big-data-screen

I Say It's "Daytah," You Say It's "Dahtah"

  |  July 31, 2014   |  Comments

A poem about the merits of data, and whether it should be treated as a plural word or a singular entity. Can marketers agree on how to treat the word in their industry?

All the dictionaries show
What all the diction-wary know:

Data are Data the whole day long
And to say that "it is"? Linguistically wrong.

To give the datum its due respect,
"Datums" is prodigiously incorrect.

That data is plural is demonstrably true
But "data are" just won't do.

It all starts with a bit
Which is dark or it's lit.
Those ones and those zeroes
Are this story's heroes.

Eight of them tethered,
Strung out together,
Every typesetter
Will say is a letter.

plural-singularEight threaded bytes
Bring to light
Nouns and verbs
And other words.

Between the word
And the idea conferred,
Lives a citation
Of information
You can transmit
That's more than a bit.

It's less than a notion
Or a single emotion.
It's smaller say scholars
Than a drop in the ocean.

If you combine a datum or two
You end up with Data
Upon which you can chew.

It's not a word we use as a verb.
We mine it, we dig it
Enshrine it and pivot.

Data are Data the whole day long
And to say that "it is," is dialectically wrong.

But...

I propose to oppose this linguistic logistic
And suggest that our best, is to contradict it.

I hereby plea that we all agree
To treat the word Data singularly.

I'm always astonished
When people admonish
And show disrespect
When they try to correct.

For Data is great.
Data is good.
Data is our livelihood.

Data's intriguing.
Data's revealing.
Data longs to be understood.

Data is useful
Data is truthful
Data is what we query and drill

Please don't disdain us
That won't refrain us
From using Data as we will

I hereby plea that we all agree
To treat the word Data singularly.

And if you just can't adjust your network neural
We vow not to scoff when you treat it as plural.

Image via Shutterstock.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Sterne

Jim Sterne is an international consultant who focuses on measuring the value of the Web as a medium for creating and strengthening customer relationships. Sterne has written eight books on using the Internet for marketing, is the founding president and current chairman of the Digital Analytics Association and produces the eMetrics Summit and the Media Analytics Summit.

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