Big Social Data: The Next Frontier?

6 04 2012

Closing a chapter, opening a new one. The social media revolution has been an amazing ride. Social media made it suddenly possible for brands & movements foster engagement and connect with their communities like they had never done before. It won’t go away and the world is certainly a better place for it. People and consumers have been empowered and everyone has had to relearn more human ways to communicate.

Yes, all the free stuff is good, but unfortunately, the ecosystem is still trying to pay for itself and more. This is where things could get interesting as the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population in 2012. We pour our lives into social networks and consume an unprecedented volume of data. We learning to consume increasingly crowdsourced information and news. Al Jazeera is probably at the forefront of this new experiment, but other examples crop up everywhere, like the recentl Associated Press (AP) announcement of a partnership with Bambuser to leverage citizen reporters for live video news.

Look at us. We create more data every two days than we have in total from the dawn of time till 2003. Case in point: I only have 16,000 photos stored on Flickr since 2008!

There you goWe have invented a new aWEsome problem. We’re drowning in unstructured data. Every major company from Salesforce, IBM, Adobe…etc is launching their own social data analytical tools. Conferences are popping up everywhere:  StrataBig Data Summit… to name a few. Gartner predicts that through 2015, more than 85% of Fortune 500 organizations will fail to effectively exploit big data for competitive advantage. Some say that 80% to 90% of all social data is “un-structured”… what a task! It will take a lot of additional work to provide context and meaning to this data, which is what most companies actually need. Some predict that Data Scientist is the job of the future (read now).

Big Social Data is the next frontier. We humans still seek information pertinent to our lives while the Matrix should make our lives easier. We should rightfully expect technology to not only suck our time, but deliver us some truly smart information. We should also keep an eye on our illusion of privacy. Or should we?

So what are the opportunities for big social data? What are your thoughts? I am as excited today about Big Data as I was with Social Media 4 years ago. Are you?

@YannR


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