An ocean of data and the future of social media analysis

April 10, 2012


Big Data.jpg

Data is the future, if it’s not already the present.

At a recent press conference announcing US military investment in ‘Big Data’ projects, the acting director for DARPA noted that the Atlantic Ocean contains 100 billion, billion gallons of water. 

Kaigham Gabriel went on to state that "if each gallon of water represented a byte or character, the Atlantic Ocean would be able to store, just barely, all the data generated by the world in 2010".

Or as Scott Keeter, the director of survey research for the Pew Research Center, put it:

“At no time in history has so much of the public’s discussion…been so accessible to a wide audience and available for systematic analysis…we are just at the very beginning in understanding what’s possible”.

The challenge for militaries, governments, businesses, journalists and publics is working out how to harness it all in a way that also safeguards our privacy and freedom.

On 27 April, I’ll be moderating a panel at Insight 2.0: The Future of Social Media which will begin to chip away at the tip of the iceberg.

The one day conference will bring together experts from academia, business, journalism and the third sector on the ways social media analysis can be applied more intelligently and creatively.

Lawrence Ampofo, the organiser, has been been analysing and interpreting social media data for a long time, before Twitter and YouTube became integral parts of our culture.

He reckons the time is right to explore the boundaries of social media analysis:

– How do people in different media companies analyse social media and to what end?
– What new technologies and methodologies are most effective for different organisations and why?
– What effect will Big Data have on social media analysis?
– How can such insight be more tightly incorporated into business and organisational strategy?
– How could approaches like gamification, user experience research and psychological approaches be incorporated with other methods like social network analysis, NLP and sentiment analysis?
 

If a community of interested parties can start engaging with these questions, then Lawrence believes a more multidisciplinary, socio-technical and markedly more profound way of understanding social media data and human behaviour will emerge. 

And if you want to join this exploration into the future of social media analysis, tickets are available here.