FirstRain, a search-based research firm, has added Twitter to its sources of business intelligence. The move reflects Twitter’s increasing business content, which is still only a very small fraction of volume. FirstRain’s new capability, which it calls FirstTweets(TM), is part of a larger trend to extract research from social media.
FirstRain’s new capability is a natural extension of its current capabilities, which filter blogs, press releases, industry publications, news and the web. As its press release puts it: “Unlike keyword-based media monitoring and public relations-focused applications such as Radian6 and Meltwater News, FirstRain’s unique and powerful technology takes the full fire hose of 250 million tweets per day and applies patented semantic analytics and algorithms to uncover, categorize and deliver only high-quality, business-relevant intelligence about global companies, industries and business topics.”
According to FirstRain, only a very small fraction of tweets (.25%) are business relevant and only .08% are high quality. In looking through the tweets FirstRain associates with General Electric Company, for example, we see three tweets yesterday about a GE announcement that it will supply wind turbines for a Canadian wind farm project. The tweets were subsequent to the company release. We also see a tweet from Wall Street Cheat Sheet linking to its First Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek, a link to a Seeking Alpha article on GE, a number of tweets referencing GE’s tax status (GE did not pay any taxes), and a few advertorials for GE products. The relevance of the tweets was very high.
FirstRain received a $7 million capital infusion in March, 2010. About the same time, it shifted its sales efforts from the financial community to corporations (particularly the sales and marketing function), although it still has a significant customer base among institutional investors. The new Twitter capability will be of interest to financial clients as well as corporate clients since it is another step in trying to extract actionable information from the chaos of social media.