You hear the phrase "we live in the information age" a lot, and they're not wrong. The sheer amount of data produced and consumed in a day is mind boggling. I believe there is an article that suggests that we generate over 18 billion texts a day. Now that's not putting into account the videos we consume, audios we listen too, pictures we take or scroll through, and much more.
What I'm trying to get at, is that, data is everywhere. That's inevitable given that, as stated earlier, it's the information age. We see businesses take advantage of this by taking advantage of user data. Hell, we can even see different fields stem out of it such as data analytics (which is what I'm currently studying 🙌🏼), data science, data engineering, data architect, just plug in something after data and I'm pretty sure there is a field for it (data [anything])
We ourselves are consumers, and generators of data. Let's take an example, we are data consumers by watching a Netflix movie, by listening to a podcast episode, by checking customer reviews on a cafe we're thinking of visiting. We are data generators by taking a picture of our breakfast and posting it on Instagram, by sending an audio message to your friend reminding them about your hangout plans, by putting on your smartwatch that counts the numbers of steps you're taking.
Now businesses take the information you generate and analyzes it, checks your pattern, and based on the business they use that data to benefit them. I know some see that as invading privacy and there is a great argument for that. However if they just use that data to possibly market something to me, that I would actually be interested in, there's no harm in that. With that said, I'm not interested in how businesses use my data. As I mentioned before I am learning data analytics at the moment, and I noticed something. Most example, are business centered. How can a business find customers, predict a product, decide what to sell, ...etc. But have we stopped and thought about us?
Have we looked at the data we consume? At the data we generate? Have we analyzed it? If we stopped for a bit, to look at our data, to analyze it, it might help us understand ourselves, we might actually benefit.
We can look at our youtube history and start off by asking, why did I choose to watch this video? Did I like it or not? Why? These questions can make us understand what interests us? We might even see a pattern emerge from our consumption. I'd like to take myself as an example (not sure if this is a good idea, but I got to practice what I preach so lets go.)
For the first video, "know your worth" why did I choose to watch this? Well, I know that ever since I did my ACL surgery and I'm currently in the recovery phase, I needed motivational videos to pump me up and get me in a positive head space, I try to listen to it while walking. Did I like it? Well not really, I zoned out to most of the speech and it felt dull.
Second video "Philip DeFranco" why did I choose to watch this? I use Phill as my source of general news, watch him while I warm up on the bike to get a glimpse on what's happening in the world. Did I like it? I'm fine with it, I wouldn't go to the extreme of like, it's just a convenient way of news consumption and since it doesn't center on one country so it's good, also I like that it tries to be impartial... I guess I like it then 😅
Third video "H3 podcast", why did I choose to watch this? They're my peeps. I love the H3 crew and enjoy what they have to say. I usually listen to them while I do my physical therapy exercises to not feel alone while doing it. Did I like it? Yeah, it's just about the company, and how they make time pass without me noticing which in turn makes exercising fun.
Fourth video "House of the dragon", why did I choose to watch this? I am bloody interested about the lore of the new show and want to know everything! Did I like it? It did it's job, I much prefer Alt Shift X's videos but he takes some time to upload so this is me waiting for his video by feeding my craving with another video.
So looking at this data and my answers, what I can tell is that I mostly watch while exercising, because it seems that I want some company while doing it. Also it makes exercising fun, and time passes quickly. On days that, there are no episodes, I noticed that I tend to get lazy and would want to put it off. So maybe this tells me that, I should find a backup podcast to fill in the void of days where no H3 episodes are up, to avoid neglecting my exercises. Also, I noticed that each video type (news, podcast, motivation) coincides with specific exercises. Meaning when I do physical therapy exercises, I tend to gravitate towards long form content such as podcasts, for biking, I gravitate to short form and news specifically, and when I do my last exercise and being all worn out, I tend to look for motivational videos. So type and energy level along with exercise length have a say on what video I choose to watch.
So what about you? Have you taken some time to look at your data? Have you wondered about the correlation between what you consume and what you do? or even perhaps your mood? Try it.
If you read this and thought, why don't I try take action and analyze my own data. You can start by your workouts if you have a smart watch. Look at how much you moved each day, how many exercises you did, how many steps, and ask, what type of exercises I did, why? What was the mood that day? How much sleep did I get the day before? Did something happen that day? Try it, you might uncover interesting observations and behaviors.
Yes, data is everywhere, but are we exploring it or are we just mindlessly consuming. I implore you to do the prior, it might help you unveil a lot of interesting information about you.