Social media are powering the Big Data revolution. Much of the impetus for this new paradigm has come from the onrush of user-generated social chatter–tweets, status updates, and the like–which provide a rich vein of market intelligence for marketing, sales, brand, and other consumer-facing professionals. Most of this new data is unstructured text that, via the magic of natural language processing, can reveal trends in customer awareness, sentiment, and propensities.
This very same trend is carrying the seeds of the next revolution, which we might think of as “Big Media.” In this new order, streaming media will power entertainment, advertising, marketing, education, music, community, and practically every other aspect of online culture. In fact, the very phrase “social media” alludes to the inflection point we may already have crossed. Following the pioneering path of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have already evolved to support user-posted streaming media as an integral element of user experience.
This is a bellwether of things to come. As the younger generation abandon traditional media delivery channels–such as cable TV, over-the-air radio, and theatrically presented motion pictures–the Big Media revolution will snowball.
Rest assured that the social-driven Big Data revolution will not wane. Instead, Big Data will be the topsoil for the new plateau of Big Media. Analytic-driven personalization of content delivery–which is at the heart of social-driven Big Data –will underpin this new order. Big Data’s social interaction model will permeate Big Media. And more streaming content will be generated directly by users or shared by them within media-centric channels, such as “social TV.”
- Zettabytes (eventually) of rich streaming media objects outstrip mere petabytes of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured text
- Zero-latency (almost) multi-streaming media feeds gain priority over mere low-latency event streams of social, sensor, geospatial, log, and other data types
- Zillions (metaphorically) of on-demand media streaming options become the centerpiece of the new world online culture
Another way of looking at this trend is that “data in motion” (i.e, media such as full-motion video, on-demand entertainment, and streaming Web radio) will dominate “data at rest” in the digital media arena. Clearly, the resource requirements for Big Media–storage, processing, bandwidth, etc.–will be an order-of-magnitude greater than with Big Data (which itself is an order-of-magnitude more resource-ravenous than traditional data management infrastructures).
Hadoop’s elephant, the recognized symbol of Big Data, will appear Lilliputian beside whatever monstrous organism we choose to represent the earthshaking advent of Big Media. Some may favor the blue whale, others the tyrannosaurus, still others the less threatening but undeniably mighty redwood. Personally, I’m leaning toward Clifford the Big Red Dog. Scratch that–copyrighted character.