Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Is Social Networking Becoming More or Less Social?

In the past few weeks it seems like the concept of social networking and social interactions has been changed. Google+ was recently launched and it has enhanced the social experience which was championed by Facebook. What is the major difference between the two? From my first impressions it is how we group our interactions or friends. Google+ provides one with the ability to group people into your personal groups or as they call them Circles like family, work, hockey buddies or any other group you can come up with. This allows for you to better focus your communications and share what is appropriate with the right friends.


As we know today when we comment on someone’s picture it may be possible for your own friends to access this image. The problem may be that the image of you drinking with your buddies may be very appropriate to share with your close friends, but not so for your business acquaintances. It appears that the paradigm of a friend is changing. The friends we have become influencers in the decisions we all make. When I go out to eat I check the web for recommendations and reviews. When I travel I check out hotels and airfares similarly, but when it comes to a final decision I look to my close friends. So now consider our use of social networking tools. We use Twitter, Facebook and now Google+ to communicate our pleasure and dissatisfaction, I even had a call directly from Dell when I experienced problems with customer service and tweeted about my misadventure. Finally I got action. In reality most people are unable to consume or interact with all of our friends and true communication happens in a much more focused manner.

In an presentation on social networking, the presenter states that on average we have 130 friends on Facebook. However we really only interact actively with 4 to 6 on a regular basis. This is true for all of interactions; consider you make 80% of phone calls to only 4 people and we Skype with 2 people 80% of the time. It is accepted that people generally have a strong influence on very few people, but their influence in decisions is staggering. So this is the concept which Google+ takes direct aim at. It looks to organize your life and “friends” into appropriate groups so that you can eliminate the chatter and allow for more focus. Google+ plus is not a revolution in social networking merely an evolution in much the same way as we live our lives in small, trusted groups of friends.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bringing Big Data at Oracle OpenWorld

This week I learned that my seminar “Big Data: Are You Ready?” has been accepted for Oracle OpenWorld. This is always exciting for me, as it is the largest event of the Oracle Fall season. I will be presenting in the user group track as part of the IOUG data warehousing track. I hope to see many of you in San Fran between October 2nd and 6th. Below is my session listing from the Content Catalogue:


So this leads me to my thought today of Big Data and what is it all about. Today at Thoughtcorp we are building a lab which is all about Big Data. We are preparing an environment using Hadoop on a couple of servers which allow us to experiment with the product and the tools to see what works best and what does not. We are well along this path and we are looking at MapReduce for data access and how to best clone our VM to create deployable clones. All the fun technical stuff that I will discuss as we move through the process.

So the question we now sit around and ask ourselves is what are we going to use it for? What will our client need with Big Data? If I was working at Google or Yahoo, the question could be answered quickly. The vast amounts of data collected by these two companies is the reason we are discussing this technology. So we see the need that telecomm would have for this technology. Today’s telecomm companies are usually multiple lines of business with loosely related products. These products generally generate vast amounts of data, consider your smartphone or digital TV box. Consider analyzing each press of a button on your TV remote and the cable company analyzing the patterns of viewership via clicks. This information could be fed to networks to optimize the patterns in which television is offered based on the vary granular data. Television of tomorrow may be presented differently if companies better understand how viewers are really experiencing TV. This is not your parents Neilson Rating; this is something new. The digital set-top box is a Big Data candidate. So we look around at our customers and we are starting to help them understand how the collection of vast amounts of data can form a foundation for analysis.

In our world which generates more data than ever before, we need to find a way to use this information to allow businesses to optimize their services and customers optimize their experience. It will be one thing to collect the data, but how will it be used?