Our office building elevators feature small TV screens run by the Captivate Network: an outfit dedicated to delivering ad messages on, well, small TV screens on office building elevators. Among useful things like Donny Osmond’s birthday and the Blackhawks standing in the NHL Western Conference, Captivate delivers various news and human interest items rendered into pithy headlines.
This morning, I learned that U.S. Consumer Confidence Hit A Record Low. Oh boy. Then later this afternoon, I learned that after the stock market bottomed out in 1932, it rebounded 92% in less than two months. This was meant to encourage investors to keep vigilant so they don’t miss the bounce of recovery. I didn’t know these facts before reading them, but neither hit me as particularly remarkable. They were just facts, data.
I realize ours is the information age. We average nearly 12,000 Google searches per second, so clearly we have access to unprecedented amounts of information. But are we truly smarter? We seem to know a lot about effect, but it takes far more incisive thinking to understand cause. With this much information spilling over the dam into our personal consciousness’, can we honestly expect to be capable of rendering it all into useful data?
Agencies must deal with this everyday. According to Netcraft, as of November 2008, over 185,ooo,ooo websites crowded the world wide web. Today on WordPress alone, 44 million words were added to the blogosphere. And it is our job to navigate through this digital thicket in pursuit of insights and actions.
The real value is not all this data, all this chatter, all this raw thinking. The real value is converting it into actionable information. The agencies of the future will be the ones that do this not most intelligently, but most pragmatically.