Making Sense of Too Much Data
“Big Data” is the new trendy word that is used by marketers and businesses to make themselves appear smart and up to date. The truth is, we are doing an awful job of making sense of all the data we have.
This week, Fast Company published an article titled “Content Curators are the New Superheros of the Web“. In it there is a quote that reads, “Yesterday, 250 million photos were uploaded to Facebook, 864,000 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube, and 294 BILLION emails were sent.”, “What’s happened is the web has gotten better at making data. Way better, as it turns out. And while algorithms have gotten better at detecting spam, they aren’t keeping up with the massive tide of real-time data.”
We are figuratively drowning in too much data. What any VC or business analyst will tell you is, “How can we create value from all that data? The answer is, “We need to make that data relevant and highly targeted to you as an individual.” And INDIVIDUAL is the key word!
The old “One Size Fits All” approach may have applied to the internet in the beginning, but businesses that insist on building content that will be spread out to the masses and spamming/flooding people with irrelevant offers will begin to fade away as more highly targeted businesses are able to completely utilize data to create a personalized customer experience.
Becky Wang (SXSW – How your data can predict the future) also mentions a stat that states that the average website today collects 105 data points on each user that visits. Frank Moss the former Director of the MIT Media Lab has been quoted saying the following:
“Every time we perform a search, tweet, send an email, post a blog, comment on one, use a cellphone, shop online, update our profile on a social networking site, use a credit card, or even go to the gym, we leave behind a mountain of data, a digital foot print, that provides a treasure trove of information…forming a ‘societal nervous system’ that is generating a cloud of data about people that is growing at an exponential rate.”
What that means is that every action we make can, and often is, captured in a set of data. In this way, our personality becomes nothing more than an expression of data. One tiny piece of data means very little, but when you compile all the data together it begins to develop into a mosaic image of who/what you are.
I’m not trying to say this is a negative thing, but could benefit us in many ways. The Nike+ Fuelband is a perfect example of a product being developed to help you utilize the data that can be gathered about you as an individual.
Hopefully, some of you may be asking yourself, “What can I do in my position to fully utilize the data that we have to create something new?” And that’s the point of this article. The future of “Big Data” is uncharted territory, it’s the Wild West frontier of the Internet. Many ways of how we can use data haven’t been developed to their full potential yet.
We are about to entire a new stage of Web adolescence. Becky Wang explained it in the following way (see image above):
Web 1.0 – E-Commerce / New Economy
Web 2.0 – Social Media / Enterprise 2.0
Web 3.0 – Semantic Search / Data driven highly targeted content
“Big Data” is taking over, and if your business wants to stay relevant in the age of Web 3.0, your business will understand this and embrace it.