Some basic programming ability is a must for this book, as the first page starts with installing the Python development tools. If you don’t know Python, that is okay since all the code is easy to follow. Everything you need to develop and run the examples is described step by step with clear instructions at every point.
Once you get comfortable with the basics, the author quickly moves from topic to topic, giving a good introduction into many aspects of how to mine data and generate useful conclusions. Some of the examples include
- accessing your twitter feed with OAuth,
- processing feeds to determine influence,
- using set-wise operations with redis to determine which of your friends are also followers,
- storing data in CouchDB,
- using map-reduce to determine the most popular mentions and topics,
- natural language processing,
- and seeing data with various visualization tools.
And that was just for Twitter.
The book continues on with examples of processing mailboxes, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, blogs, Facebook, and the Semantic Web. The examples show how easy it is to gather and analyze data from all these social web sites.
With a good breadth of coverage, I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn to process and visualize large amounts of data, either from the social web or any other data source.