Tagged: big data

Informing and Entertaining Despite Shortened Attention Spans: The Guardian’s NSA Files Decoded

People’s attention spans have shortened. Wait – are you still with me?

I said, people’s attention spans have shortened. For instance, I am no longer able to recite Sophocles from memory. And if I could, who would listen?

A few years ago, when I was writing more frequently about the “future of journalism”, the struggles and growing pains of traditional news outlets were mostly based around a) funding and b) competing for audiences believed to be no longer able to concentrate for long periods thanks to technological changes.

Well, journalism funding models are still primarily stuck in a pay-wall / subscription paradigm, but an interesting shift has happened around content. And you can see it in pieces like the Guardian’s NSA Files Decoded.
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What Netflix Can Teach Us About Personalized Data, or, How to Enjoy Werewolf Gambling Mistaken-Identity Satires From the 1940s

Cutting my marketing teeth in the nefarious and multiply-A/B-tested world of direct mail, I have a fondness for data-driven targeting.

Now, I realize a data-first worldview makes some marketing useless at best and creepy at worst, and this kind of tracking also seems to spell disaster for geopolitics as recent NSA revelations have shown.

But tracking, aggregating choices, and serving up suggestions is also what makes services like Last.FM and Pandora (sadly, still not available in Canada) so helpful. So how does it work? Or, more importantly, how does it work when it works well?

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