data

So much information, so little time

Remember a little while back when you couldn’t go to a workshop or a conference on change, leadership, strategy, innovation or communication without the keynote quoting the Shift Happens/Did You Know? research?

I certainly used those numbers on more than one occasion with leaders trying to understand the shifting nature of communication in the social era, and the #futureofwork in a post-global economy. The 2015 version from Erik Qualman has updated references to social marketing and we see the exponential scale of social shift.

But if you want to immerse yourself in the real-time version of this, then interetlivestats.com is your go-to resource.

Watch this number rise for each social platform, realtime.

Watch this number rise for each social platform, realtime.

Here you can watch the sheer overwhelming volume of online activity tick over.

With so much data being created, accrued, shared and stored, it prompts a few questions:

  • how do we focus on the most useful things instead of getting carried with the current?
  • how do we add value to the volume, through interpretation and insight?
  • how do we maintain a voice while recognising ours is one of billions?
  • how do we make sure we are not just adding noise?

These aren’t questions just for communication professionals. They are core questions for us as people in the age of mass data.

What do we mean by story?

As trends become fads and specialist practices become hot new things, definitions become increasingly important. I’ve written before on how the term ‘engagement’ has been stretched across the fields of human resources, marketing, digital, and employee communication to the point of near-meaninglessness.

‘Story’ is another of those terms. As I look at my various social feeds, RSS alerts, newsletters and journals, ‘story’ and ‘storytelling’ are everywhere.  But the idea of what a story is varies according to the context. This post, Story: A Definition, from the blog of Eager Eyes is a good example, describing the how data storytelling isn’t always telling the story of the data.

“The strength of visualization is not just to give you a story, but also give you a world. If you don’t agree with the story, or if you want to explore further, you can. Take the visualization and the data and explore for yourself.” Robert Kosara.