I just encountered some fascinating new steps toward the “just right” vision of the Snowflake Effect—just the right stuff to just the right people at just the right time....
It’s well worth reading this slightly longer than most TechCrunch synopsis about Gravity, a company that has “created a new way of thinking about and exploiting conversational data. They call the way they track and predict the relationships between people and things the Interest Graph (a play on Social Graph, a popular way of describing online relationships between people)."
According to TechCrunch.com, Gravity’s Interest Graph “isn’t about a product or feature. It’s the religion of the Gravity service. The company isn’t giving a lot of detail about the software behind the Interest Graph, but they are willing to take time to describe the philosophy. The idea is that knowing which people are connected to which people is great for social networks, and Facebook and others have done a good job at that.
Gravity is building an Interest Graph, which shows the relationships between people and topics that they are passionate about. Person A may love baseball and the NYTimes. Person B may love action movies and squirrels. Given enough data the service can start to predict exactly what you’re interested in over time.
And they’re going to great lengths to gather that data. It isn’t simply based on what topics you start and add to. Gravity is also analyzing the language you use to gather further information about your interests.
And they’re thinking about the decay rate of interests, too. You may be very interested in cars right now, but next month after you buy the new Honda you may not have the same level of interest. They’re able to see how engaged you are on certain topics, and how that maps statistically to what others are doing. That helps them build out a very interesting profile of who you are, and who you may be in the future.”