The first SMB Dallas meeting of 2013 took place this morning in the offices of Freeman+Leonard / BravoTECH where Eric Swayne of Golin Harris spoke to a full crowd about finding, using, and tackling the world of “Big Data”. Many (including myself) tackled the troublesome traffic on the Dallas North Tollway to learn how to understand just what big data is and how to use it. If traffic got the best of you and you were unable to attend this morning’s meeting, I hope my blog proves helpful for you! Enjoy.

NOTE: YOU CAN DOWNLOAD SLIDES FROM ERIC’S PRESENTATION HERE

Eric laid out his presentation by calling out the elephant in the room.Just what exactly is big data?

To put it simply, big data can be classified as merely anything or everything posted to the web.

To fully understand how much data is collected online each day, let’s take it offline for a second. As a point of reference, Eric explained that the Library of Congress currently has 152 million physical items, 838 miles of bookshelves, and 10 terabytes of printed data.

A single day on Twitter equals 400 million tweets and 4 terabytes of information. In a single day! Wikipedia currently has 3.1 million articles posted to its site consuming 5 terabytes of text. Google alone had 4.7 billion searches PER DAY in 2011 and Facebook receives 2.7 BILLION new likes PER DAY.

Talk about big data.

it is important to study your data in order to cater to your consumers. Eric provided the SMB audience with a number of free or paid tools that analyze data for you and allow you to think outside the box.

Voyant Tools has the ability to “see through text”. The utilization of Voyant Tools allows you to copy and paste a selection of text and it will automatically analyze the number of words, unique words, top words, etc to see how your audience is talking and what they are talking about.

After you use Voyant Tools to create “buzzworthy” content, the utilization of tools such as Many Eyes can help you organize it. Many Eyes is an IBM product that allows you to upload your data and organize it in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The only drawback is that once you upload your content, it goes public.

Another easy and fast way to make your data visually appealing is to create an infographic. Tools such asInfogram and Piktochart assist you in making the design process easy as the click of your mouse! (Note to audience: Eric advises to start with infogram and graduate up to Piktochart.)

With the proper tools, you can parse through the data and provide valuable information to deliver to your clients. Don’t let the amount of data overwhelm you.

Overall, the first SMB Dallas meeting of 2013 was a very informative. The next meeting will be on February 28th and will roundtable discussion covering any questions guests may have concerning social media. If you can’t wait until February 28th, be sure to sign up for SMC Dallas “Pinterest Panel” on February 21st!

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