Friday, April 25, 2014

Looking at BIG Data: What Social Media Can Tell Us About Ourselves

Big data, like the name says, are, well, BIG. The term is loosely used to refer to any number of data sets that by their very nature are so large as to make them extremely difficult to analyze and to understand. More and more, Big Data includes they types of things we culturally have come to share on places like Facebook and other social media. Recently the New York Times looked at one Big Data set and came up with a sort of interesting map I wanted to share.

There are few things we think of as truly American, but the short list includes motherhood, apple pie, and of course baseball. The dividing lines between various parts of the country as being Yankee fans, or Red Sox fans, for example, have long been debated. Using social media "likes" and the public preferences expressed on Facebook, the NYT came up with the following map showing the country's favorite baseball teams attributed by zip code.

Click to Enlarge
They also have an interactive map where you can pull down to your local area and click on a zip code to see the top 3 teams favored in that area. Here's what the 13501 area shows us in terms of team loyalty.

While the support of our national pastime is sort of interesting to look at, think about it more in terms of what other things social media's Big Data might say about you, your spending habits, and your other allegiances!