Musings from George

Social Media and big data
March 14, 2012, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So, a company is going to aggregate the many little parts of me that I leave stranded in digital islands and they are going to piece together something useful. They are going to read my tweet, eat my cookie, and query my LinkedIn profile … to determine that I am an attractive prospect for certain businesses. They are then going to try to sell that insight to said businesses, who will try to figure out how to market to me legally. Well, if I haven’t given them my email … they don’t have great ways to reach me. They can buy the same ad words that they are already buying, but of course they don’t control where those are placed. They can assume that the aggregated knowledge is more useful than the deeper puddles they can get themselves (tracking cookies, getting me to visit their site or download their paper) but I think that they would be wrong. Knowing I am a VP of Engineering doesn’t help unless they know a lot about the company I work for; knowing I coach a team doesn’t help unless they know what the team is.
Big data used to mean TBs of information that was unwieldy to process. Recently I have heard the term thrown around about relatively thin streams of infrequent data, simply because there are millions of those streams. I hate to say it, but given the rapid expansion of storage and database capabilities you don’t really need Hadoop to rate all of the Go players in the world or to rack and stack every TV show ever created based on multiple dimensions. Let’s keep “big” to refer to meaningful things, like all the POS data or RFI data that is being generated by millions of people and things, with a short half-life of value.
The real truth is that most “important” people have someone else writing their blog anyway, and the marketing team is always cajoling interns to say something provocative. It doesn’t mean the busy exec is actually thoughtful, and I don’t want to spend my time reading an intern ghost-writing for them. This social media stuff is simply overrated!


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