Twitter and Watson: Little Data Gets Big Validation

In Marketing by Daniel Newman2 Comments

I just can’t seem to kick the phrase “Little Data.” Yes, I know that isn’t really a term that has been adopted, certainly not like its better looking counterpart, but for the majority of us who are living in the world of small and midsize business, the whole “Big Data” thing is well, just too big for us to put our arms around.

Over the past few years we have found ourselves entrenched in the shifting communication landscape. Mobile, Cloud, Analytics and Social Media have become more than just a buzz in our business, but they have collectively redefined who we are. Our little businesses have had the opportunity to become bigger because no longer do we need a war chest to stay up to date with technology. Just think of what the technology evolution has done?

  • Mobile puts us in meetings anywhere in the world at anytime
  • Cloud allows us to “rent” the latest and greatest software to run our business
  • Social connects us to the greater world that was never available to us before
  • Search has created information asymmetry that is unprecedented
  • And data…well it was cool to talk about, but finally we are on the precipice of something great

Twitter and Watson Bring Conversations To Life

It no longer surpasses anyone to hear that we see half a billion tweets a day. Just walking down the street we can look at people and realize no one is paying attention to their surroundings. Instead they are busy sharing their experiences with the world. While this serves as ironic in its own capacity, it also is very telling to how the new digital world is revolutionizing the way we live.

So here is the big thing, for most small businesses what they really want to know is what is being said about their industry, their market and their business that really matters, and then what can they use this information for in order to improve their company?

Over the past few years social listening has evolved. There are more tools that allow people to follow signals and information online, but as a whole, there is no way to really capture the most relevant content in context and then apply it to your business.

With today’s announcement that IBM and Twitter are partnering to provide sophisticated real-time insights on the Watson and Blue Mix platform allowing companies that are developing the social listening and search tools of the future to do something none have been able to do well until now. Essentially they will be able to gather insights, sentiment and interactions in a way that businesses large and small can take to develop more engaged communities, build new products and services and deliver a greater customer experience.

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Emerging Little Data: Refreshing Relevance

While the announcement of a platform that finally takes the mass of unstructured data that is Twitter and puts it into order is exciting, perhaps for me what is most exciting is the opportunity for products and services to be developed around it that truly empower small businesses to be empowered by data.

In the world of SMB (and really all businesses), the depth of a relationship is built in a company’s 1:1 interactions that can be delivered at scale. Platforms like Twitter aren’t about brands talking to people. In fact the very purpose of social may have evolved to be about marketing, but when it started it was about human interaction. That is why much of the most valuable data that these networks provide is in the sentiment and context rather than the raw content itself.

In the future our physical, social and digital lives won’t exist in a vacuum. In many ways they are already ubiquitous. The announcement of Twitter and IBM partnering just brings us one step closer to uniting our social presence with our inquisitive consumer beings; a winner for marketers, consumers and social connoisseurs everywhere.

This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit  IBM’s Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


  1. markwschaefer Hey Mark – I can’t recall if we discussed it. If you were the one that planted the seed then I owe you a big thanks as I have really enjoyed exploring the relevance of data for the smaller organization. Gleaning insights from big data has most certainly shifted to a micro activity for many companies. Thanks again for all the great ideas you share.

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