Big Data, and why it exists in social media and the Corporate World. – Sophia Chan

Big Data is often put in negative light. However after reading articles and discussing with different people who have coherent perspectives on the existence of Big Data, I have decided to focus on the positive effects that Big Data has in the corporate society,  and why we still allow it to co-exist with us.

In 2012, there was a article written on The Data Science Series webpage that explored the benefits of Big Data and what we, humans can accomplish with it. Though this article covers the benefits of Big Data in the corporate and business world, it engulfs the significance of it’s existence. Because Big Data essentially collects personal data of each individual and stores it in a global database, it is important realise that the information it has inherited allows services to be personalised for you. For example, there’s a section titled ‘Customer Dialogue’ at the beginning of the article which supports my point. In this example, a scenario of a customer walking into a bank and having the bank clerk do a quick background check of him/her to determine suitable services or products for them based on the customers’ pre-existing information from their social media.


Flowing from customisable services, Big Data also provides critical feedback for existing products to companies and help them gather a clearer understanding on how to increase their level of appeal to the global market. This also deals with the products adaptability to the lifestyle of millions, and uncover the different demographics that your product would be suited for. This can also help with product prototyping where Big Data allows you to perform risk analysis. As a company, it is important to note that economical and social factors can potentially ruin your companies reputation. Therefore, by using Big Data you can run predicting analytics on current events and guide you to providing a better solution for your product to counteract towards these scenarios.

In ”Turning Big Data into big Money”, Frank J. Ohlhorst mentions a case study on Twitter where this companies uses information from it’s users to provide a more efficient experience of the service, maximise it’s profits, and adapt to upcoming trends. And he further states ”the trick is to organise and analysis the data quickly enough, a process that can now be accomplished using open sourced technologies and lumped under the heading of Big Data”. Which I personally agree, that with this system and resource; businesses have definitely benefit and evolved from.  

In terms of it’s relation with social media, I also felt that the benefits and strength of Big Data was portrayed in the film ‘The Social Network’ (2010) directed by David Fincher.

The film revolves around Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook) and his initial developing process that led to a multi-billion dollar company. While the film is a cinematic representation of his ladder to success, I want to particularly focus on the beginning of the film where he develops a site called ”Facemash”. This site contains photos of girls from universities across the state in which two girls are compared and then ranked by other students. This site was established from the initial hacking that Mark Zuckerberg did to collect these images from the universities’ databases and transferred it onto the site, and what made this website so successful within the night of it’s creation was because they were images of people that users knew. This is a pure example of Big Data and how it’s collection of information can change the success rate and appeal of the service. While there are privacy concerns and ethic rights in terms of Big Data, I personally do agree that this usage can sometimes be used in the wrong manner, however; the purpose of this post was to remind people why Big Data still exists in our society despite all it’s negative impacts and issues that can arise from it. It’s because it’s efficient, accessible, provides a large archive of information and knowledge for us and most importantly in our society helps the corporate world grow.


1. 2012, ’10 Practical Big Data Benefits’, Data Science Series, Accessed: 23/10/14, <;

2. Ohlhorst, F..J, 2012, ‘Big Data Analytics: Turning Big Data into Big Money’, John Wiley & Sons, Business and Economics

3. Fincher, D, ‘The Social Network’, 2010


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