For understandable reasons, the last four, regular monthly episodes of the Small Data Forum podcast have been focused – almost to the point of obsession – on coronavirus. From the uncertain first fumblings of life under lockdown, through escalating mortality and morbidity, and on to a fundamental lack of trust in the competence of blustering, blond, male, right-wing leaders … the last four episodes have had it all.
Some have said that this podcast was made for events like the pandemic, scrutinising as we do the uses and abuses of data big and small in politics, business, and public life. There’s been plenty of that about of late.
So, with lockdown restrictions being lifted all around the world – and Government advice completely ignored on the beaches of Bournemouth in the mini-U.K. heatwave last week, leading Dorset police to declare the overcrowding “a major incident” – our focus in this episode was much more catholic.
Indeed, with Facebook, GDPR, and brand safety the dominant topics, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d fallen through a wormhole in the space-time continuum and teleported back to 2018.
Continue reading “Facebook, GDPR, brand safety – suddenly it’s 2018 all over again”
Apparently 2020 is what you get when you put together 1918, 1929 and 1968. With just over 40% done, it’s a bit early to say. Or is it?
Pandemic – tick. Global recession – about to hit. Political turbulence and social unrest – we’re only getting started. At least 1968 was followed by the year of moon landing, and Woodstock.
Fifty years and a bit on, we’ve just had the first private company sending astronauts into orbit (though not quite with e-rockets; Elon needs to work on that). And the next Woodstock is likely to be a smorgasbord of Zoomed home gigs.
Continue reading “From Woodstock to Nudgestock”
For all the disruption that the lockdown has brought to the nation (if not the world), for the cast of the SmallDataForum, little has changed in the way we work: most of our 34 episodes were recorded “in the Zoom where it happens” (with a bit of Whereby here and there).
Sam is still delivering training on data storytelling and insightful thinking, just now with participants on screen.
Neville has been commuting the few meters to the home office for years, and I’m not at all missing the occasional trips to a London WeWork office – video calls do the job just as well.
And isn’t the fall of WeWork and the rise of Zoom (ignoring security and privacy issue for the moment) just the metaphor for our times …
Continue reading ““If broadband goes down, we’re all screwed””
“If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequence”.
This little known sociological formula from the late 1920s, known as the Thomas Theorem after husband-and-wife research team William and Dorothy Thomas (I wish I could claim a level of ownership but no), helps us understand how and why the perception and interpretation of events determine the impact of such events in a media world.
And it’s not hard to see why there might be a problem when ‘situations’ arise from mis- and dis-information.
For almost four years now, the SmallDataForum has been mulling over, musing on and opining about the uses and abuses of data big and small in politics, business and public life – and with Brexit and Trump perma-themes on our show, mis- and dis-information have always been top of the bill.
No surprise, then, that our latest podcast – recorded in splendid self-isolation in our respective home offices – was largely about the misinfodemic of COVID-19.
Continue reading “Convolvulus, Coronavirus & the Thomas theorem, or when stuff gets real”