Data aggregation is a process where information and data is searched, gathered and presented in a report-based, summarised format (Janssen, 2014). While it does not provide much information, the most important aspects are given. As social media is becoming more dominant in our everyday lives, the traditional communication of news is dramatically changing. News is being aggregated across social media, establishing a new form of gathering and disseminating information.
Take for example Twitter. There is a limit of 140 characters therefore; users must be selective in how they choose to make a statement. Many newspapers tweet links to their stories and specifically write a tweet that intrigues the reader whilst giving details of the story. According to Johnson, we live in a tech fast world, where we seem to prefer to read a tweet than something in excessive detail. He describes this phenomenon as “ambient awareness” (2009).
With over 271 million active users on Twitter, it is hard enough deciding whom to follow, let alone process everything on your Twitter feed. This is where data aggregation steps in. Twitter aggregator and trend websites use formulas and methods to filter every tweet to basically determine what’s hot and what’s not. Retweets are one of the many ways users can determine if a tweet is popular and gaining attention. By connecting your twitter account to aggregation sites like Digg, can analyse your personal twitter feed and activity to determine when you should be alerted to a particular tweet. For example, if you follow lots of people, and a lot of them retweet a particular tweet, Digg will connect you to it. In doing so, you have the ability to find, read and share the best tweets for you.
Another example of data aggregation is Benard, a company that specialises in social curation and visualisation, who collects and gathers information through social media. Benard was chosen to create the official info-graphic for the worldwide, Social Media Week. Combining their efforts with companies such as Nokia and The Guardian, Benard aggregated and curated over 235,225 mentions for 12 cities across 4 continents.
“Our platform was built to serve as that middle layer which solves big social data issues surrounding aggregation and relevancy with easy plug-in-play interfaces that enable the creation of amazing user experiences for any agency, content management system or blogger. The true innovation is that you can now leverage social media on your terms, not the platform’s,” – Benard founder Vincent Mota.
The process of aggregating is not a new concept but it is definitely of value in the 21st century. Social media is becoming a part of our every day life, and we are receiving more information than ever before so like anything, organisation is the key to control and data aggregation is the key master.
Janssen, Cory 2014, Data Aggregation, Techopedia, viewed 21 September 2014, <http://www.techopedia.com/definition/14647/data-aggregation>.
Johnson, Steven 2009, How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live, Time File, viewed 21 September 2014, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/245672/mod_resource/content/1/Johnson%20-%20How%20twitter%20will%20change.pdf>.
2012, ‘Benard Powers the “Social” in Social Media Week’, PRWeb Newswire, 22 February, viewed 21 September 2014, <http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9217428.htm>.