Humana (NYSE: HUM), a Fortune 100 health-benefits company, has developed a social media tool that allows users to track Twitter conversations as and where they happen – and it is one of the first tools to incorporate Twitter’s newly released “geo-tagging” feature.
The tool, called the Tweet Positioning System, or TPS, is known in social media circles as a “mashup.” It merges functions of Twitter Search with Google Maps to provide a real-time geographic view of micro-blogging conversations. TPS is being offered for free to interested parties at www.mytpsreport.com.
Users can enter any search term into the TPS search box. The tool then links to Twitter, which recently released a software update allowing users to opt to share their current location. Drawing data from this “geo-tagging” feature, a map automatically appears showing “hot spots” where Twitter conversations are being held on that topic at that moment, whether it’s around the United States or around the world. Users can then click on the hotspots to view or even join conversations (if they are Twitter members).
Humana built the tool to gain insights in areas such as product development, event management and regional sales and marketing. In the spirit of transparency, it decided to share the tool with other users. The tool will continue to evolve based on user feedback. Several new features have already been added, such as the ability to see the volume of tweets over time for any given search, and the ability to add a widget (showing a map of your favorite conversation) to your blog or Facebook page.
“At Humana, we’re interested in engaging communities of like-minded people around concepts like health and wellness,” said Greg Matthews, a director in Humana’s Innovation Center, which developed the tool. “We originally developed the TPS tool with this in mind, but we quickly realized it might have applications beyond that. A small business, for example, might want to see what people in their market are saying about them or their industry to help them improve their products or services.
“If nothing else, it’s fun to play with the tool to see where people are talking about the things that matter to you, such as your favorite food or favorite team,” he added. “The geographic differences can also be pretty fascinating as you try to figure out why a certain topic resonates in one area, but not in another.”
As with all mashups, the tool has not been officially endorsed by either Twitter or Google.
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health and specialty benefits companies, with approximately 10.3 million medical members and 7.3 million specialty-benefit members. Humana is a full-service benefits solutions company, offering a wide array of health and specialty benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals.
More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s Web site at http://www.humana.com