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Jack Myers On the Road

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During the final week of August, I had the honor of serving as co-chair of the KDD 2014, a 20-year-old conference that brings together academics and practitioners of knowledge discovery and data mining. The theme was “Data Mining for Social Good,” and our aim was to connect the 2,000-plus attending data scientists with NGOs. With the help of Bloomberg’s philanthropic department, we invited speakers from nonprofits to take the stage and present their respective challenges. The floor was open to give those in attendance opportunities to converse and, hopefully, collaborate with these organizations. During the conference, the world’s top data scientists gathered with the nonprofits to present groundbreaking work and challenges. Participants included Bloomberg, Disney, Facebook, Google, Groupon, IBM, LexisNexis, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Sprint, United Nations Global Pulse, Yahoo and nearly every major U.S. university.

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But Facebook isn’t the only one who’s undergone some changes. Consumer media habits have changed, rather dramatically. Yes, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube remain our go-to social behemoths, but our social behaviors are diversifying across a rapidly growing cadre of platforms: Snapchat, Tindrr, Instagram, Pinterest, G+, LinkedIn, What’s App, Line, Vine, Tumblr, Secret, Paper and Whisper. For those keeping score, that is 16 separate platforms in which we friend, fan, like, share, heart, comment, tweet and report. Oh, and more and more we are forgoing our PCs and engaging with these platforms primarily through our smartphones. What’s a brand to do?

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