Tom Webster, writing and speaking

A New Resource For Social Media Data

Added on by Tom Webster.

Today I am rebooting a blog that I had, frankly, allowed to founder over the years: Datasnob. When I started that blog on Tumblr, it was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to what I saw as a withering torrent of data of questionable provenance on the social web. I kept it up for a while, but I never really could find my voice. The last thing I wanted to do, frankly, was turn into a scold. Scolding has never really been my style, and maintaining Datasnob was appealing to what I would call my default thinking - and not being the best me I could be. So, Datasnob fell by the wayside. Still, there is a need there, and an itch to be scratched. Almost every day someone sends me a link to a new study or survey and asks me what to make of it - sometimes on Twitter, sometimes on my contact form, or even email. I'm always humbled by these requests, and flattered that you value my opinion. There is no shortage of things to write about, in other words, but I was not, and am not, comfortable being a "critic." I'm a skeptic, not a critic.

I was recently challenged by my friends Chris Penn and Chel Wolverton, however, to rise above that default thinking, and to do better. Surely, they told me, there was a way to turn these requests into content that helps people understand all of this information and put it into context, without turning it into a researcher's version of Failblog.

They were right, of course, and I accept the challenge. So, at least once a week (and more often, as content reveals itself) I'll examine one new study or survey on the social web and provide context and understanding. My general thesis is this: there is value in almost any piece of data, as long as you understand its context, and ignore the headline. I'll do just that on Datasnob, and I've started things off this week by revisiting a recent study on Pinterest.

I hope you like the tone, and if I'm ever not helpful, kick me. I still like the word "snob" in Datasnob. To me, being a snob about data doesn't mean I'm snotty, or a scold. It means I'm discriminating. Sometimes a little discrimination - about ideas, not people - is a good thing. It keeps us from being indiscriminate, which simply won't do.

And if you have studies you'd like me to cover on Datasnob, hit me up on my contact page here, or just ping me on Twitter. And BrandSavant isn't going away, or changing. In the words of my idol, Fraser Crane: I'm listening.