Big Social and Big Brother

The concrete adoption of plans in organizations for Big Data currently and predominantly covers the theme of Big Social: the customer side, inspired in particular by the social network activity of Web 2.0. But, if we take the concept of ‘social’ in a broader sense, an increasing amount of Big Data potential is released. This is more or less the route we have followed since the early nineties: first with Web Analytics, then with Social Analytics and now with Next-Generation Analytics. In this age of Big Data, further development is progressing toward Total Data Analytics and Total Data Management.

Scaling up occurs organically
An important part of the discussion revolves around the issue of the extent to which organizations should embrace Big Social Data. The answer is: only on the basis of a well-grounded policy. Smart entrepreneurship in the growing dataflow is the key to capturing the raisins from the pie, so to speak. The question as to whether or not an organization initially is working with real Big Data (sets) is actually irrelevant. Scaling up will occur organically, and a good number of privacy issues are closely attached to this situation.

The organization of privacy
Modern Social Analytics applications enable organizations to understand the rhythms of human activity, to attach predictions to them, and to plan and implement corresponding actions: Understand, Predict & Act. The possibilities of personalization and hyper-targeting are steadily increasing, and the toolbox is bursting at the seams. But do customers want that? It gives many of us a somewhat uncomfortable feeling to realize what commercial organizations know about individuals and groups. The organization of privacy and the guarantee of our personal integrity is perhaps therefore the domain par excellence to which attention should be paid. Big Data, Big Social and Big Brother are not worlds apart – certainly not in our human perception.

Big Brother fear
These days, customers are alarmed by, for example, messages about rising premiums because they have directly or indirectly presented themselves on the Internet a bit too enthusiastically, participating recklessly in certain leisure time activities, or showing themselves to be great fans of cigarettes and beer, to name just a few minor ‘offenses’. Regardless of what organizations may think about Big Data and Big Social, customers’ Big Brother fear will force them to deal seriously with the situation, to adopt standpoints, and to express these vigorously.

Both feet on the ground
Technology is advancing rapidly, we can make ever-better predictions, and we can step effortlessly from Web and Social Analytics on to Next-Generation Analytics. The accent is increasingly being placed on data and algorithms rather than on models. In short: the commercial power of Big Social Data is undeniable and is growing. At the very least, this entails increasing guarantees and responsibilities where themes such as privacy, personal integrity and, above all, perception and sentiment are involved. This is perhaps the very first observation for organizations to make with both feet firmly on the ground.

About Jaap Bloem

Jaap Bloem is in IT since the PC and now a Principal Analyst at Sogeti/VINT. In his days at KPMG Consulting he co-founded the IT Trends Institute. Jaap was a publisher of IT books and editor in chief of IT magazines at Wolters Kluwer. Before coming to VINT, Jaap was the Marketing Executive for the Dutch Chapter of ISOC, the Internet Society. Jaap has co-authored many books and articles, and loves to develop and evangelize ground-breaking thought and insight together with colleagues and partners.

 

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