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Vastly larger than all the data collected by governments, businesses, and academics using traditional surveys, the Internet is evolving into a cutting-edge tool for measuring and forecasting trends in society, the economy, public opinion, and even public health and security. Yet the potential of this powerful new measurement instrument is still almost entirely untapped. Written by Douglas Hubbard—author of How to Measure Anything, the number-one selling business math book for three years running—Pulse shows how ...
Vastly larger than all the data collected by governments, businesses, and academics using traditional surveys, the Internet is evolving into a cutting-edge tool for measuring and forecasting trends in society, the economy, public opinion, and even public health and security. Yet the potential of this powerful new measurement instrument is still almost entirely untapped. Written by Douglas Hubbard—author of How to Measure Anything, the number-one selling business math book for three years running—Pulse shows how the buzz from two billion mobile device and Internet users can be harnessed to produce real-time data about major trends faster, better, and cheaper than traditional polls and government reports.
Praise for Pulse: The New Science of Harnessing Internet Buzz to Track Threats and Opportunities
"In this well-written and entertaining book, Douglas Hubbard takes us on a fascinating journey and describes the work of the pioneers in this new science. He shows that the ideas, practical applications, and methodological approaches of this emerging field, often pioneered in the health sciences, far transcends applications in public health and public policy, and is a must-read for virtually every researcher, manager, and decision-maker who requires real-time data for forecasting and situational awareness."—Gunther Eysenbach, MD, MPH, Director of the Consumer Health and Public Health Informatics Lab, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada, and Associate Professor, University of Toronto
"Hitting the 'Like' button on someone's Facebook status, downloading a Lady Gaga song on iTunes, or Googling the game 'Angry Birds' are no longer simple gestures of preference. As Hubbard shows, these actions are your contribution to megatrends about what society is thinking now and what it might need, want, or fear in the future."—Ricardo Valerdi, PhD Research Associate, Engineering Systems Division, MIT
"Hubbard is one of the first to show us how the vast powers of the Internet can be harnessed to let the data speak to us in producing timely and reliable economic and financial forecasts. This is no small feat, and readers will be rewarded with many more and highly practical insights."—Daniel Hofmann, Group Chief Economist, Zurich Financial Services
"Doug Hubbard has written the first comprehensive book about the social data revolution and its implications for macrotrends and decision-making. Combining research from disparate fields and a variety of data sources, Hubbard creates an insightful and compelling vision of how social data will impact individuals, companies, and society."—Andreas Weigend, PhD, Director of Social Data Lab, Lecturer, former chief scientist, Amazon.com
Part I Introduction to the Pulse: A New Kind of Instrument.
Chapter 1 A New Era for Measuring and Predicting Society.
An Emerging Science: What is This New Thing?
What Applied Cybersociology Isn't.
The Major Areas of the Macro-Pulse
But What Does All of This Mean for Us?
Chapter 2 The History of Seeing the Forest through the Trees.
The King's Surveys.
The Dawn of Stats, Maps, and Telegraphs.
The Rise of the Machines.
The Struggle to Become a Science.
Chapter 3 Emergence of the Pulse and the New Research Discipline.
The New Data Source.
Digital Lives: Increasing Time and Activities per Person.
Open Pastures: A New Field of Research.
Proving the Pulse: Addressing Misconceptions about the Data.
Chapter 4 The Dynamics of The Pulse.
Incentives: Why The Pulse Exists.
The Systems behind Getting and Sharing Data.
Collaboration and Competition.
Power Law: Why a Few Sources Tell Us a Lot on the Internet.
Part II The Sources of the Pulse.
Chapter 5 What Our Surfing Says.
Tracking Flu Outbreaks: A Faster, Better, and Cheaper Method.
A Do-It-Yourself Pulse Tracking Example: Using Google Trends for Economic Predictions.
More Searchology: The Body of Research Grows.
Caveats and Miscellaneous Considerations for Searchologists.
Chapter 6 Friend as a Verb.
How Do Social Networks Matter?
The Dynamic Duo of Social Connections: Two Leaders in Practical Network Research.
Forecasting the Crowd.
Social Networks in the Pulse.
Chapter 7 What We Say Online Matters.
An Introduction to Analyzing Buzz: Counting Tweets Predicts Movie Box Office Receipts.
Predicting the Broader Economy with Tweets.
Predicting Markets with Anxiety.
Tools and Miscellanea for Tapping into the Global Mood.
Chapter 8 Three Potential Pulses: Travelling, Shopping, and Playing.
Our Flow and the Pulse: What the Movements of Millions of People Tell Us.
The Shopping Pulse.
Playtime and the Pulse.
Part III Effects of the Pulse.
Chapter 9 Making the Pulse Practical.
Re-Thinking Real-Time Decisions in the Pulse.
A Brief Overview of the Economics of Timely Information.
Overcoming Cultural and Conceptual Obstacle: Maximizing the Value of the Pulse.
Implementing the Pulse.
Chapter 10 The Future of the Pulse and its New Challenges.
Users and the Data They Share Will Increase.
Services Will Be Better and Make More Data Public.
Research and Models.
From Communicators to Tricorders - for Everyone.
Evolving Challenges and Opportunities for Users of the Pulse.
About the Author.