Big Data. In a column on What Data Can’t Do, New York Times writer David Brooks noted “The haystack gets bigger, but the needle we are looking for is still buried deep inside.” However, the implication that the growing mound of data makes the Internet increasingly difficult to navigate and utilize may not be correct.
Hungarian physicist Albert-Lazlo Barabási, as reported in science news on the Smithsonian.com web site, discovered it only takes 19 clicks or less to connect any two pages of the estimated 14 billion pages of data on the Internet.The ability to boil down and interrelate Internet data has led to magazine advertising customized according to a reader’s demographics, reading habits and travels around the Internet.
And now, The Wooden Horse News reports the personalization of magazine content has arrived. Road & Track will be one of the first digital magazines to utilize “responsive design” which rearranges the sites based on the size of the screen, so that smart phone and tablet users have a good experience, but so do PC visitors.”
“Later, a magazine could create several different versions of an article with different headlines and images to appeal to different site visitors.” The “Horse” and other critics are concerned that content constantly confirming a reader’s opinions and outlook will become boring and cause site visits to drop and create insular communities.
Another example of “Big Data” being successfully employed was offered by David Carr in his recent New York Times piece tracing data’s role in Netflix’s creation of its first original series, “House Of Cards.” As Carr recounts, “Netflix seems to be making it look easy, or at least making it a product of logic and algorithms as opposed to tradition and instinct.”