Why data-mining doesn’t have to be painful!

Data-mining isn’t usually the most exciting job to do. Sometimes it can even be somewhat painful, if not downright boring. However, there are trends developing which can make analytics fascinating and even fun. Here’s how.

People appear to be increasingly willing to share their data and their opinions when they can see how it benefits them. This is manifested by the emergence of several analytics players who are attempting to make sense of humanity’s diverse and bewildering array of opinions.

r-YOUGOV-large570One of these players is established name, YouGov, which has set up its Opinion Center, to ask searching questions about our opinions on a vast range of topics, from politics and nationality to sports and religion. YouGov, whose mantra is ‘What the world thinks’, has been a major player in the field of polling aand data now for some time, and is seeking to extend its reach further.

stateHowever, another, newer player on this scene is the social network which connects people together by their opinions. State, the new startup of Jawbone pioneer, Alexander Asseily seeks to structure a network around the interconnected interests of its members. It seeks to avoid the ‘one-to-many broadcast’ aspect of Twitter by connecting people through their opinions rather than the number of their followers. The richness of this resource which has the the potential to map the network complexity of our beliefs does not need me to emphasize it.

How can I benefit from this?

Both YouGov and State let you access a birdseye view of the data they have collected. (YouGov’s results are available here and State’s here). Both have the option to drill down into topics that might be more applicable to you, like business, politics or the economy. While State’s results tend to reflect topics which have caught public attention or sparked debate on a social level, YouGov has more of an emphasis on high politics. There’s certainly room to utilize both in conjunction to get a richer understanding.

What sources do you use to get data? What sources do you especially enjoy using? Get involved by contacting on Twitter

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