Dr. Mariann Hardey

Digitally on.

Speaker, Writer, Academic.

Durham University Lecturer.

I do stuff for the BBC.

Feminist & lovely.

Slanguage of social media

Downright scary BIG data

April 2014

BIG data, downright scary data. Here's some thoughts on such efforts for marketing communications...

If ever the consumer spoke directly to our own times, surely it is the user-generated reviews that shine light on the 'idealised' day out, romantic dinner, coffee shop (you'll know I like Spring Espresso, York, and have reviewed this establishment twice now), hotel, beach, woodland setting...

But, what do we really gain from such data?... When not lurking in coffee shops, or rather at the same time as enjoying a decent double decaf ristretto (I really do drink these, this is not intended to make anyone feel inferior, nor to turn you on to my bad habits), I sometimes entertain ideas about a best use of consumer data.  If not for choosing the best coffee, then what else?

There is value from those badly punctuated words and hastily composed feedback, complaints and compliments. Instead of writing this post, what I should be composing words on is a chapter for the edited book with Sage - _Big Data? Qualitative Approaches to Digital Research,_ eds. Martin Hand & Sam Hillyard [2015].  

Shopping, there is a careful set of punctuated procedures that are followed by the consumer; first the identification of what it is that they want ie. make and model etc.; then the location and seller of said item; comparison in price, reliability etc. (tracked over time, naturally - see PriceGrabber, TechBargains... before, finally, settling on a time for delivery/collection.  

I'm going to pursue the idea of marketing narratives. This refers to consumer's and brand-maker's newfound ability to punctuate the landscape of social media with user-generated content, to provide large quantities of data, to publish this instantly and then the challenge for us (as an everyday consumer, but also those who wear academic hats) is to be able to analyse this effectively and draw sometimes astonishing conclusions. 

Interested, then you should read more of Martin Hand's research, especially his Ubiquitous Photography with Polity Press.