Utilizing Big Data

Utilizing Big Data

What is Big Data?

photo credit: infocux Technologies via photopin cc

photo credit: infocux Technologies via photopin cc

The world is full of data, and, with the invention of technology, almost any type of data can be recorded and quantified. Cars can detect your exact posture when you sit in the drivers seat, Google can track all of your online searches, and, even more uncanny, cell phones can track your location at all times. This means that there are mass quantities of data being stored and recorded all around the world. We know more about people and the world we inhabit than ever before and we have piles and piles of data being added to our store of knowledge every day.

The bad news: most of this data goes unused; the data we collect are left in storage and often never seen again.

The good news: there are many organizations (uncluding SHARE NM and MediaDesk NM) that can help you put data to good use, locally.

Big data is a huge resource; the idea behind big data is that we can collect and analyze information, find overarching patterns and predict behavior and events. Using big data, scientists have been able to predict the development of cancerous cells long before they become dangerous, and researchers in New Jersey have used it to create a survey that can accurately predict the likelihood of an arrested criminal recommitting a crime if released. But, you might be asking, “How can I use this ‘big data’ thing?”

Large amounts of data can help drive decision making processes. MediaDesk is here to help you make data-driven decisions around your outreach and organizational growth through employing big data and community data to better understand the local communities in which you work.

Using Big Data

Big data offers a new perspective on what is happening in the world, and it is more accessible than ever. And, yes, that means your organization should probably jump on the big data bandwagon, too.

There are a few things you need to get started to harness the potential of big data:

  • A Database: This might seem obvious, but before you can analyze data and find patterns, you must have access to data stored somewhere. MediaDesk provides the capability to store and collect data that can then be analyzed or shared with other organizations, partners and clients. The bigger and more complex the storage, the more opportunities for analyzing and interpretation.
  • A Goal: What is it that you’re trying to accomplish? Scientists might be looking for ways to predict the development of cancer, but MediaDesk looks at big data in order to target audiences that will respond best to a certain message. We use data patterns to find who would be most impacted by campaigns and send our message to the people who will really listen and respond.
  • Analysis: Mass quantities of data have no use unless they are analyzed and interpreted. Analysis of data identifies patterns and allows you to predict your audience’s behavior. At MediaDesk we target individuals, businesses, organizations, or even entire communities that are identified by our analysis as the most likely to benefit from your services or respond to your messages.
  • Feedback: It’s also important to track how you campaign is doing on social media and other mediums in case you message needs to be modified to be effective. Maybe a certain demographic isn’t responding the way you thought it would, and by tracking audience response you can know when tweak your message to better suit your audience, which will allow you to tell your story in a way that is impactful to the people that need to hear it.

MediaDesk analyzes big data for a number of clients, and we’re always working to broaden your outreach and strengthen the impact of your message. In the past, we have identified “hotspots” where a target audience tends to be and focused our message to that particular area, we have targeted individuals based on demographics found in our database and mailed information straight to their home, and we are working to create a database that can match individuals with the organizations that can best provide for their needs. The possible applications for big data are vast, and, while we’ve dabbled with many ways of using big data already, here at MediaDesk we’re excited to explore all the ways data can be implemented to benefit you!

Big data is an ever-growing collection of information just waiting to be investigated and interpreted. As Kenneth Cukier says in his TED talk, “More data allows us to see new. It allows us to see better. It allows us to see different.” Utilizing what we learn about the world from big data, we can make decisions that allow us to widen our impact upon our audience and the community as a whole.


Check out Cukier’s TED talk for more information on the exciting possibilities of big data:



Written by Marissa Higdon

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