Big Data, bigger than you would ever expect

 

pbs-documentary

During this week’s class period, we took a closer look at Big Data through a documentary by PBS called “Big Data Revolution”. A good definition of big data was given inforbes an article on Forbes.com. The article defines big data as “an all-encompassing term for any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand data management tools or traditional data processing applications”, which is in my opinion a pretty good all-covering definition.

I had heard about the term big data before I watched the documentary, but the documentary gave me a much deeper insight about the concept than I would have ever thought possible. The information that experts in today’s society are able to gather through algorithms literally blew my mind. Almost every move we make and everything we do is somehow registered somewhere. For example, by simply watching the documentary from PBS, analysts don’t only know that I’m watching it, but are also able to find out where I’m watching it from. Thanks to today’s technology, which allows us to turn almost every bit of information into something that is measurable or quantifiable, we are able to store huge masses of data.

Big data analysis goes above and beyond. It is not only by manually adding data into databases that we are adding to big data. As stated above and in the example given, big data analysis is present in everything we do, just like analysts say in the PBS documentary: “We are adding to big data just by searching the Internet ourselves.” The example given in the documentary shows that doing a search for the symptoms of the flu doesn’t only result in what you want to find out. For analysts, internet searches for the flu could indicate a possible outbreak, when a lot of these searches are centralized around a specific area.
sasNow, this might all seem scary when you actually think about it a little more and yes there is a dark side to it where it is practically impossible to stay anonymous in today’s society (especially with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. around). But SAS, a company founded in 1976 that provides software support to help customers in all sorts of industries, made a very solid point about big data. They said the following: “It’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what organizations do with the data that matters.” Thanks to big data and the algorithms created to record information we are now able to find out about upcoming diseases even before the first symptoms show up. By analyzing human behavior and record daily tasks through big data, we are able to predict when someone might end up having a depression in the near future.
On top of that, societies who were once never noticed by more than a hundred people are now in contact with millions of people through big data. They are now able to teach themselves and others around them. Those who would have never been noticed before now have the ability to show the world their talent and knowledge, they now have the opportunity to become known and leave their footprint on earth.
I definitely think the documentary from PBS is worth your time if you would like to find out more about big data. It has taught me a lot about both sides related to big data. First of all, I think it safe to say that big data will only become more and more apparent in our society as we move forward. I also think that it will benefit my academic and professional career as it will be easier to find data about topics that are being researched now and weren’t research in the past because of the lack of knowledge about big data and the algorithms related to it.
On the other side, becoming more knowledgeable about this topic and the effects of it on my daily life without even realizing it, has definitely made me more cautious about the things that I want to share with the world through social network platforms and things that I want to keep to myself.

Advertisements

Wesleyan’s Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, more than just a library

wvwc-libraryThe Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library at West Virginia Wesleyan College is WVWC’s greatest sources of resources, ranging from books to movies, newspapers, databases, and more.
Their mission, as stated on their website, says: “We are committed to providing high quality resources and services that empower students for advanced learning. We affirm the American Library Association Code of Ethics as the model for high standards in professional librarianship, and we seek to encourage the appropriate and ethical use of information resources and intellectual property in teaching and learning.” They definitely manage to stick by their mission statement through the many resources they provide to all students that attend West Virginia Wesleyan College.

The Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library is built up in two different floors. The first floor is more of a social floor, where students have access to computers to do online research and have the opportunity to sit in group and work on group projects. This is also where the staff members of the library are located.
reading_room_muralAn interesting fact about the mural that can be found on the main floor on the wall in the back is that this was part of some art students’ final project as they tried to create a visual map of the library that allows students to find certain sections in the library back. For example, on the mural you can see Albert Einstein in the top right corner. This means that the physics section is located on the second floor in the right corner of the library. The second floor of the library is also called the silent floor. Student who like to do their homework or studying in silence can go up here to get their work done.

For our Marketing Research and Strategy’s class on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, we got to meet with one of the staff members, Beth Rogers, who is a Reference, Instruction, and Outreach Librarian for WVWC. She introduced us to the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library’s website and focused on the online databases that are particularly interesting when studying Marketing Research and Strategy or doing research projects that revolve around marketing. These databases included academic research databases (Communication Source or Sage Premier Journals) and commercial databases (Mintel, Statista, and BrowZine).

Of these five databases, Communication Source (which directs you to the EBSCO database) is probably my favorite one, because I’ve been using this one for other business and economics classes in the past. Although, it is a smaller database, it always allowed me to find the information that I needed in order to complete my research projects by making very accurate searches through the filters that they provide. My second favorite one, which is one of the databases that has only recently been added to the list of our library’s databases, is Mintel. This was initially a database primarily used by businesses in order to conduct business research, but has now been made available to all Wesleyan students. This database holds tons of research done by various analysts about topics that are trending in today’s society as well as topics that were trending in the past. This database also allows you to filter your results until you get the information you really need for your own research.

Throughout my college career here at WVWC, I have been using the library’s online database almost every semester in order to complete research projects for different classes. Therefore, I’ve had attended more than one of Beth’s classes before. But even though most of the databases are pretty similar to use, attending these sessions have always helped me to not only getting to know new databases that could be very helpful for me to use in a course that I’m taking that semester, but also to make it easier and faster for me to access the right articles or research reports. I’m not losing lots of time anymore trying to find articles or research reports that are relevant to my own research compared to the beginning of my college career here at WVWC. mintel-logoIf you’re conducting research yourself, for school or the business you’re working for, I definitely advise you to take a look at Mintel as it has helped me a lot throughout a couple of courses I took in the past.

The Man Behind The Blog

The Man Behind The Blog

16jensdemul

Hello, my name is Jens Demul. I’m a twenty-two-year-old international student athlete
from Belgium at West Virginia Wesleyan College. I studied Economics and Modern Languages, with a focus on Dutch, French, English, and German, throughout high school. After high school, I completed my first year of college in SME-Management at Karel de Grote University College in Antwerp, in June 2013.
After playing soccer for the past eighteen years in Belgium on different kind of levels, I decided to take on a new adventure. Also, SME-Management didn’t really turn out to be as interesting to me as I expected it to be, so I thought it was time for something new. This turned into an entire college career switch. In the summer of 2013, I started my journey across the ocean, here at West Virginia Wesleyan College as a student athlete playing soccer for the WVWC Men’s Soccer Team. I came in as a Business Management major, but quickly changed to a Business Administration & Economics major. This is my final semester here at West Virginia Wesleyan College as I will be graduating in May. I’m hoping the experience of finishing my bachelor’s degree abroad will result in a lot of career opportunities once I get out of college, so I can start building on my own future.

I started this blog as part of my Marketing Research & Strategy class. This is the first blog I have ever created, so I’m pretty excited to get to know more about this side of social media. Since this blog is in function of my Marketing Research & Strategy class, the majority (if not all) of my blog posts will be related to course specific topics that I researched throughout this semester. Almost every week of this semester, I will be posting reflections/ discussions on different topics related to marketing research and marketing strategy that have been discussed during that week’s class period. In order to gain an even better understanding of these topics, I would love to get more information and/ or thoughts from anyone reading my blog posts. It would be a fun experience to not only be able to learn more about marketing research and marketing strategies through what we learn in the class, but also from opinions of other people with the same marketing interests or even from people who are already active in the marketing field.

Feel free to also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can find links referring to my profile pages in the side bar and on the bottom of my blog site.

References:

Galarneau, P. (2016). [Profile picture]. Retrieved January 12, 2017, from http://bobcatsoccer.com/bobcatsoccer/index.asp
How to Promote Your E Commerce Business with Social Media Marketing [Digital image]. (2016). Retrieved January 12, 2017, from http://iteamthinks.com/