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Social Media's Big 3 Embrace Big Data


My original vision of Big Data imagined a 60 year old corporation hiring teams of data experts to sift through their ancient CRM system in order to squeeze out more understanding of customer behavior.

I never pictured social sites calling in the Big Data gurus because I thought a fairly new and technologically advanced company would be measuring all sorts of data sets from the get-go. Facebook already has Big Data experts, right? Wrong.

This is because the original goal of these social media sites was to connect people. Sharing with each other, not sharing with advertisers. Like most industries that find Big Data to be lucrative, it is no surprise that social media is embracing the idea. Especially because now we can read pictures. Earlier this year Pinterest acquired VisualGraph which is an image-recognition tool and with it came two of its big data image experts. This acquisition by the image-based social sharing site was likely to improve insights for advertisers.

In December, Facebook hired a big name in image recognition to manage its AI lab and secured a partnership with NYU for data science research. On April 15th, Twitter acquired Gnip just four months after Apple’s acquisition of Topsy. Both Gnip and Topsy collect and organize data from social feeds and then resell it. As social networks become more data savvy, they should be able to attract more advertisers. It will be interesting to watch how Big Data changes the landscape of social media.

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