Dataclysm

“Facebook might know that you’re one of M&M’s many fans and send you offers accordingly. they also know when you break up with your boyfriend, move to Texas, begin appearing in lots of pictures with your ex, and start dating him again. Google knows when you’re looking for a new car and can show the make and model preselected for just your psychographic. A thrill-seeking socially conscious Type B, M, 25-34? Here’s your Subaru. At the same time, Google also knows if you’re gay or angry or lonely or racist or worried that your mom has cancer. Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram, all these companies are business first, but as a close second, they’re demographers of unprecedented reach, thoroughness, and importance. Practically as an accident, digital data can show us how we fight, how we love, how we age, who we are, and how we’re changing.” – Christian Rudder

Dataclysm is, to put it simply, an eye-opening book that examines how digital data defines, changes, and informs us. Christian Rudder of the website OkCupid analyzes data for his career, so it is not surprising that he successfully compiled an engaging book that makes numbers and graphs fascinating. The topics examined through data are diverse and somewhat eclectic, but completely engaging. For example, topics like what makes relationships work, how individuals are likely to describe themselves, how writing has changed in the last decade, and even the most hated word in the world are examined. Numbers and algorithmic data have never been so fun or engaging.  Dataclysm is a great read – especially for those who realize that we may not be able to change the information that the internet collects on us, so we might as well embrace it.

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