Big and Scary Data

Big data can be a little confusing and a lot scary. I had a hard time understanding all of this week’s readings but there were points in each that I could grasp and so I will talk about those key areas.

The statistics that are given for what big data is now and for what it will be in 2020 are mind blowing. Each person in the year 2020 will represent 5200GB per person. I work with MBs and GBs pretty regularly, so I understand how big that really is.

It was nice to see that user created and consumed content currently represents the majority of big data with 60%. It leaves me wondering what the other 40% is and my guess is the data companies are collecting about us. It was even stated in the article that the amount of information we create about ourselves is far less than the amount of information being created about us. When I think about all the data that is out there about me, I wonder about the size of my file.

Another scary part of big data is the amount of unprotected data out there. Companies that are making profiles of people might not be doing their due diligence when it comes to keeping that information safe. While security technology will only get better, hackers will continue to keep up with the pace.

The article from McKinsey & Company gave a lot of generalizations of how big data could be used successfully but I didn’t understand many. I wish they would’ve given examples to help put their ideas into context. The one area that stood out to me was how employers could better track their employees. It would be beneficial for companies to track social media usage at work to see how it hinders productivity.

The one thing big data is dependent on is talent to successfully manage and analyze the data. When it comes to big data and the LPGA, there’s an area where we could benefit from tracking and analyzing big data. One a weekly basis at our tournaments we collect all sorts of stats about our players playing golf. We have a way to store the data and present it online in very simple forms. What we don’t have is a way to analyze it and compare it against other data to show some cool statistics to our fans and our players about their performance. That final piece of the puzzle takes employee resources and a large budget and we’re just not there yet.


–          Do your employers track your internet usages? Do they allow you to visit social media sites while on the company network?

–          Do you know of a way your company uses big data it collects or another company collects and they purchase?


11 thoughts on “Big and Scary Data

  1. I believe my employer does track our internet usage. And each individual position, internet capabilities are determined. Since I work in healthcare, they don’t want clinical providers trolling social media while working, but since I’m non-clinical and work in marketing, I’m pretty much allowed to visit any site (work-appropriate, of course). But just because I have the capabilities, doesn’t mean I don’t think about the sites that I visit because they are tracked. And if there was ever a question about my work performance I do think about how that tracking could impact me professionally.

    While patient information is highly protected in the healthcare industry, we can use big data in certain ways. This is easier with inpatient visits versus outpatient visits. Virginia has a database where healthcare organizations have to report inpatient procedures and diagnoses. There isn’t one for outpatient visits. It’s helpful in predicting market share, where there is room for growth, and where there is a need for certain services. We can see where our patients are coming from and target those areas if we feel necessary. I do think there is probably more we could do, especially when it comes to more targeted marketing. But that level of creepiness and invasion of privacy comes into play. There’s a fine line and we don’t want to cross it.

    1. For a while our company blocked Facebook but since I’m involved with social media, I had access. I know they have access to look at the sites I visit, but I wonder if they would ever track time spent and frequency of visits. I’m sure some companies do.

  2. I currently have four 1 terabyte hard drives in use to store videos, documents and other data I am not ready to part with or that I am still making use of. Video files are HUGE and storing them on my computer would lead to a lot of issues, so I do a lot of work off hard drives. It would be so much easier if we had a cloud to place all the data on, but it is rather pricey.

    I am not sure if my employers track my internet usage, I don’t think so. I am in a unique situation with social media. Not only do they allow it, they encourage it. Not our personal accounts, per say, but I am encouraged to be active on the team accounts on a regular basis. Thanks to tweetdeck this also allows me to view my personal account throughout the day.

  3. My company doesn’t track where we go. I like that … not because I visit Not Safe for Work sites, but it’s one freedom that I really believe improves morale. On my lunch break, I can shop for things … I can check Facebook … etc.

    I use to work for a place that locked down nearly every website but the company’s. How is a web person suppose to work on the web when I can’t get to it?

    There’s a point where you have to trust employees. Are companies worried about people wasting time on Facebook while at work? Well, I guess employers will have to ban cellphones from work … they do know Facebook can be viewed on a smartphone, right?

  4. Stacy,

    I’m scared too.

    Regarding internet usage, that’s a huge YES. Everything is tracked, and most employees are not permitted access to social networking sites, gmail, chat, and a slew of other sites. There is no open WiFi either. It’s super locked down. We are not using big data, and I’m still not entirely sure of how or what we’d use it for, but that’s because I’m still fumbling over what exactly it is. 🙂

  5. If my company limited our internet access, I wouldn’t be able to do my job! I joke about that all of the time with friends- either Facebook is blocked or if they’re caught on there, they’d get in trouble. I’m more likely to get in trouble for NOT having Facebook open! The only thing I’ve found that’s blocked is a questionable website, and the only reason I was going there was to confirm a potential PR disaster a couple of months ago. It’s not a website anyone should visit at work in the first place, and it would have been hilarious had IT called me on it.

    The only truly Big Data we’re tapping in to, that I know of, is our link tracking. We have access to the IP address of every individual that clicks on our links and can retarget them later. Otherwise, I feel like we’re only skimming the surface.

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