Fflick , a just-launched site that is the brainchild of former Digg employees Ron Gorodetzky, Marc Hemeon, Kurt Wilms, and Dav Zimak, hopes to harness the power of Twitter for good...or finding good movies, at any rate.
Fflick allows the user to sign in with their Twitter account and find out what their friends are saying about movies. Data harvested from Twitter allows the site to track the current most popular movies and what's being said about them, showing information like a 99% approval rating for "Toy Story 3" as opposed to the rating for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," a much less appealing 47%. Coming in the future, the Fflick team says, will be the ability to filter via criteria like age and gender.
The site uses a sentiment engine to perform textual analysis that takes Twitter's unstructured data and analyses it to discover customer insights about specific products. Twitter's data stream features over 55 million Tweets per day, a third of them entered via mobile devices.
Using the fflick site was easy, although it does one of the things I like least: it takes it upon itself to announce to your Twitter followers that you're using it, and doesn't check before doing so (an unfortunate violation of Twitter's API principles .) The design is clean and easy to understand, and fflick makes the necessary distinctions between movies currently playing and ones still waiting to be released.
Fflick is only one of a plethora of sites centered around Twitter, a result of Twitter's generosity in opening up its data streams to developers. Most of these sites rely on crowdsourcing - bringing the power of a group to bear on a particular task. Crowdsourcing is becoming an increasingly popular source of gathering information about everything, including consumer opinions. Companies have relied on Google for this in the past, examining the most popular search terms to discover what people want and are looking for. But Twitter offers more in that its users are expressing opinions in their tweets. For current events, Twitter is the better source of information. Meanwhile, Facebook's trying to catch up[ with this aspect of social networks with its own sentiment engine efforts .
Fflick's not the first company to try to use crowdsourcing for movie recommendations in this fashion. For example, Miso , Moovee.me , and WatchedIt allow users to share what they're currently watching, while Mombo also depends on tweets to power its information engine. Summize didn't just look at movies, but at books, gadgets, and music as well, and did such a good job that Twitter acquired the company in order to use its search engine. Tweetfeel , released by marketing company Conversition, allows users to search on specific terms and determine the amount of positive or negative sentiment associated with the term, while Rankspeed looks not just at Tweets but blogs. OpinionEQ also looks at data and lets you p it one term against another .
Fflick plans to make its money by selling its data to movie studios, as well as through selling tckets and advertising. In the future, the company will continue tackling "the problem of filtering, analyzing, and organizing all the social media data on the web." It's an ambitious goal, but they've made a good start with the fflick site.