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Social Sentinel Blog

What is Local+ (Part 1): Overview

students walking through a college building using mobile phones and tablets

Social Sentinel’s proprietary way to scan (not monitor) public social media for harmful or threatening behavior combs through billions posts. That’s the easy part of what we do. 

Many authors on public social media don’t readily volunteer their affiliation with their schools and don’t share their geographic location. Therefore, one of the challenging data science gaps we needed to solve was associating threatening posts with you in a meaningful way—one that contributes positively to your district or campus safety program.  

Necessity is the Mother of All Invention

Our solution to the challenge is a series of proprietary algorithms that increase the relevancy of our associations. Some of the critical inputs to these algorithms are characteristics unique to a client and their community; like the formal and informal terminology used to describe its locations, people, events, and more. Managing these inputs is done through a feature called People, Places, and Events (previously known as Local+).  

This feature provides an area within the Social Sentinel application to enter keywords into categories. The added keywords directly impact our system’s ability to create stronger associations for your school and community. Categories include:

Names of high-profile individuals, VIPs, visiting dignitaries, etc. (with their permission)

Location names, object names, colloquial terms for physical assets and areas related to a client

Time-based activities such as sports games, graduation, etc.  

Getting the Most From Your People, Places, and Events

Newcomers may be inclined to provide us with a massive list of every known entity/asset related to the school. If the list doesn’t contain the common vernacular students and the community use, People, Places, and Events can’t do its job well. Some forethought is needed.  Let’s say you have a building called the Social Sentinel Student Life Center on campus, but every student refers to it as Sentinel Life. It’s unlikely that someone posting a threat about it would say,

“Im gonna blow up the Social Sentinel Student Life Center today…”

Instead, you’re likely to see a post along the lines of,  

“Sentinel Life is gettin blown up today…”

Our Onboarding Specialists and Optimization Analysts help users identify those locally-unique descriptors for more meaningful results. They always do their homework to start lists based on information found publicly, but your first-hand knowledge of area terms for the district or campus is critical to the process.

When you are crafting People, Places, and Events lists, consider how your students and faculty—as well as the surrounding community—refer to your school’s people, places, and events in their own words.  

No one can predict where a threat may originate, or who authors it; which makes creating meaningful associations incredibly difficult. People, Places, and Events makes it easy. It helps deliver valuable, insightful alerts when populated with accurate details that reflect how people already talk.

Read More! Check out part two for answers to common questions users have about the People, Places, and Events feature.