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By Andy Hiller
Thursday, September 14, 2017

n 1972, when The Bernett Group began polling, there were no computers, no internet, no cellphones … there wasn’t even caller ID.

Pollsters collected opinions in person, by mail and on telephones that may have had a rotary dial and were immobile.

Now there’s a new telephone, an advanced way to share information, images, facts and opinions — everything researchers are interested in: social media.

Everybody’s on it — or will be soon.

Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 90 percent were using social media in January 2017, according to the Pew Research Center.

And 69 percent of all adults in America were posting at the beginning of the year.

Those numbers are higher today.

So, to find out what people are thinking and saying, you must monitor social media.

But how — when there are more than 200 million social media users in the United States?

At Bernett, we use a social analytic technology that can track and search over one trillion posts, and identify many interests, sentiments and emotions.

It just makes sense that social posts reveal what people really believe, and think, and why. They’re spontaneous! People saying what they want to say when they want to say it, not when they’re asked in a survey.

Social media won’t tell you everything, but if you’re not listening to it, you won’t hear what’s happening.

Andy Hiller, a former Channel 7 political reporter, is managing director of The Bernett Group.