The Numerati author and blogger Stephen Baker has a fun post today analyzing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s twitter usage. Chavez receives requests and appeals daily from his constituents through Twitter and often replies back to the individual. This results in more and more requests, to the point where Chavez and his staff can barely keep up with them. In his blog post, Baker suggests using analytics to better understand and respond to these tweeted requests.
Not being much of a Twitter user myself, I have not run into the problem of too many followers and their desire to communicate with me, but I imagine we will start to see more data overload problems like this as companies and individuals become more sophisticated in their use of social networking. It will be interesting to see in the future how Operations Research and analytics can be applied to social networking problems and how these approaches differ from more “traditional” applications.
Have you used Operations Research to solve a social networking problem? What aspects of social networking do you think lend itself to optimization?