Big Data is all the buzz lately, but if you ask a typical consumer what their thoughts are on the topic, you’ll likely be greeted by a blank stare or perhaps a “Big what?”
While it is true that Big Data should matter to everyone, you have to make it relevant to the audience. Sure, the institutional challenges are immense but what exactly does Big Data mean to Ms. Everywoman or Mr. Everyman?
Size matters. Big Data at the personal level is really not so big. Instead it’s a complete, accurate and relevant 360 view of every digital footstep I take “powered by Big Data” and within my control. As a consumer, I don’t care how it’s generated but it is something I need to make sense of everything I’ve left behind and tap into the digital dashboard of my life.
Facebook has already started to focus on this need with its timeline interface. But,that is only one small step. Consumers are struggling to manage a multitude of online profiles – Facebook and Twitter are two of the largest. When you add some other common social channels to the mix – Foursquare, LinkedIn, Amazon, Slideshare, MapMyFitness, Nike+, Netflix, iTunes, Mint.com, NY Times, Wall Street Journal – to name a few, the manageability challenge increases. App proliferation is accelerating rapidly, as evidenced by the plethora of new offerings at this year’s SXSW. Push fatigue – managing the volume of updates generated by these services – may soon be the next diagnosable condition.
As a consumer I need access to my focused piece of the big data puzzle, “small data” from a business perspective but it’s all of my data. How can I see it in one place and manage it effectively? How can I look at the past from many different perspectives to make better future decisions? How can I ensure I don’t miss something one of my friends said that could change my life (a new job opportunity on LinkedIn, for example) just because I missed the update?
Real-time, cross channel awareness of one’s Digital DNA is utopia from a consumer perspective. While such a solution can be “powered by Big Data”, it’s important to remember that size does matter when looking at the challenge of Big Data from a different perspective. Big Data must be right sized to be meaningful.