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Factiva Adds Real-Time Twitter Module
Posted On May 31, 2012
Factiva, the subscription-based, business information service from Dow Jones & Co., has begun linking to high-value Twitter streams. The real-time module works inside the Factiva Snapshot news dashboard. Snapshot, still in beta and not available on the academic version of Factiva, provides monitoring for 31 industries, plus a range of other topical areas and services. At present, the Twitter module is limited to industries only—no further breakdowns by company, geography, region, etc. The curated selection of Twitter streams come from influential Tweeters in each industry. The selection process was done with the assistance of Mass Relevance, working with the Factiva editorial staff. Factiva’s traditional collection of established business sources, numbering about 27,000, has expanded over the last few years to now include some 8,000 top business blogs. This initial move into integrating Twitter content is just the beginning of expansion into the business news flowing into social networks, according to David Chivers, vice president of Factiva.

“We know that there is real business intelligence available on Twitter,” said Chivers. “We’ve placed that intelligence in a dashboard alongside our traditional and blog content to give Factiva customers an up-to-the second look at what influential individuals in various industries are talking about. Customers benefit from receiving only the most meaningful industry-specific tweets without all of the noise.”

The full Snapshot product covers a wide range of content, including video, charts, graphs, heat maps, and articles. It organizes into customizable modules. The Twitter module is available at no extra charge. Users can also reject inclusion of the module, by the way. When users see a Twitter reference of interest, they can click through to Twitter. They don’t need to be a registered Twitter user to view the tweets.

The 31 industries covered by Snapshot and now Twitter streams are the following:


Advertising/Public Relations







Business/Consumer Services




Construction/Real Estate

Consumer Products


Environment/Waste Management


Health Care



Internet/Online Services



Machinery/Industrial Goods








The Twitter module is real-time. “As news breaks,” said Chivers, “it runs through the system and appears. However, we are not archiving at all. The duration varies widely depending on the industries and how much activity there is. The news can roll off quickly, the same as in Twitter.”

As for the selection of influencers for inclusion in the Factiva Twitter stream, Marydee Ojala, editor of ONLINE Magazine, took a quick glance and found feeds from major companies in an industry, as well as leading media sources. She commented, "What is considered influential in one industry differs considerably from influencers in a different one. In Aerospace/Defense, the top influencers are major companies, such as Airbus and Boeing; government agencies, such as the U.K. Ministry of Defence and the U.S. Department of Defense; and space commerce entrepreneur Elon Musk. The line-up of influencers for the Environment industry is significantly different. It’s headed by Al Gore, followed by some activist groups, and the U.S. EPA. And I honestly don’t know what to make of the top influencers in the Transportation/Shipping category. The Arbor Day Foundation and Girls Lunch Out?” For some industry segments, the Wall Street Journal is one of the top influencers. It would seem obvious that the editorial staff at Dow Jones would have a keen eye for anyone beating them on a news story.

Factiva’s partner on identifying Twitter influencers, Mass Relevance, describes itself as “a social integration platform enabling producers and marketers to aggregate, filter, and integrate real-time social content into virtually any brand or media experience.” In 2011, Twitter designated the company as its first official “curation partner” with a license to re-syndicate Twitter content.

Although Chivers confirmed that users can remove the Twitter module, he certainly didn’t recommend it. “Increasingly this is the source for key business information whether a reaction from influencers or dialogs on brands and services. It has incredible value.” The average number of tweets currently is 37 per industry per day, but with great variations for industry and day-to-day events. Overall, Factiva expects fewer than 100 tweets per industry per day. And, by the way, he also confirmed that the Factiva people would handle the problems of dealing with Twitter’s abbreviations.

This is not Dow Jones’ first or only experience with Twitter. Factiva has a Twitter presence (@factiva, with 1,184 followers and 1,300 tweets), though, according to Chivers, it is “only an outreach to customers with official accounts reporting events, training, interesting things to do with the service, and other marketing.” Dow Jones’ individual publications have Twitter presences as well, e.g., the Wall Street Journal, Barrons, etc. And Chivers confirmed that those streams qualified as “influencers” for inclusion in the Factiva Twitter module. Dow Jones Insight also covers Twitter content, but, according to Priya Nallan, product manager at Factiva, not for customer queries, just the analytic aspects for brand-specific customer monitoring.

Nor is this the only option for users tapping Twitter or other social networks for business information. Far from it. FirstRain has its FirstTweets covering all Twitter content but at a fee of $5,000 or so. HootSuite provides a free and a premium social media management system covering multiple social networks, e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, as well as Twitter, from one dashboard. It can even handle YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, and others and with mobile apps, but you and your team do the search strategies for the analytics. In fact, if you want to really look over the field, check out Sean Moffitt’s “Top 80 Social Media Monitoring Companies” for Wikibrands, covering #21 through #40, is dated May 11, 2012 and the first #1-20 dated April 4, 2011.

Times have changed for Dow Jones’ Factiva. Chivers estimates that “some 40% of the current content sources are non-traditional, i.e., blogs, websites, discussion boards, and now Twitter.” And, he adds, “We are always evaluating new sources. Twitter is our first with full text, but we have other social network content, e.g., Linked-In executive profiles in Factiva’s Companies and Executives. And we have more in the works, including more industries and more functionality. For example, they have plans underway for adding mobile apps.”

Barbara Quint was senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.

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