Columbia University

Social media and news inputs, public opinion on issues, location based analytics.

Healthcare, Insurance

Why xtLytics:
The xtLytics ‘social media and text analyzer platforms’ offer important insights into the sources and covariates of positive and negative reactions, and the means to easily trace them back to specific groups or sources that can be classified along multiple lines, including geographic locations or industry. Columbia University’s researchers looked to xtLytics to help them leverage this data by collecting, processing and consolidating it into useful information

Key Benefits:

  • Reduced the analysis time
  • Generate data

Business Challenges

There were 2 unique issues in the public policy domain that required the use of big data to analyze people’s reactions.

  • Marriage equality is a policy change that has either been recently enacted or is under consideration in several states of the United States. Public sentiment towards this controversial issue had to be tracked in these stages:
    • Pre-policy consideration
    • Policy consideration
    • Policy implementation
  • Post-policy implementation, which also includes legal challenges.
    The Smart Grid refers to a digitally enabled electric grid that gathers, distributes, and acts on information about the behavior of suppliers and consumers of electricity, to improve the efficiency, importance, reliability, economics, and sustainability of electricity services. While widely hailed as a technological innovation that can increase benefits to both suppliers and consumers, and helps to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, there have been multiple instances of consumer and consumer advocacy opposition to this new technology.

Solutions had to be developed that could collect, analyze and track public response to these policy changes based on factors like:

    • Content from Social Media and News Outlets
    • Geographic Segmentation of responses
    • Increased speed of data acquisition and analysis

xtLytics™ offering

“Using xtLytics to conduct tests on established behavioral theories”

The Big Data Integrator module elicited text based public responses to this issue from newspapers and social media content such as twitter postings. The Engine layer and Social Media Analyzer platforms were used to geo-locate the responses state-wise, and test predictions made by Query Theory and other psychological accounts of individual attitudes and preferences, over time.


“Using XtLytics to identify opposition parties to new technologies, and to suggest possible interventions to reduce opposition”

The source and identity of the opposition to the Smart Grid technology had to be tracked with respect to the organizations involved, or the demographic groups that were actively participating in discussions, as well as the reasons for the concerns to exist.


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