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New Tool Crunches Your Twitter Data to Help You Better Understand Your Followers

QuillConnect analyzes your entire Twitter history to help you better engage with your followers.

New Tool Crunches Your Twitter Data to Help You Better Understand Your Followers
[Photo: Flickr user Maryland GovPics]

I just discovered I write, on average, 17 tweets a week–slightly more than my followers’ average of 13. I have 1,889 followers listening to me, which lands me in the 98th percentile of Twitter users. My tweets are generally positive, which happily echoes the sentiments of my followers.

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These are a couple of insights I gathered fromQuillConnect, a free app that launches today and is produced by the artificial intelligence company Narrative Science. You can try it for yourself here. The tool produces personalized reports using your entire Twitter history–as well the histories of some of your key followers.

Some of the insights QuillConnect produces are actionable. For example, the report pointed out that I might want to look into the hashtag of #3PercentConf–helpful advice, because it led me to a conference about creative female talent and leadership, a conference my followers happened to be tweeting about and which I am now quite interested in.


Social media experts have long relied on analytic tools like Moz or Sprout that generate complex graphs based on your Twitter data. QuillConnect translates all of this information into a neat, well-written story that requires no technical knowledge on the user’s part. It also focuses on themes and ideas, rather than just numbers and demographic information; the tool’s goal is to add a level of depth and insight to what can be a fairly superficial relationship between you and your Twitter followers. For my part, I learned that I’m mostly interested in politics, technology, and education, in that order, but I occasionally dabble in discussing TV and travel. My followers, on the other hand, mostly care about technology, which is helpful for me to know if I want to better engage them.

“Social media users tend to think a lot about the size of their network,” says Kris Hammond, Narrative Science’s chief scientist. “But we care more about the semantics–the things that we are talking about. With this technology, we extract the topics from tweets and then use this information to tell a story about you and how you relate to your followers. It allows you to think critically about who exactly you are talking to before pushing out new content.” QuillConnect also shows you who, among your followers, is most like you, giving you a sense of whom you might want to engage with more closely going forward.

QuillConnect is a way for Narrative Science to showcase their flagship tool Quill, which translates massive amounts of unstructured data into stories. Applications of the technology range from helping financial service companies translate numbers into tidy monthly reports for clients to producing write-ups of Little League game stats for proud parents.

“We now have access to a world of data that the average person simply cannot intuitively grasp, even with the help graphs and charts,” says Hammond. “In order to understand the data, we find ourselves adapting to the way that machines think. Our goal with Quill is to make that data more comprehensible, so that the machines are actually adapting to human ways of thinking and understanding.”

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Hammond tells me that Narrative Science will gather insights about how people use QuillConnect to continue to refine the tool and give it new functions.

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About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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