Fact: Big Data is nothing more than an empty term, a euphemism among the technorati, unless it produces the sort of “conversational marketing” necessary for social media; unless it yields superior content and inspires a dialogue among consumers; unless it showcases messaging that resonates because of the quality of its content and the eloquence of its voice; unless, in short, it is authoritative and authentic, believable because of the caliber of its story and the sincerity by which it tells its tale.
The good news is that data contain the information necessary to achieve that goal. The even better news is that data can strengthen everyone’s ability to communicate, transforming social media into a destination worth visiting and a site (or a series of sites) worth reading.
That means the style of writing, on and throughout the various sources of social media, should also rise. Rather, there will be a greater incentive to write with clarity – and to convey ideas with conviction – than currently exists; because, if we want social media to be more conversational and relevant, if we want to translate numeracy into literacy, if we want to make the language of numbers intelligible to a mass audience – if we want to achieve these things, and we should, then we need to place a premium on good writing.
I issue that claim as the Founder and President of Ocoos.com, where I help companies enjoy affordable access to data, analytics, marketing, design and promotions, among other things.
That means I believe conversational marketing will increase the caliber of writing we see on the Web in general and social media in particular. Expect, therefore, to read material that no longer insults our collective intelligence with its reliance on keywords and otherwise pointless phrases, content that is optimized but not optimal; writing that is “right” for search engines, but wrong – seriously misguided – for an actual community of users; writing that is (barely) acceptable, but unacceptable to people who value rhythm and the natural flow of solid prose.
So, yes, we have much to celebrate. For the revival of good writing is an antidote to the truncated sentences – the fragments and abbreviations, the incomplete statements and inarticulate sayings – that pollute the currency of language and the power of words.
This event matters – it matters a great deal – because, in the absence of conversational marketing, social media will revert to the lowest common denominator; it will succumb to bad sales talk, not an exchange of ideas between likeminded individuals.
In this respect, Big Data is a resource: We can maximize its potential, or misuse (or dismiss) its revealed truths, depending on our own prerogatives.
If we want social media to become better than it is, and as relevant as it can be, then we should demand the writing we deserve. We should demand the respectful conversation we deserve to hear – and the quality content we expect to see.
Together, we can start that conversation right now.