DataSift’s Patrick Morrissey Weighs in on the Ubiquitous Big Data Conversation

6th September 2013 0 Comments


How do you define “big data”? If you’re not quite sure, you’re not alone. Even though big data is on the tip of everyone’s tongue when it comes to smart decision-making, there’s still one piece missing from most conversations. Social. If you haven’t tackled the big data and social data question just yet, you’re in luck.

We tapped Patrick Morrissey, Vice President of Marketing at DataSift, to help us better understand how social fits into big data, and to explain how companies from any industry can leverage social data to make forward-thinking business decisions.


Q: What is the state of social data use by enterprise companies, start-ups, etc.?

A: With more than 2.6 billion people on social networks, the real answer is that everyone is in the social data business. The challenge for most businesses is that while more than 70% of all companies use one or multiple social networks tools, most companies can’t translate their likes, friends and followers into sustained business value because they are not analyzing the data.

Q: What are some barriers to companies gathering and using social data? How can they overcome these barriers?

A: A major barrier for most companies is understanding the importance and wealth of detail available in the data. To benefit, companies ought to pick a particular project or business area of need and capture the data, filter and enrich it for the most important details and then combine it with their enterprise data.

Q: What are some specific examples of how companies have been able to use social data to influence important business decisions?

A: Companies are capturing social data to do analysis on their followers. For example, a company we are working with has 1 million followers, so they needed data to build an analysis of which 50,000 were most influential to the company and most likely to influence the purchase of its products. Many organizations are starting to move from passive listening to active outreach, engagement and analysis. With baseball approaching the playoffs and the conclusion of pre-season football, some professional sports teams are using social data to understand which players on their teams are most popular in order to plan for how many jerseys they should order, and by what region.


If we’ve got you thinking about social data and how your company can use it, then you’re on your way to answering the “big data” question. For more insight, come see thought leaders and experts in the space speak at Social Data Week 2013. SF or NY: Take your pick and register today!


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