Convergence and Info-Literacy in 2014

  |  January 13, 2014   |  Comments

What we most need now is to become an informed and educated consumer of data; it is only when we have the right information that we can make better and more actionable decisions with it.

convergenceAs this year begins, consider how analytics, content creation and form have blended into complete and self-contained products.

Just a few years ago, when I started to teach analytics literacy within social media, it was simpler to have students focus on each social media channel and develop ways to extract the relevant information generated in each channel. As we begin 2014, I have begun to see the world I live and interoperate within has been rapidly converging, driven by what the Gartner group calls the "Nexus of Forces." 

With this in mind, what we most need now is to become an informed and educated consumer of data; it is only when we have the right information that we can make better and more actionable decisions with it. Here are some examples of where being well informed makes a big difference in opportunities to leverage the data:

  • The marketing and IT departments are blurring the lines between them with end to end marketing solutions such as Oracle, Salesforce, Marketo and Hubspot is replacing various fragmented data analytics platforms, so as to provide a more holistic and actionable view of the voice of the customer.
  • The rapidly evolving area of consumer wearable devices is blurring the boundaries between apparel brands and digital platforms; consider products such as Google Project Glass, Pebble, Aumour39, Nike Fuelband, Jawbone UP, Fitbit Flex and Force as examples of this integration.
  • People are at the beginning of a convergence and merging with electronic devices. These devices can be swallowed, implanted in their bodies or attached to their skin via "smart tattoos" that promises to revolutionize health care and change the way people interact with devices and one another. Some envision a day when smart implanted devices will enable people to control computers, prosthetic devices and many other things solely with their thoughts.
  • As the growth of knowledge and data continues grow so vastly, no one gets the total big picture (of anything). As a result of this rapid rate of change, the world needs more generalists, dabblers and polymaths who are comfortable operating at the boundaries of disciplines and connecting them together in a contextual and useful convergence. The arts are the most common ways to do this.
  • On-site merchandizing is being re-invented before our eyes with an emerging set of technologies that include Wi-Fi positioning, Near Field Communication, GPS-enabled apps and Apple iBeacon. This makes it possible to pinpoint a mobile device's exact location and interact with relevant, hyper-targeted and timely advertising while shoppers walk through the a store.

But convergences in technology comes with its own issues. For example:

  • While many brands have begun to take a more integrated approach to media planning, delivery and analytics, they are struggling to understand the rapidly changing, convergence driven, media consumption habits of customers and its impact on their business. 
  • Convergence various publishing technologies have supercharged automated content publishing making it possible for brands and individuals to schedule months of daily content ahead of time. Paradoxically, the more content we are flooded with, the less well process it because there is too much of it, and the problem will only get worse before it gets better
  • Convergence Analytics, as I mentioned in previous ClickZ posts, is complex to set up, scale and support.

As we navigate this New Year, I believe we need to develop an "Info-Literacy" surrounding various new technologies and products. This literacy will ultimately become the main driver of convergence.

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Marshall Sponder

For over a decade Marshall Sponder has influenced the development of the digital analytics industry with his WebMetricsGuru writings that focus on social media metrics, analytics and media convergence. He also possesses considerable in-house corporate experience with roles at IBM,, Porter Novelli, and WCG while continuing to work with start-ups. Marshall is a Board Member Emeritus at the Web Analytics Association (DAA) and teaches Web Intelligence at Rutgers University and Baruch Business College. Marshall is the author of "Social Media Analytics: Effective Tools for Building, Interpreting, and Using Metrics," published by McGraw-Hill in 2011.

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