The place to capture our readers’ interests is in their social media accounts. Of course the obvious social media service here is GoodReads, but I think there is much more to be discovered by analyzing audience’s likes, dislikes, and preferences as they portray them on various other social media venues as well. Sure, people gush or complain on these sites about the book they just read, and that is absolutely valuable data, but I think we can take it further. In order to put “The Perfect Book™” into our reader’s hand, we need not only look to their reading interests, but to their lifestyle interests as well.
In contemplating the content of my blog post, I did a quick research of some companies that already exist to help us maximize an audience’s experience with our products. I stumbled upon Crimson Hexagon, a website that provides its members with “AI-Powered Consumer Insights,” including audience, brand, campaign, and trend analyses. What apparently sets Crimson Hexagon apart from other similar services is their adept analysis of “conversations” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs, reviews, forums, news, and more. In fact, their archive is close to surpassing a trillion social media posts; they have an interesting page giving some insight into what is possible with data from a trillion posts which answers a bunch of questions I didn’t even know I had. My main takeaway from learning about this website, however, is the story behind their name. They say
In Jorge Luis Borges’ short story The Library of Babel, an infinite expanse of hexagonal rooms filled with books contained every possible arrangement of letters. For every important, beautiful, or useful book in this library there existed endless volumes of gibberish.
The only way to navigate this vast sea of meaningless information was to locate the Crimson Hexagon, the one room that contained a log of every other book in the library—a guide to extracting meaning from all the unstructured information.
I think Crimson Hexagon found a beautiful way of explaining their approach to data analysis, and I think it is incredibly relevant to how we as publishers should look at it too. Going deeper into the The Library of Babel reference (you bet I found a PDF of it to read), we can compare the infinite amount of books in the Library to our audience’s mind/interests/data set/etc., and if we reach the Crimson Hexagon, we will be able to sell them “The Perfect Book™:” the one even they don’t know they need. In order to find the Crimson Hexagon, we have to sift through indefinite amounts of rooms with indefinite amounts of books. Perhaps an AI-driven service such as Crimson Hexagon can help with that. We all talk about our interests on the Internet, and this website decided to capture that data and help its members turn that into something useful for their brands. It is not outside the realm of possibility that we can harness this data as well and use it to create an optimized reading experience.
Our readers are infinitely complex, like The Library of Babel, but we are getting closer to being able to give them what they need from their books. We, like the librarians of Borges’ short story, are “spurred on by the holy zeal to reach—someday, through unrelenting effort—the books of the Crimson Hexagon.”
Borges, JorQe Luis. “The Library of Babel.” Collected Fictions. Trans. Andrew Hurley. NewYork: Penguin, 1998. https://libraryofbabel.info/Borges/libraryofbabel.pdf
Crimson Hexagon. 2018. https://www.crimsonhexagon.com/