Twitter appears to have acquired Bluefin Labs, a social media analytics company that attempts to understand how social media conversations and interactions take place around television. The news of Twitter’s acquisition was first reported by Business Insider. Neither Twitter nor Bluefin have responded to requests for comment.
For Twitter, working with a company like Bluefin, whose CEO JP Maheu will be speaking at PaidContent’s conference in April, makes perfect sense. As Twitter has emphasized its ability to connect users with media and especially live television events, it has still struggled, like other companies including Facebook, to figure out how to measure the scope of those social media interactions. Do you measure success by tweets per minute? Tweets mentioning a particular show? People voting for categories or outcomes on a particular show through Twitter? It’s still a question the company is figuring out, and one that Bluefin could help it answer as it works to build up monetization and partnerships in marketing and media.
An excellent profile of Bluefin Labs ran in the Boston Globe in November that explained how the Cambridge-based company attempts to analyze human speech patterns to understand social media activity:
A Cambridge start-up called Bluefin Labs is marrying the computational power of machines with the interpretive guidance of humans to make sense of — and profit from — the fire hose of nonstop social media. The company’s work builds on the research of its two cofounders, MIT guys who have dedicated their professional lives to teaching machines to understand human language. Now they are using that knowledge to teach machines to understand what we really mean when we tweet or post about everyone from President Obama to Honey Boo Boo. The outcome just may be as important to the president as it is to that cringe-worthy pint-size product of reality TV.
Bluefin Labs was founded in 2008 and has offices in both Cambridge and New York City. The company most recently raised a $12 million Series B funding round in January of 2012 led by Time Warner Investments along with SoftBank Capital and repeat investors Redpoint Ventures and Lerer Ventures.
Update: AllThingsD is also reporting the acquisition, and puts the price Twitter will pay at more than $70 million.