When Big and Data got together, it was love at first Like

Love´s in the air!! Muuuitos corações!!!!

Breathless. Heart beating. We all know the feeling. It’s all heart, feeling, emotion. We’re waiting for the brain to kick in – but there is no relief. It’s really a sign of madness.

Love is merely a madness: and, I tell you, deserves as
as well a dark house and a whip, as madmen do: and the
reason why they are not so punished and cured, is, that
the lunacy is so ordinary, that the whippers are in love too.
– Shakespeare, As You Like It, 3.2

But these days, meeting and falling in love is not just a physical thing. It’s virtual … and played out on social networks.

Facebook-Love

The Facebook data science team has been digging through the mountains of interactions that take place between people before, during and after they fall in love. They looked in detail at the number of posts exchanged going back to 100 days before the “couple” changed their relationship status from “single”. What they found was that social media interaction plays an important role in the formation of the relationship:

When the relationship starts (“day 0″), posts begin to decrease. We observe a peak of 1.67 posts per day 12 days before the relationship begins, and a lowest point of 1.53 posts per day 85 days into the relationship. Presumably, couples decide to spend more time together, courtship is off, and online interactions give way to more interactions in the physical world.

And this is where big data gets interesting. We are now starting to see digital traces of behaviours that have real world impacts. The things that we do and say online can be correlated across thousands of data points to reveal actions that take place in our so-called “real lives”. But where does it go from here?

  • Social lifestyle mapping: Facebook (and other collectors of big data) can map and improve personas, track shifts and changes in community trends and lifestyles over time
  • Predictive targeting: With social lifestyle mapping in place, algorithms can be used to predictively target individuals and groups with relevant information. This could take the form of advertising, public health messaging/recommendations, career suggestions and so on. In fact, the possibilities are endless
  • Location awareness: As a large number of Facebook interactions take place on mobile devices, location awareness can add a greater degree of relevance to any of these predictive or realtime offers.

High level barriers:

There are some immediate barriers to usefulness that spring to mind:

  • Brands are slow to catch and embrace technology innovation: Facebook (and indeed Google) have a great deal of work ahead to prepare brands and governments for the power and opportunity that this presents. Thus far we’ve seen precious little in the way of focused education and leadership in this area and without it, organisations simply won’t be prepared (or interested) in this
  • Organisations lag in digital transformation: For these opportunities to be embraced, most organisations have to undertake digital transformation activities. Ranging from change management and education to strategy, business system overhauls and process improvement, digital transformation is the only way to unlock organisation-wide value – but few are seriously committed to such a program
  • Privacy is shaping up as a contested business battleground: Many governments, corporations and individuals fervently hang on to notions of pre-internet era privacy. Laws and regulations have struggled to keep pace with the changes taking place in our online behaviours. Meanwhile public and private organisations are conflicted in their use of, protection and interest in privacy. We’ll need to work through this to understand whether privacy really is dead.

Love´s in the air!! Muuuitos corações!!!! erika k via Compfight

Sydney Cycleways Changing the Way We Experience Sydney

Years ago I did some work in Munich. Our office was in the centre of town and my hotel (if you could call it that) was just outside the central business district – but rather than catching a can each day, I thought I’d try cycling.

At the front of the hotel was a bike rack with bikes that could be hired by the day, hour or week. Once you had setup an online account, the bikes could be unlocked remotely via text message. And the best thing was that you could stop “renting” the bike just by relocking it into one of the many racks scattered throughout the city. It was brilliant and supremely convenient.

But most importantly, it changed the nature of the relationship that I had with the city. Rather than rushing from point A to point B, I was able to breathe in the architecture and style of the city. I could see the people and the way they lived. I felt part of a living landscape – and years later I still feel an affinity with the city.

This is partly why I am so excited to see Sydney’s cycleways threading through the CBD. Sure there are great, environmental reasons why they are a good idea – but beyond this, it is about reimagining and recasting the way we relate to the city. It’s about what it means to live, work and thrive in a city like Sydney.

Over on the SBS Cycling Central site is a great interview with City of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore. She talks about a grander vision – of a larger cycleway network within the City of Sydney, connecting with other shires across Sydney. But she also talks about what it means to live in a city and how we need to own and design the city that we want to live in. And that is something that we should all share in.

Dude to Dude – Bullying and Harassment is Not OK

The internet can be a messy, chaotic and unpredictable place. You can see some of the best and some of the worst of humanity on display … with the implicit understanding that we are all free to express our opinions.

Over time, many of us create personas through which we air our views and opinions. For example, I tweet using @servantofchaos but also use @gavinheaton – which has a different focus and audience. The ease with which we can setup these accounts often provides people with a false sense of anonymity.

But what happens when you witness bad or bullying behaviour? Do you say something, write, call it out or step back into the shadows of the social web?

I have always believed that to witness and NOT raise your voice in protest gives a silent nod to the behaviour you are witnessing. This sometimes makes for confrontation but often also leads to unimagined change. But whatever the outcome, speaking up at least gives permission for others to take your part or express their own uncertainties or fears – and that can only be a good thing.

Because the thing is … this is NOT just ONLINE. The technology is just another mask – and behind that screen is a real person.

Katie Chatfield shares a great video that provides some leadership. Jay Smooth’s Ill Doctrine blog is a treasure trove of in-your-face commentary on the nature of politics and masculinity. Here he talks about the appalling situation that confronted Anita Sarkeesian while running a Kickstarter project – finding herself the subject of a concerted and vitriolic sexist attack.

What I love about the video is that he addresses men specifically. One of my favourite lines (towards the end) is:

“No matter what scene on the internet is your scene, if you are a dude on the internet and you see other dudes in your scene harassing women or transgender people or anyone else who is outside of our little privileged corner of the gender spectrum, we need to speak up. We need to treat this like it matters. We need to add humanity into our scene to counteract their detachment from their humanity.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Take a few minutes to watch this clip – and then think about your scene – work, home, politics, sport, online and off. Find ONE way to add humanity into your scene and you will make this world a better place.

What Happens When Coal Seam Gas Comes to Your Town?

Depending on who you listen to, coal seam gas (CSG) is the greatest economic driver open to Australia or one of the greatest threats to our way of living.

This video – from the SBS Insight program – brings a range of viewpoints into the one room. There are farmers like Ruth Armstrong and Graham Clapham from the Darling Downs, Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate Alliance, Carl McCamish from Origin Energy, Monash University researcher and lecturer Gavin Mudd, Chris Moran from University of Queensland, Andrew Brier from the Queensland Government and Ray Brown, Regional Mayor of the Darling Downs (and many more). But this debate is not just about the environment – it’s also about economics, business, food security and social cohesion.

It’s a hot topic – and while it is clear that all participants have an agenda and with currently around 2000-3000 CSG wells active in Queensland and another 25,000 planned – this is a topic that is bound to continue to challenge us all.