By Erin Petit (@erinopetit)
If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “I’m in communications because I don’t like math,” I would no longer have to work in communications. No one likes math. Not communicators, not readers, not consumers, not anyone.
And yet, our entire industry (or at least, if done ideally) is grounded in research – research that may involve math. Today, Dr. Heather Shoenberger visited our class to talk Big Data. Big Data sound pretty intimidating, but Dr. Shoenberger led us through a few exercises and examples to help us get a grip on using Big Data in our careers.
Big Data, surprise surprise, are more than just coding. Big Data provide a variety of different resources, but in the case of communications, they help organizations and brands pull together large datasets and use them to understand consumers.
That being said, there is no denying that coding has totally changed the way that we are able to use technology. Moreover, did you know that it is now possible to run software tests to ensure that the coding for electronic products is safe and secure?
IEC 61508 Compliance for instance is widely accepted as the international standard for functional safety. You can learn more about the importance of carrying out software tests when coding here: https://www.parasoft.com/solutions/compliance/iec-61508/.
It is therefore interesting to think about what the future might hold for the relationship between coding and Big Data. For example, in the case of social media, brands might be interested in who their fans are following on Twitter.
Imagine you are a researcher for Nike. Are Nike consumers retweeting Chrissy Teigen, a fan favorite of the #SOJCssm class? Would it be beneficial for Nike to form a relationship with Teigen, who has a large influence on consumers? Making these inferences and analyses requires researching Big Data.
You can also think about it in the form of regressions, which we learned today are similar to equations. As the researcher, you can infer that different variables may have a single outcome. For instance:
Sponsored Twitter posts + Chrissy Teigen’s implicit sell of Nike product = A consumer purchasing the Nike product
Don’t let that plus sign and equal sign fool you. This is simple math! You don’t need a calculator or compass to figure this out, just your brain and communications expertise.
As the researcher, you decide whether or not this makes sense. Maybe it won’t. Maybe Nike would have better luck partnering with a renowned athlete. Maybe Teigen, who often uses her Twitter as a platform to talk about social issues, would have better luck partnering with an organization dedicated to humanitarian efforts.
Writing this article, I even did a little research and deducting. Chrissy Teigen was a hot topic in class today, so including her in my blog post might encourage people to read it.
Variable 1: Mention of Chrissy Teigen
Nike has and always will have a cult-like following at the University of Oregon, so including it in my blog post might help readers connect with the post.
Variable 2: Mention of Nike
Because my desirable outcome is getting high levels of readership and engagement on my post, it might behoove me to include these two variables in my blog post, thus:
Mention of Chrissy Teigen + Mention of Nike = High levels of readership and engagement
Consider yourself math’d.