What is big data?
Every second 2.9 million emails are sent. Every minute 20 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. Every day 50 million tweets are published.
That’s an amazing amount of data and it’s our job as professional communicators to adequately sort through all of it and more.
There has been a lot of talk recently about “big data” which, according to Wipro, is any “data that is too large, complex and dynamic for any conventional data tools to capture, store, manage and analyze.” The potential opportunity of spotting important trends and insights within that data is as big as the job of sorting through it all.
However, according to Wipro’s “Reaping the Rewards of Big Data” report, many organizations feel unprepared for the future. About one-third of those surveyed are currently unable to adequately analyze large quantities of data and 27 percent have trouble turning data into actionable insights.
Add the fact that global data growth is expected to increase 40 percent per year while IT spending is only expected to grow 5 percent per year, and you can see why big data is a big challenge.
Approaching big data.
According to Eric Schwartzman, CEO of Comply Socially, big data can create problems that affect more than just large organizations too. Schwartzman uses the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings as an example.
“With so much information swirling around, looking for meaning manually is impossible because there are never enough people to consider everything out there at once,” Schwartzman said in reference to the enormous amount of information and misinformation in the days following the event. “We need to take a moment to acknowledge the critical importance of being able to find trends and credible sources in big data.”
The same lessons can be applied to the business world as well. He believes that businesses can ultimately benefit from the data challenge if we change the way we think about the information and change our priorities as communicators.
“If you’re a business, the takeaway is that sharing without analytics is essentially useless, that engagement is not as valuable as insight, and that seeing things in context is more important than being popular,” Shwartzman said.
How do you use data as a professional communicator? What kind of trends are you looking for?