Is "Ambient Data" from Social Media Channels Useful for Funders?

A blog post from Beth Kanter with links to useful resources on using data from social media (and other sources) to inform decisions.

The post is based on a discussion at a recent convening by the Packard Foundation on “Data Informed Philanthropy”. It includes links to resources on using data to inform decisions, and specific examples of organisations using data from social media.

Two main challenges were identified in using ‘ambient’ data – unstructured data generated through social media, such as status updates, tweets and comments:

  1. Potential bias in the data because those producing social media data are a small sample of the population.
  2. The expense in direct cost and learning curve in learning to use the tools needed to analyse social media data


Is “Ambient Data” from Social Media Channels Useful for Funders? | Beth’s Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2013, from