So the first thought I kept having during this week’s reading? We all should be information specialists. There is just more data than there people capable of organizing and shifting through it. The bad rap a librarian’s masters got a few years ago? I just don’t buy it, particularly after reading this article about the vast opportunities and future marketing potential. Pair an information science degree with some computer skills and bet you could write your way into a marketing firm or major Fortune 500 company. Everyone has this data, but they need mechanisms for accessing it in a timely way.
The second thought was that Facebook’s founder was brilliant. This article puts into great context the efforts Facebook is making in organizing data for third-party use. Mark Zuckerman is going to one day rule the world (if he kinda isn’t already).
Thirdly: The need for some kind of governing mechanism for this data collection is vital. But can one actually work? The article mentions the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Principles for Multi-Site Data. But without some stick, some data collectors would never comply.
My fourth thought: We don’t even yet know what this looks like. Consider, for example, the entrepreneurs featured in Monday’s New York Times who are collecting odd data but finding big customers for it.
Finally, count me among those privacy advocates worried a bit about the incredible potential for abuse. Yes, do I love having only relevant ads pop up on my web pages when I’m surfing the Net? Of course. Don’t waste my time. I’m also an advocate for democracy and while the Internet has done a lot to give voice to minorities who otherwise aren’t heard, I also worry that the Internet has allowed more fragmentation. It’s no longer that there aren’t bowling leagues, but that individuals never really have to break out of their comfort zone. Don’t want to ever hear bad news? Not unlike Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, data utilization may soon make that a reality.
1. A hypothetical case study: Money and technology are no object for your client who sales children’s jewelry, so what kind of data could you envision mining to optimize a micromarketing effort?
2. Do you still fill out customer surveys that seek input on your household income, education level, etc? If so, when was the last time you encountered one?
3. Are secrets passé? If there was information in your personal life that you did not want to share with anyone, do you think there is any mechanism now to do so assuming a fragment of it may have been documented by a technological device?