Year in Review: Dropping the Big from Big Data Buzz

In the second part of his holiday big data recap, Wikibon analyst Jeff Kelly discusses data journalism and privacy in an era when organizations can make sense of your information. The full interview can be found here.

He starts by tackling what Kristen Feledy calls the re-branding of big data in mainstream media, where it most commonly referred to as ‘analytics’. Kelly says that this is a rather positive change, and an inventible one at that; furthermore, he believes that the term may be dropped altogether in the future. His reasoning is that data in general is getting ‘big’, and sooner or later there will no longer be a need to make a distinction.

He moves on to the topic of data journalism: how publications such as The Guardian are relying on aggregated information to deliver better content to their readership.  He says that while adoption is definitely growing there are still many challenges, such as the need for journalists to become proficient in analytical technologies. There’s also the fact that the data has to be available in the first place, but that is less of an issue now that organizations of all sizes are digitalizing their records en masse.

Kelly goes on to discuss EU’s “right to be forgotten” proposal, an initiative that hopes to empower users who wish to erase their digital footprint. According to him, this is not very practical for a multitude of reasons.

First and foremost, consumers are allowing organizations to tap into their info whenever they sign up for a social network or visit a website and agree to the terms of service – Facebook is a case in point. They are giving away their data in exchange for a free service and improved user experience, a model that Kelly agrees with.  See Kelly’s full analysis below.