Social CRM Virtual Summit Expert Profile: Dr Michael Wu, Lithium

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

On November 11th, Lithium is hosting the largest online conference for social media and CRM professionals at the Social CRM Virtual Summit. The change brought about by the social media revolution has impacted every area of industry, including how customers choose to interact with companies and each other online, particularly where they turn for trusted information.


vscrm_logo_sample.pngThis virtual summit comes at a time when companies are starting to see tangible financial results from deeper online engagement with customers, and will explore the current capabilities of and future for Social CRM.

With webcasts by Social CRM thought leaders and live chats with industry experts and practitioners, the Virtual Summit will be a ground breaking event. Remember you can sign up for this free event here, and jump into the conversation on Twitter using #vscrm. 


To introduce you to the experts presenting at the event, we’ll be running a series of mini profiles here in the Lithosphere.


Expert:  Dr Michael Wu - Principle Scientist, Analytics, Lithium Technologies    


Dr Michael Wu is the Principal Scientist of Analytics at Lithium Technologies. Michael received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley's Biophysics graduate program. His graduate research focuses on modeling the human brain, specifically the visual cortex, with techniques from math, statistics, and machine learning. He is one of the principle minds behind Lithium’s Community Health Index standard of measuring the success of a community.

He will be hosting an expert chat session on Analytics, giving practitioners the opportunity to talk about the science of measuring community, and what the metrics really mean for their business.

Q:  What got you involved in community and/or social media to begin with?

The better question might be ‘what got me into social analytics’? I’d have to say, it’s all about the data. Because of the SaaS platform run by Lithium – it has recorded a huge data set over the 10 over the past decade. The data at Lithium is very rich and diverse. Besides the 200+ metrics that Lithium records, there are also loads of conversation data between real, everyday people. This is what got me excited about social analytics.

Q:  What are you currently working on?

Primarily my research is focused on two groups of users, superusers, and lurkers and the interactions they have. Superusers are obviously interesting because they contribute so much and bring so much value to the community. But why are they involved in the way they are? What drives them?  It’s safe to say that nobody joins a community as a superuser. Yet, in every community, we observe the emergence of this particular group. Can we accurately predict who will become a superuser soon after they join the community?

Lurkers on the other hand are interesting in their own right - because up to 90% of a community displays this behavior. What keeps them engaged even though they don’t participate? Can we incent lurkers to participate and move up the rank ladder? These questions are something that have all community practitioners searching for answers. We can already measure superuser interaction, but if we can predict which lurkers will become superusers you have an incredibly powerful targeting metric.

Q: What is big community topic on your mind at the moment?

As well as investigating superuser/lurker behavior, I am very interested being able to derive predictive models for business value. The goal being to discover the mechanisms where our platform can bring values and quantify the value they bring to a company. Some of these mechanisms, such as call deflection, are well understood and their return on investment are readily quantifiable.


But the value of ‘word of mouth advocacy’, and people who are influenced through lurking are less tangible. Currently I am working a model that quantifies the value of word of mouth in a community. I am hoping that this will lead us down the road to ultimately quantifying the value of a superuser to a business.


Michael writes regularly in the Lithosphere blog, ‘Analytic Science’ – he is currently writing a two part article on his participation at the Virtual Summit.