The Big Boulder Initiative Launches To Drive The Social Data Industry

Chris Moody, COO of Gnip, kicks off the conference with a talk about the social data ecosystem and introduces the Big Boulder Initiative. 

Chris Moody of Gnip

At the beginning of of Big Boulder, Gnip COO Chris Moody, launched the Big Boulder Initiative — a way for industry leaders “to establish the foundation for the long-term success of the social data industry.”

As Chris noted, Big Boulder isn’t just a group of people coming together but the leaders of social data, one of the most important industries to develop in the last two decades. The attendees consume over 4 billion social data activities every day that ultimately serve 95% of the Fortune 500.

Chris asked attendees for the next two days to leave their titles behind and instead to think of themselves as the leaders of the social data industry. And as leaders they all need to think about where social data is going and how to address our collective challenges/

Big Boulder is only two days out of the year, so the Big Boulder initiative will allow the leaders of the industry to come together multiple times a year.

Chris outlined the five questions the industry is facing, and wants to hear what others are thinking as well. The issues were the following:

  • Return – How do we remove any remaining doubt about the value of social data? There are open-ended questions around consistency, bias and measurement that need to be addressed.

  • Trust – How do we build trust and understanding with the most important people in social media, the content creators?

  • Access – We’re only able to analyze a fraction of the public social data that’s out there. How can we get access to more data to improve our products?

  • Sustainability – How do we convince the world to make long-term investments in an industry that is so new?

  • Costs – How do we manage the growing costs to store, index and serve ever-increasing volumes of data?

For those that weren’t able to attend Big Boulder but want to be involved in shaping industry issues, they can learn more at bigboulderinitiative.com.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

Big Boulder: The Social Cocktail with Chris Moody

Chris Moody, the COO of Gnip, kicks off Big Boulder by talking about the social cocktail and the ingredients that go into it.

Chris Moody of Gnip

Chris Moody tells us Gnip is founded on the idea that social data represents unlimited innovation. “This full room proves that there will be unlimited, exciting applications,” he says. 100 billion pieces of data are created each month and Gnip is going to understand what makes each set of data unique. Over 90% of Fortune 500 gets content indirectly from Gnip. The variety of people in attendance at Big Boulder is representative of the dense social data ecosystem.

There are many different data sources, which is good news and bad news. New coverage platforms added by Gnip this year inclue WordPress, IntenseDebate, Disqus, Tumblr, and Sina Weibo. So how does an entrepreneur or company prioritize and organize the data that is important to a specific set of customers? This is what Gnip does.

Chris and his team focus on two different dimensions of social data:

  1. Reaction Time: ranging from ultra-fast (example: Twitter at events) to slow (example: the comments on a blog post or a shared video.)
  2. Depth: Data is about the what. Twitter is concise and deals with the immediate, “This is so adjective!” It’s difficult to get into the reasons in only 140 characters. Platforms like YouTube and Tumblr are at the other end of the spectrum and tend to boast deep, personal content. When you begin to overlay business use cases over these different data sources, you see the social cocktail. On one side is public relations and crisis management. If you have a client looking to manage a crisis, the priority is your speed in rectifying the situation. If a person complains that their cell phone is on fire, you don’t need to ask them how they feel about it. It just needs to be immediately addressed. On the other side is brand management: what does the collective universe think about not only you but also your competitors? If you’re the cell phone provider with the faulty and explosive device, what was said about you and what was your response?

Chris brings up an example slide of the market response to Netflix earnings last year. The world’s reaction to the opening bell on Twitter was very fast and factual. It demonstrated information based around how correlated the stocks were performing, or the what. Blogs had a half-life on the curve, well past the end of the trading day when blog content and a variety of opinions began to go public, or the why. Comments to this kind of content peaked much later by comparison, the next day in this case.

There are two noticed patterns in social data: expected and unexpected. It’s also important to observe whether the occurrence is a routine or an event. Generally speaking, no one expects a hurricane. Likewise, the social data around a natural disaster spikes drastically as soon as it occurs. We’re continuing to understand this action because new sources are constantly adding new conversations. As a second example, JP Morgan’s surprise trading loss illustrated a strong story in the comments of its articles, animated political .gifs for humor, and theories. The story shared was factual and the reaction to the story was highly narrative and emotional. As a third example, a recently shared image of the new Urban Outfitters line went viral not only because of Urban Outfitters’ huge market but also because the image was so easily sharable in a micro-blog format.

The message being driven home at Big Boulder today and tomorrow is, “Where is this industry going?” In an interview style format, Big Boulder is Gnip’s first conference and panels are conducted around the data science of what we collectively think and feel.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big Boulder and on Gnip’s Facebook page.