Using Big Data for Storytelling

One of the best post that I read in some time on ‘data’ is by Om Malik. See here.

This post made me think about all the buzz about Big Data. The situation is exactly same as that described in the famous fable of ‘Six Blind Men and an Elephant”. Different communities approach big data from their very limited perspective. So here is my perspective on one aspect of big data — its use for telling compelling stories. I recently wrote something on this topic: See Micro and Mega Stories.

We collect data and use data effectively to enhance our experiences and tell stories. But this requires understanding relationships among disparate data items. And that is where the importance of Big Data really lies.
A major transformation going on in society currently is the nature of story telling. At one time story telling was based on subjective experiences by an individual that were only qualitatively available to the storyteller. The last decade has seen the arrival of ‘data’ and objective story telling. Human memory is powerful but has its limitations. Subjective human memory results in powerful anecdotes. Add to this availability of large volumes of data and ability to attach it to strengthen those anecdotes and you got powerful and compelling factual stories.

Storytelling is changing — whether for entertainment or for business or for education. It is going to be more objective – more based on data.

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