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April 12, 2012

What is the Value of Social Data?

By Amanda Ciccatelli, TMCnet Web Editor

What is the value of a tweet? What is the value of a Facebook (News - Alert) post? As a participant in the social media economy, how much value does your participation create for companies like LinkedIn and Pinterest? Data is valuable, and it is always important to protect valuable assets.

Quantifying the value of data to a business is relatively easy. For customers who use products to protect their corporate data, it boils down to three basic concerns including how difficult it would be to recreate that data, how much revenue would be lost if the data was lost, and how much productivity would be lost if important data could not be accessed.

The value of social data is a little bit harder to quantify. Backup provider for cloud-based data, Backupify, decided to take a shot at calculating the value of social data by building off some publicly available information to find out what social data, which social media companies, and what social media actions are most valuable.

Backupify (News - Alert) converted the user data you generate into actual dollars and cents, but don’t go looking to cash in your status updates because the study points only to theoretical values.

The company took the amount of content users provide and divided that number into either the companies' valuation or annual revenue. They calculated how much each user is worth by taking the valuations of each company and dividing those numbers by how many users they have. Backupify determined each person antiquing photos is worth $18.52 to Instagram, and that those actively repinning brownie recipes represent $28.09 per user for Pinterest. Users of Facebook and LinkedIn (News - Alert) are valued the highest, at $104.46 and $118.34. Yelp reviews are valued at $9.13, while individual tweets translate to a paltry $0.001. A Foursquare check-in? $0.40. Updates on Path came in slightly higher at $0.50 each.

 “The reason that Yelp (News - Alert) reviews are valued so highly is that every review creates lot of value for other users," he said. “You can’t create a lot of value for a lot of Path users because by its nature, it’s limited,” Rob May of Backupify told Business Week.

Regardless of a user's value to a company, history has proven that Yelp reviews and tweets can end up being worth quite a bit in the marketplace. The Twitter (News - Alert) account "Sh*t My Dad Says" was turned into a book and a short-lived television series, while the owner of an Atlanta barbeque restaurant had to do damage control after excoriating a customer who wrote a negative Yelp review.

Still, users have plenty to lose by their interactions on social networking sites. A chiropractorsued San Francisco Yelper Christopher Norberg for defamation after Norberg wrote in his review that the doctor was dishonest. In December, three staffers working for U.S. Rep Rick Larsen were fired for pounding Jack Daniels and tweeting that their boss was an idiot.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin
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