputation, do’s and don’t’s
  • Overview of the main social media channels and digital tools and how they can be used for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Twitter: Creating a personal Twitter profile, settings, Twitter search, identifying influencers, Twitter lists, creating and sharing content, monitoring specific topics, discreet monitoring of individuals, growing followers, Twitter ads, using Chrome extensions to assist productivity
  • Practical Session – LinkedIn: Creating and optimising a personal LinkedIn profile, settings, advanced search, discreet advanced search, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn ads, recommendations
  • Practical Exercise 1: Using Twitter for social media intelligence
  • Practical Exercise 2: Using LinkedIn for social media intelligence
  • Q&A – End of day one

Day 2 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Group Discussion – Recap of learning from Day 1
  • Practical Session – Hootsuite: Creating a free personal Hootsuite account, settings, importing Twitter & LinkedIn, creating real-time information streams from Twitter lists, identifying, monitoring and engaging, scheduling content, advanced search, geo-location search, scheduling content, automated analytics, and reporting
  • Practical Exercise 3: Using Hootsuite for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Using digital tools: Using a variety of free digital tools, delegates will learn additional skills including how to identify when a target is most likely to be online and also their possible geo-location
  • Demo – Best practice target engagement – Having identified a target, listened to their interests and discovered when they are most likely to be online, how can you engage and influence them?
  • Social media intelligence case studies – Delegates are shown and discuss 4 successful social media intelligence case studies
  • Next steps – Delegates are shown a 4-week social media intelligence plan to help embed learning
  • What have you learned? – Each delegate confirms the top 2 things they have learned
  • Q&A – End of course
  • Any questions?

The Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training is available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Course Tutor

Andy Black
Andy Black – Tutor for SOCMINT course

Andy Black   Andy has over 25 years’ experience in the software and information services sector. He has worked for companies including Perfect Information, Excalibur Technologies and Business Objects and for clients including Jane’s Information, Reuters and Clifford Chance.  In 2005 he switched to marketing, PR and communications and has since been Head of Digital for a leading PR firm, managed Honda’s social media monitoring, directed lead generation social media campaigns for Vodafone as well as training B2B sales and marketing teams in digital skills and social selling.

Andy is a contractor to the UK Govt and trains diplomats at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in digital diplomacy, he is also a tutor on the Public Diplomacy and Global Communications MA at UCL.

Eventbrite - Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT - Training Course

How much of the Internet is fake?

How Much of the Internet Is Fake?  Max Read from New York Magazine offers a fascinating analysis.

In late November, the Justice Department unsealed indictments against eight people accused of fleecing advertisers of $36 million in two of the largest digital ad-fraud operations ever uncovered. Digital advertisers tend to want two things: people to look at their ads and “premium” websites — i.e., established and legitimate publications — on which to host them. The two schemes at issue in the case, dubbed Methbot and 3ve by the security researchers who found them, faked both. Hucksters infected 1.7 million computers with malware that remotely directed traffic to “spoofed” websites — “empty websites designed for bot traffic” that served up a video ad purchased from one of the internet’s vast programmatic ad-exchanges, but that were designed, according to the indictments, “to fool advertisers into thinking that an impression of their ad was served on a premium publisher site,” like that of Vogue or The Economist.

Views, meanwhile, were faked by malware-infected computers with marvelously sophisticated techniques to imitate humans: bots “faked clicks, mouse movements, and social network login information to masquerade as engaged human consumers.” Some were sent to browse the internet to gather tracking cookies from other websites, just as a human visitor would have done through regular behavior. Fake people with fake cookies and fake social-media accounts, fake-moving their fake cursors, fake-clicking on fake websites — the fraudsters had essentially created a simulacrum of the internet, where the only real things were the ads.

How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”

In the future, when I look back from the high-tech gamer jail in which President PewDiePie will have imprisoned me, I will remember 2018 as the year the internet passed the Inversion, not in some strict numerical sense, since bots already outnumber humans online more years than not, but in the perceptual sense. The internet has always played host in its dark corners to schools of catfish and embassies of Nigerian princes, but that darkness now pervades its every aspect: Everything that once seemed definitively and unquestionably real now seems slightly fake; everything that once seemed slightly fake now has the power and presence of the real. The “fakeness” of the post-Inversion internet is less a calculable falsehood and more a particular quality of experience — the uncanny sense that what you encounter online is not “real” but is also undeniably not “fake,” and indeed maybe both at once, or in succession, as you turn it over in your head.

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? The metrics are fake.

Take something as seemingly simple as how we measure web traffic. Metrics should be the most real thing on the internet: They are countable, trackable, and verifiable, and their existence undergirds the advertising business that drives our biggest social and search platforms. Yet not even Facebook, the world’s greatest data–gathering organization, seems able to produce genuine figures. In October, small advertisers filed suit against the social-media giant, accusing it of covering up, for a year, its significant overstatements of the time users spent watching videos on the platform (by 60 to 80 percent, Facebook says; by 150 to 900 percent, the plaintiffs say). According to an exhaustive list at MarketingLand, over the past two years Facebook has admitted to misreporting the reach of posts on Facebook Pages (in two different ways), the rate at which viewers complete ad videos, the average time spent reading its “Instant Articles,” the amount of referral traffic from Facebook to external websites, the number of views that videos received via Facebook’s mobile site, and the number of video views in Instant Articles.

Can we still trust the metrics? After the Inversion, what’s the point? Even when we put our faith in their accuracy, there’s something not quite real about them: My favorite statistic this year was Facebook’s claim that 75 million people watched at least a minute of Facebook Watch videos every day — though, as Facebook admitted, the 60 seconds in that one minute didn’t need to be watched consecutively. Real videos, real people, fake minutes.

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? The people are fake.

And maybe we shouldn’t even assume that the people are real. Over at YouTube, the business of buying and selling video views is “flourishing,” as the Times reminded readers with a lengthy investigation in August. The company says only “a tiny fraction” of its traffic is fake, but fake subscribers are enough of a problem that the site undertook a purge of “spam accounts” in mid-December. These days, the Times found, you can buy 5,000 YouTube views — 30 seconds of a video counts as a view — for as low as $15; oftentimes, customers are led to believe that the views they purchase come from real people. More likely, they come from bots. On some platforms, video views and app downloads can be forged in lucrative industrial counterfeiting operations. If you want a picture of what the Inversion looks like, find a video of a “click farm”: hundreds of individual smartphones, arranged in rows on shelves or racks in professional-looking offices, each watching the same video or downloading the same app.

This is obviously not real human traffic. But what would real human traffic look like? The Inversion gives rise to some odd philosophical quandaries: If a Russian troll using a Brazilian man’s photograph to masquerade as an American Trump supporter watches a video on Facebook, is that view “real”? Not only do we have bots masquerading as humans and humans masquerading as other humans, but also sometimes humans masquerading as bots, pretending to be “artificial-intelligence personal assistants,” like Facebook’s “M,” in order to help tech companies appear to possess cutting-edge AI. We even have whatever CGI Instagram influencer Lil Miquela is: a fake human with a real body, a fake face, and real influence. Even humans who aren’t masquerading can contort themselves through layers of diminishing reality: The Atlantic reports that non-CGI human influencers are posting fake sponsored content — that is, content meant to look like content that is meant to look authentic, for free — to attract attention from brand reps, who, they hope, will pay them real money.

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? The businesses are fake.

The money is usually real. Not always — ask someone who enthusiastically got into cryptocurrency this time last year — but often enough to be an engine of the Inversion. If the money is real, why does anything else need to be? Earlier this year, the writer and artist Jenny Odell began to look into an Amazon reseller that had bought goods from other Amazon resellers and resold them, again on Amazon, at higher prices. Odell discovered an elaborate network of fake price-gouging and copyright-stealing businesses connected to the cultlike Evangelical church whose followers resurrected Newsweek in 2013 as a zombie search-engine-optimized spam farm. She visited a strange bookstore operated by the resellers in San Francisco and found a stunted concrete reproduction of the dazzlingly phony storefronts she’d encountered on Amazon, arranged haphazardly with best-selling books, plastic tchotchkes, and beauty products apparently bought from wholesalers. “At some point I began to feel like I was in a dream,” she wrote. “Or that I was half-awake, unable to distinguish the virtual from the real, the local from the global, a product from a Photoshop image, the sincere from the insincere.”

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? The content is fake.

The only site that gives me that dizzying sensation of unreality as often as Amazon does is YouTube, which plays host to weeks’ worth of inverted, inhuman content. TV episodes that have been mirror-flipped to avoid copyright takedowns air next to huckster vloggers flogging merch who air next to anonymously produced videos that are ostensibly for children. An animated video of Spider-Man and Elsa from Frozen riding tractors is not, you know, not real: Some poor soul animated it and gave voice to its actors, and I have no doubt that some number (dozens? Hundreds? Millions? Sure, why not?) of kids have sat and watched it and found some mystifying, occult enjoyment in it. But it’s certainly not “official,” and it’s hard, watching it onscreen as an adult, to understand where it came from and what it means that the view count beneath it is continually ticking up.

These, at least, are mostly bootleg videos of popular fictional characters, i.e., counterfeit unreality. Counterfeit reality is still more difficult to find—for now. In January 2018, an anonymous Redditor created a relatively easy-to-use desktop-app implementation of “deepfakes,” the now-infamous technology that uses artificial-intelligence image processing to replace one face in a video with another — putting, say, a politician’s over a porn star’s. A recent academic paper from researchers at the graphics-card company Nvidia demonstrates a similar technique used to create images of computer-generated “human” faces that look shockingly like photographs of real people. (Next time Russians want to puppeteer a group of invented Americans on Facebook, they won’t even need to steal photos of real people.) Contrary to what you might expect, a world suffused with deepfakes and other artificially generated photographic images won’t be one in which “fake” images are routinely believed to be real, but one in which “real” images are routinely believed to be fake — simply because, in the wake of the Inversion, who’ll be able to tell the difference?

how much of the internet is fake
Only 4% of the Internet is indexed by Google

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Our politics are fake.

Such a loss of any anchoring “reality” only makes us pine for it more. Our politics have been inverted along with everything else, suffused with a Gnostic sense that we’re being scammed and defrauded and lied to but that a “real truth” still lurks somewhere. Adolescents are deeply engaged by YouTube videos that promise to show the hard reality beneath the “scams” of feminism and diversity — a process they call “red-pilling” after the scene in The Matrix when the computer simulation falls away and reality appears. Political arguments now involve trading accusations of “virtue signaling” — the idea that liberals are faking their politics for social reward — against charges of being Russian bots. The only thing anyone can agree on is that everyone online is lying and fake.

We ourselves are fake.

Which, well. Everywhere I went online this year, I was asked to prove I’m a human. Can you retype this distorted word? Can you transcribe this house number? Can you select the images that contain a motorcycle? I found myself prostrate daily at the feet of robot bouncers, frantically showing off my highly developed pattern-matching skills — does a Vespa count as a motorcycle, even? — so I could get into nightclubs I’m not even sure I want to enter. Once inside, I was directed by dopamine-feedback loops to scroll well past any healthy point, manipulated by emotionally charged headlines and posts to click on things I didn’t care about, and harried and hectored and sweet-talked into arguments and purchases and relationships so algorithmically determined it was hard to describe them as real.

Where does that leave us? I’m not sure the solution is to seek out some pre-Inversion authenticity — to red-pill ourselves back to “reality.” What’s gone from the internet, after all, isn’t “truth,” but trust: the sense that the people and things we encounter are what they represent themselves to be. Years of metrics-driven growth, lucrative manipulative systems, and unregulated platform marketplaces have created an environment where it makes more sense to be fake online — to be disingenuous and cynical, to lie and cheat, to misrepresent and distort — than it does to be real. Fixing that would require cultural and political reform in Silicon Valley and around the world, but it’s our only choice. Otherwise, we’ll all end up on the bot internet of fake people, fake clicks, fake sites, and fake computers, where the only real thing is the ads.

A version of this article appeared in the December 24, 2018, issue of New York Magazine.

The impact of bots on opinions in social networks

The impact of bots on opinions in social networks. Social networks have given us the ability to spread messages and influence large populations very easily. Malicious actors can take advantage of social networks to manipulate opinions using artificial accounts, or bots. It is suspected that the 2016 U.S. presidential election was the victim of such social network interference, potentially by foreign actors. Foreign influence bots are also suspected of having attacked European elections. Multiple research studies confirm the bots main action was the sharing of politically polarized content in an effort to shift opinions.  The potential threat to election security from social networks has become a concern for governments around the world.

In the U.S., Members of Congress have not been satisfied with the response of major social networks and have asked them to take actions to prevent future interference in the U.S. democratic process by foreign actors. In response, major social media companies have taken serious steps. Facebook has identified several pages and accounts tied to foreign actors and Twitter suspended over 70 million bot accounts.

Despite all of the efforts taken to counter the threat posed by bots, one important question remains unanswered: how many people were impacted by these influence campaigns? More generally, how can we quantify the effect of bots on the opinions of users in a social network? Answering this question would allow one to assess the potential threat of an influence campaign. Also, it would allow one to test the efficacy of different responses to the threat. Studies have looked at the volume of content produced by bots and their social network reach during the 2016 election. However, this data alone does not indicate the effectiveness of the bots in shifting opinions.

The challenge is we do not know what would have happened if the bots had not been there. Such a counterfactual analysis is only possible if there is a model which can predict the opinions of users in the presence or absence of bots. For a model to be useful in assessing the impact of bots, it must be validated on real social network data. Once validated, an opinion model can then be used to assess the impact of different groups of bots.

The Impact of Bots on Opinions in Social Networks
Visualization of the network of Twitter users discussing the second 2016 presidential debate. Node sizes are proportional to their follower-count in the network and node colors indicate their tweet based opinion. Nodes favoring Trump are red and nodes favoring Clinton are blue.

A recent research report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) presented a method to quantify the impact of bots on the opinions of users in a social network. MIT focused the analysis on a network of Twitter users discussing the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The key strategy used was to find a model for opinion dynamics in a social network. Firstly, MIT validated the model by showing that the user opinions predicted by the model align with the opinions of these users’ based on their social media posts. Secondly, MIT identified bots in the network using a developed and customised algorithm. Thirdly, MIT used the opinion model to calculate how the opinions shift when they removed the bots from the network.

MIT discovered that a small number of bots have a disproportionate impact on the network opinions, and this impact is primarily due to their elevated activity levels. In the dataset, MIT found that the bots which supported Clinton caused a bigger shift in opinions than the bots which supported Trump, even though there are more Trump bots in the network.

The Digital Influence Machine

The Digital Influence Machine. In light of how the advertising capabilities of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks have been used in recent political elections across the world. A new report, argues that today’s digital advertising infrastructure creates disturbing new opportunities for political manipulation and other forms of anti-democratic strategic communication. As ad platforms, web publishers, and other intermediaries have developed an infrastructure of data collection and targeting capacities that the report calls the Digital Influence Machine (DIM).

The DIM incorporates a set of overlapping technologies for surveillance, targeting, testing, and automated decision-making designed to make advertising – from the commercial to the political more powerful and efficient. The report claims the DIM can identify and target weak points where groups and individuals are most vulnerable to strategic influence and is a form of information warfare.

The Digital Influence Machine

The Digital Influence Machine. Unlike campaigns of even a decade ago, data-driven advertising allows political actors to zero in on those believed to be the most receptive and pivotal audiences for very specific messages while also helping to minimize the risk of political blowback by limiting their visibility to those who might react negatively.

The various technologies and entities of the Digital Influence Machine cohere around three interlocking communication capacities:

  • To use sprawling systems of consumer monitoring to develop detailed consumer profiles
  • To target customised audiences with strategic messaging across devices, channels, and contexts
  • To automate and optimise tactical elements of influence campaigns, leveraging consumer data and real-time feedback to test and tweak key variables including the composition of target publics and the timing, placement, and content of ad messages

The social influence of the DIM, like all technological systems, is also largely a product of the political, economic, and social context in which it developed. The report analysed three key shifts in the US media and political landscape that contextualise the use of the DIM to manipulate political activity:

  • The decline of professional journalism
  • The expansion of financial resources devoted to political influence
  • The growing sophistication of targeted political mobilization in a regulatory environment with little democratic accountability

The report documented three distinct strategies that political actors currently use to weaponise the DIM:

  • Mobilize supporters through identity threats
  • Divide an opponent’s coalition
  • Leverage influence techniques informed by behavioral science

Despite this range of techniques, weaponised political ad targeting will rarely, if ever, be effective in changing individuals’ deeply-held beliefs. Instead, the goals of weaponised DIM campaigns will be to amplify existing resentments and anxieties, raise the emotional stakes of particular issues or foreground some concerns at the expense of others, stir distrust among potential coalition partners, and subtly influence decisions about political behaviors (like whether to go vote or attend a protest). In close elections, if these tactics offer even marginal advantages, groups willing to engage in ethically dubious machinations may reap significant benefits.

The report suggested that key points of intervention for mitigating harms are the technical structures, institutional policies, and legal regulations of the DIM. One significant further step companies could take would be to categorically refuse to work with dark money groups. Platforms could also limit weaponisation by requiring explicit, non-coercive user consent for viewing any political ads that are part of a split-testing experiment. Future ethical guidelines for political advertising could be developed in collaboration with independent committees representing diverse communities and stakeholders. All of these possible steps have benefits, risks, and costs, and should be thoroughly and seriously considered by corporations, regulators, and civil society.

The report concluded that whatever the future of online ad regulation, the consideration of political ads will only be one component in a larger effort to combat disinformation and manipulation. Without values like fairness, justice, and human dignity guiding the development of the DIM and a commitment to transparency and accountability underlying its deployment, such systems are antithetical to the principles of democracy.

 

 

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT Training Course 12th-13th September

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course

The 2 day Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course will equip delegates with the practical skills and confidence to search across key social networks to identify influencers, monitor key topics and extract actionable intelligence to assist decision support. The Social Media Intelligence training is also available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Who should attend:

The programme is particularly suited for :

  • Analysts
  • Policy officers
  • Information professionals
  • Researchers

 

social media intelligence socmint training course
All delegates will complete the training course with their own SOCMINT analysis dashboard customised to their work requirements

Why you should attend:

  • The practical and straight-forward training will turn the complex into the simple and equip delegates with the practical skills needed to improve productivity and gain key information to assist decision support
  • All the social media channels and digital tools we use are free and easy to use – they are cloud services and can be accessed after the training on any PC, laptop, tablet or mobile
  • Gain hands-on, practical skills and the confidence to immediately use Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT in everyday work
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance information gathering and improve decision support

 

social media intelligence socmint training course
Social media intelligence SOCMINT is now a key component of hybrid warfare

What are the benefits:

Two days of practical, applicable, hands-on training that can be applied immediately.

  • Increase productivity and access to knowledge by taking advantage of social media intelligence
  • Confidence and empowerment based on acquiring practical hands-on skills
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance intelligence gathering and improve decision making

 

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course
Delegates will learn how to use social media geo-location tools

What you will get:

  • Two full days of social media intelligence SOCMINT training
  • Lunch and catering included
  • A laptop on loan for the duration of the training programme (you can bring your own if you like)
  • A hand-picked digital toolkit directory for future reference
  • An online training website during and well after the training programme
  • One month help-desk support by phone or e-mail after the training
  • Hand-signed RIS SOCMINT Certificate

 

Course agenda

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT  Training Course (2 Day)

Day 1 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Introductions – you, me, what do you want from the training?
  • Latest statistics, trends, demographics and research
  • The importance of listening & the importance of content
  • Best practice social media guidelines & behaviour, how to build an online reputation, do’s and don’t’s
  • Overview of the main social media channels and digital tools and how they can be used for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Twitter: Creating a personal Twitter profile, settings, Twitter search, identifying influencers, Twitter lists, creating and sharing content, monitoring specific topics, discreet monitoring of individuals, growing followers, Twitter ads, using Chrome extensions to assist productivity
  • Practical Session – LinkedIn: Creating and optimising a personal LinkedIn profile, settings, advanced search, discreet advanced search, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn ads, recommendations
  • Practical Exercise 1: Using Twitter for social media intelligence
  • Practical Exercise 2: Using LinkedIn for social media intelligence
  • Q&A – End of day one

Day 2 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Group Discussion – Recap of learning from Day 1
  • Practical Session – Hootsuite: Creating a free personal Hootsuite account, settings, importing Twitter & LinkedIn, creating real-time information streams from Twitter lists, identifying, monitoring and engaging, scheduling content, advanced search, geo-location search, scheduling content, automated analytics and reporting
  • Practical Exercise 3: Using Hootsuite for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Using digital tools: Using a variety of free digital tools, delegates will learn additional skills including how to identify when a target is most likely to be online and also their possible geo-location
  • Demo – Best practice target engagement – Having identified a target, listened to their interests and discovered when they are most likely to be online, how can you engage and influence them?
  • Social media intelligence case studies – Delegates are shown and discuss 4 successful social media intelligence case studies
  • Next steps – Delegates are shown a 4 week social media intelligence plan to help embed learning
  • What have you learnt? – Each delegate confirms the top 2 things they have learnt
  • Q&A – End of course
  • Any questions?

The Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training is available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Course Tutor

Andy Black
Andy Black – Tutor for SOCMINT course

Andy Black   Andy has over 25 years’ experience in the software and information services sector. He has worked for companies including Perfect Information, Excalibur Technologies and Business Objects and for clients including Jane’s Information, Reuters and Clifford Chance.  In 2005 he switched to marketing, PR and communications and has since been Head of Digital for a leading PR firm, managed Honda’s social media monitoring, directed lead generation social media campaigns for Vodafone as well as training B2B sales and marketing teams in digital skills and social selling.

Andy is a contractor to the UK Govt and trains diplomats at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in digital diplomacy.

 

 

Course Administrator

John Lynch
John Lynch – SOCMINT Course Administrator

John Lynch  John is Managing Director of Open Information and Training Services a specialist consultancy that provides trainers and consultants for systems integration, taxonomy implementations and open data projects for business and Government clients.  John was previously the Sales Director at Jane’s Information.

John manages all the SOCMINT training course admin, fees, bookings, logistics, delegates and venue hire.

For course enquires please contact John at:

Tel: 020 8669 6681

Mob: 07843 106702

Email John Lynch

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT Training Course 4th-5th April

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course – this 2 day course will equip delegates with the practical skills and confidence to search across key social networks to identify influencers, monitor key topics and extract actionable intelligence to assist decision support. The Social Media Intelligence training is also available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Who should attend:

The programme is particularly suited for :

  • Analysts
  • Policy officers
  • Information professionals
  • Researchers

 

social media intelligence socmint training course
All delegates will complete the training course with their own SOCMINT analysis dashboard customised to their work requirements

Why you should attend:

  • The practical and straight-forward training will turn the complex into the simple and equip delegates with the practical skills needed to improve productivity and gain key information to assist decision support
  • All the social media channels and digital tools we use are free and easy to use – they are cloud services and can be accessed after the training on any PC, laptop, tablet or mobile
  • Gain hands-on, practical skills and the confidence to immediately use Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT in everyday work
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance information gathering and improve decision support

 

social media intelligence socmint training course
Social media intelligence SOCMINT is now a key component of hybrid warfare

What are the benefits:

Two days of practical, applicable, hands-on training that can be applied immediately.

  • Increase productivity and access to knowledge by taking advantage of social media intelligence
  • Confidence and empowerment based on acquiring practical hands-on skills
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance intelligence gathering and improve decision making

 

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course
Delegates will learn how to use social media geo-location tools

What you will get:

  • Two full days of social media intelligence SOCMINT training
  • Lunch and catering included
  • A laptop on loan for the duration of the training programme (you can bring your own if you like)
  • A hand-picked digital toolkit directory for future reference
  • An online training website during and well after the training programme
  • One month help-desk support by phone or e-mail after the training
  • Hand-signed RIS SOCMINT Certificate

 

Course agenda

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT  Training Course (2 Day)

Day 1 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Introductions – you, me, what do you want from the training?
  • Latest statistics, trends, demographics and research
  • The importance of listening & the importance of content
  • Best practice social media guidelines & behaviour, how to build an online reputation, do’s and don’t’s
  • Overview of the main social media channels and digital tools and how they can be used for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Twitter: Creating a personal Twitter profile, settings, Twitter search, identifying influencers, Twitter lists, creating and sharing content, monitoring specific topics, discreet monitoring of individuals, growing followers, Twitter ads, using Chrome extensions to assist productivity
  • Practical Session – LinkedIn: Creating and optimising a personal LinkedIn profile, settings, advanced search, discreet advanced search, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn ads, recommendations
  • Practical Exercise 1: Using Twitter for social media intelligence
  • Practical Exercise 2: Using LinkedIn for social media intelligence
  • Q&A – End of day one

Day 2 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Group Discussion – Recap of learning from Day 1
  • Practical Session – Hootsuite: Creating a free personal Hootsuite account, settings, importing Twitter & LinkedIn, creating real-time information streams from Twitter lists, identifying, monitoring and engaging, scheduling content, advanced search, geo-location search, scheduling content, automated analytics and reporting
  • Practical Exercise 3: Using Hootsuite for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Using digital tools: Using a variety of free digital tools, delegates will learn additional skills including how to identify when a target is most likely to be online and also their possible geo-location
  • Demo – Best practice target engagement – Having identified a target, listened to their interests and discovered when they are most likely to be online, how can you engage and influence them?
  • Social media intelligence case studies – Delegates are shown and discuss 4 successful social media intelligence case studies
  • Next steps – Delegates are shown a 4 week social media intelligence plan to help embed learning
  • What have you learnt? – Each delegate confirms the top 2 things they have learnt
  • Q&A – End of course
  • Any questions?

The Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training is available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Course Tutor

Andy Black
Andy Black – Tutor for SOCMINT course

Andy Black   Andy has over 25 years’ experience in the software and information services sector. He has worked for companies including Perfect Information, Excalibur Technologies and Business Objects and for clients including Jane’s Information, Reuters and Clifford Chance.  In 2005 he switched to marketing, PR and communications and has since been Head of Digital for a leading PR firm, managed Honda’s social media monitoring, directed lead generation social media campaigns for Vodafone as well as training B2B sales and marketing teams in digital skills and social selling.

Andy is a contractor to the UK Govt and trains diplomats at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in digital diplomacy.

 

 

Course Administrator

John Lynch
John Lynch – SOCMINT Course Administrator

John Lynch  John is Managing Director of Open Information and Training Services a specialist consultancy that provides trainers and consultants for systems integration, taxonomy implementations and open data projects for business and Government clients.  John was previously the Sales Director at Jane’s Information.

John manages all the SOCMINT training course admin, fees, bookings, logistics, delegates and venue hire.

For course enquires please contact John at:

Tel: 020 8669 6681

Mob: 07843 106702

Email John Lynch

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT Training Course 22nd-23rd February

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course – The 2 day course will equip delegates with the practical skills and confidence to search across key social networks to identify influencers, monitor key topics and extract actionable intelligence to assist decision support. The Social Media Intelligence training is also available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Who should attend:

The programme is particularly suited for :

  • Analysts
  • Policy officers
  • Information professionals
  • Researchers

 

social media intelligence socmint training course
All delegates will complete the training course with their own SOCMINT analysis dashboard customised to their work requirements

Why you should attend:

  • The practical and straight-forward training will turn the complex into the simple and equip delegates with the practical skills needed to improve productivity and gain key information to assist decision support
  • All the social media channels and digital tools we use are free and easy to use – they are cloud services and can be accessed after the training on any PC, laptop, tablet or mobile
  • Gain hands-on, practical skills and the confidence to immediately use Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT in everyday work
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance information gathering and improve decision support

 

social media intelligence socmint training course
Social media intelligence SOCMINT is now a key component of hybrid warfare

What are the benefits:

Two days of practical, applicable, hands-on training that can be applied immediately.

  • Increase productivity and access to knowledge by taking advantage of social media intelligence
  • Confidence and empowerment based on acquiring practical hands-on skills
  • Understand how Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite can be used as well as a range of additional digital tools
  • Create an initial social media management dashboard (using the free version of Hootsuite) that can be used immediately for everyday work and enhanced over time
  • Learn how to identify influencers, enhance intelligence gathering and improve decision making

 

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training course
Delegates will learn how to use social media geo-location tools

What you will get:

  • Two full days of social media intelligence SOCMINT training
  • Lunch and catering included
  • A laptop on loan for the duration of the training programme (you can bring your own if you like)
  • A hand-picked digital toolkit directory for future reference
  • An online training website during and well after the training programme
  • One month help-desk support by phone or e-mail after the training
  • Hand-signed RIS SOCMINT Certificate

 

Course agenda

Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT  Training Course (2 Day)

Day 1 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Introductions – you, me, what do you want from the training?
  • Latest statistics, trends, demographics and research
  • The importance of listening & the importance of content
  • Best practice social media guidelines & behaviour, how to build an online reputation, do’s and don’t’s
  • Overview of the main social media channels and digital tools and how they can be used for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Twitter: Creating a personal Twitter profile, settings, Twitter search, identifying influencers, Twitter lists, creating and sharing content, monitoring specific topics, discreet monitoring of individuals, growing followers, Twitter ads, using Chrome extensions to assist productivity
  • Practical Session – LinkedIn: Creating and optimising a personal LinkedIn profile, settings, advanced search, discreet advanced search, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn ads, recommendations
  • Practical Exercise 1: Using Twitter for social media intelligence
  • Practical Exercise 2: Using LinkedIn for social media intelligence
  • Q&A – End of day one

Day 2 – 9.00am to 6.00pm

  • Group Discussion – Recap of learning from Day 1
  • Practical Session – Hootsuite: Creating a free personal Hootsuite account, settings, importing Twitter & LinkedIn, creating real-time information streams from Twitter lists, identifying, monitoring and engaging, scheduling content, advanced search, geo-location search, scheduling content, automated analytics and reporting
  • Practical Exercise 3: Using Hootsuite for social media intelligence
  • Practical Session – Using digital tools: Using a variety of free digital tools, delegates will learn additional skills including how to identify when a target is most likely to be online and also their possible geo-location
  • Demo – Best practice target engagement – Having identified a target, listened to their interests and discovered when they are most likely to be online, how can you engage and influence them?
  • Social media intelligence case studies – Delegates are shown and discuss 4 successful social media intelligence case studies
  • Next steps – Delegates are shown a 4 week social media intelligence plan to help embed learning
  • What have you learnt? – Each delegate confirms the top 2 things they have learnt
  • Q&A – End of course
  • Any questions?

The Social Media Intelligence SOCMINT training is available as an onsite and client customised private course. Please contact the course administrator for details.

Course Tutor

Andy Black
Andy Black – Tutor for SOCMINT course

Andy Black   Andy has over 25 years’ experience in the software and information services sector. He has worked for companies including Perfect Information, Excalibur Technologies and Business Objects and for clients including Jane’s Information, Reuters and Clifford Chance.  In 2005 he switched to marketing, PR and communications and has since been Head of Digital for a leading PR firm, managed Honda’s social media monitoring, directed lead generation social media campaigns for Vodafone as well as training B2B sales and marketing teams in digital skills and social selling.

Andy is a contractor to the UK Govt and trains diplomats at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in digital diplomacy.

 

 

Course Administrator

John Lynch
John Lynch – SOCMINT Course Administrator

John Lynch  John is Managing Director of Open Information and Training Services a specialist consultancy that provides trainers and consultants for systems integration, taxonomy implementations and open data projects for business and Government clients.  John was previously the Sales Director at Jane’s Information.

John manages all the SOCMINT training course admin, fees, bookings, logistics, delegates and venue hire.

For course enquires please contact John at:

Tel: 020 8669 6681

Mob: 07843 106702

Email John Lynch

Do you make decisions based on opinions or facts?

Do you make decisions based on opinions or facts?  In this big data world, do you make decisions based on opinions or facts? How do you find the facts you need? Reliable and validated intelligence is crucial.

To help solve this problem, Andy Black Associates and Reuser Information Services have partnered to create training courses in Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT).

The training courses are in high demand and for good reason. Data volumes are exploding. Every day organisations and individuals are creating, sharing and accessing data. Globally, more people are connected via smartphones and social networks than ever before. The Internet of Things is enabling machine to machine communication. More and more data is openly available.

do you make decisions based on opinions or facts

Most people use Google for their research and only look at the first page of results. These are skewed by factors including SEO, astroturfing and the “right to be forgotten”. Besides, Google only indexes 20% of the web, so will produce only limited results. What about the Deep Web and Dark Web?

Do you make decisions based on opinions or facts?

By 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices globally and 44 trillion gigabytes of data. Machine learning on its own can’t address this challenge; you need to empower human intelligence. This has led to an increasing interest in both the discipline and the art of open source intelligence collection.

The OSINT and SOCMINT training courses are ideally suited for policy officers, analysts, researchers, librarians, information professionals, scientific researchers, journalists, investigative journalists, writers, historians, cybersecurity professionals, financial fraud and financial crime researchers, Insurance and risc researchers.

The tutor for the OSINT courses is Arno Reuser. He is a professional librarian and information scientist with more than 30 years of experience in information handling and processing. He was the founder of the Open Source Intelligence Bureau for the Dutch Defense Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) and currently holds the position of Senior Policy Advisor for OSINT and Cyber at the Dutch Ministry of Defence.

Arno’s expertise is to design and use systems that can translate information requirements into actionable intelligence. Or, in other words, find pinpoint answers to questions, and to design and run training courses about this for govt and private sector clients.

You can find out more and register for the OSINT and SOCMINT training courses at: https://www.andyblackassociates.co.uk/training-courses/