Big Data in Social Media: Utilization, Challenges, and Future Trends

This generation is all about social media. We have the ability to use our smartphones, laptops, iPad’s and many other devices to access these social media websites. With any type of social media comes the topic of big data that is involved in it. Social media websites collect data of all sorts, some that we do not even know about. Every year more users join social media sites to connect with one another. Throughout this journey we will learn about current uses of big data, analysis methods, challenges occurred with big data , recommendations for using this data in social media and other things involving big data.

You will be surprised on the findings of this research.

Current Use of Big Data in Social Media

What is big data? Big data comes from things where data can be collected. They are large data sets that are used to improve that of which the data originated from. In this case, big data is associated with social media.

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“However, in the case of social media data, it only contains data about people that use social media. In the UK, around 49% of the population use Facebook and 24% use Twitter and not all users create content. There are concerns that social media data may not represent vulnerable groups in society, such as the elderly or those from lower income backgrounds. This means that there are significant gaps in the data, and there are not yet accepted methods for controlling for biases.”(Hossein) Social media is used around the world.

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Big data comes in by seeing what their users are interested in. By doing this, we are able to market and cater to those users needs. Markers are able to see what those users’ behaviors are and what the markets target audience is. With data in social media, we are able to see locations of the user and what the post about, like, share, etc. By liking or sharing a post, we tell social media what kind of content we like. Millions of data is collected each year from the social media websites we use every single day. We give out our information and we don’t even know it. That address or town you live in, that information is out there being collected. Even if it is private from your timeline.

New Uses of Big Data Within the Next 5 Years

Data is being pulled everywhere and its no new news that data will be here even for the next 5 years! Social media surely won’t be going away. Over the next 5 years, data will constantly be surfacing the social media websites. There will be different security and patterns associated on these sites. We will be able to track more customer behavior. Data will constantly get collected from the material that the user matches with such as advertising for marketing. Social media will be able to capture more data than ever. Social media sites will be able to collect data from users to be able to figure out what their company needs to improve and to keep people signing up over the years.

Main Sources of Big Data

The main sources of big data for social media are all those social media that is accessible on the web and off the web. These applications are used to be connected with others. Main sources include but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, YouTube, Instagram, texting, emails, etc. Other sources derive from phone locations, traffic and weather. Social media datasets is one of the major sources of big data. Social media is such a big source and is often associated with big data because of the size of the dataset, speedy updates, and different types of media and messages. The types of issues being pulled from social media could be where the user is located, such as their time zone, and what type of device is logged into that account. If that isn’t creepy, I don’t know what else could be worse. A source of data that is commonly used in collecting it is called data mining. Data mining is analyzing and extracting patterns from data sets of social media. We can find out information with data mining to see what users are thinking. “The researchers used a tool called the Twitter Streaming Application Programming Interface (API). This tool, which is provided by Twitter, allows users to pull tweets off of Twitter according to certain keywords.” (McCourt) Data isn’t always bad and it can be used for good. For example, in this article, Tweets are sorted out by a keyword in the tweet for businesses to help better improve their company. If there are so many tweets from that data that was collected with a key word that can be triggering or put the company at risk, that company is able to see that data and work on changing and improving for the future.

Analysis Methods Used for Big Data

There is always a method behind collecting data in social media sites. “Data is piling up and people are wondering what can be done with it. In this age of Information, there is no scarcity of data; data is overpowering. The key lies in sifting through the overwhelming volume of data that’s available to businesses and organizations, thereby interpreting its implications correctly. Perhaps, a few statistical analysis methods can help find some nuggets of gold buried in all that noise.” (Joshi) These analysis methods are in general for big data that can be applied to subjects such as social media. According to this article there are 5 that are most common. The first one listed on the article is the mean of the data also known as the average. By using the mean in the data set, you are able to find the trend of that data set based on some calculation. You are also able to find information on those data sets by using other analysis methods such as standard deviation, regression, sample size determination and hypothesis testing.

Problems and Issues Encountered Using Big Data

With all things in social media and collected data associated with it, problems are bound to happen. There are some potential challenges with big data such as security and privacy issues. “In this perspective, a trade-off between privacy and security requirements and constraints arising to support social learning analytics must be pursued. This is a fragile balance, especially if recurring to commercially available SNS (e.g. Facebook), which could have conflicting goals, such as forcing the learning platform to use some assets offered on a pay-per-use basis” (Manca) Security and privacy is always going to be an issue with social media. For example, if you are reviewing an ad online or having interest in purchasing something, that ad will appear on that social media account as a marketing tool. This brings me to my next article. “Social media platforms are collecting vast amounts of data and are functioning as tools for computational social science. The most visible example, Facebook, provides relatively open access to potentially sensitive personal information about individual users; in less visible examples, such as the dataset created by Google, data is held and used opaquely. The large scale collection, retention, aggregation, use and disclosure of detailed, triangulated personal information offers the possibility of incredibly powerful computational social science tools, but brings with it the potential for abuse by governments and private entities.”(Oboler) There are millions of users actively on these social media accounts every day. As a user myself, I certainly want to know what data is being taken from my profile. We are assured that it is all confidential information, but is it really? It seems like the government has a lot more control over our data than we do. From what we find, our data is helpful for some social media scientists. It is important that we be careful on what we put out on the internet. Any information we share on social media sites are subject to be used or stolen. For example, do not give out credit card information on a chat online because of the possible risk of it being stolen for whatever reason. We often wander if social data mining is legal. Actually, it is completely legal allowing social media to collect data and personal information to use for their benefit. I feel like its not that big of a deal since millions of people are still signing up and using social media every single day. In fact, we voluntarily give out our data on social media, but a lot of people by pass that and click accept anyways. A lot of the times something like this image below will be asked.

Usually we will click allow without reading the print that is being taken from your personal information. In this situation, your name, profile picture, gender, birthday, current city and many more are being taken from you when you click allow. What does that app even need that information for?

Recommendations for Organizations Interested in Using Big Data

Organizations who use big data will be able to use it as a marketing tool. That is the major use for it anyways. “With big data, it will become easier for brands to display only those advertisements which interest consumers, turning ads into a non-obtrusive experience. Advertisements will be targeted based on users’ social media posts, what they watch and share, etc. With personalized ads, it will be possible for marketers to strengthen their relationships with social media users and convert them into customers after identifying the most effective platform, time and format for their ads.” (Dave) Big data is a good use of a marketing tool. I do not necessarily agree with it because I don’t like social media pulling information from my recent interest searches. However, businesses will get more advertising shown on a user’s social media. This is smart because billions of users use social media every single day. I go on several times a day to scroll through my feed. It is a good way to get business. You can show your ad whether or not the user is interested either. There are always ads on the side of my Facebook page. If an organization is interested in using big data, then they should pursue this. I say this because you don’t know until you try. If anything, it will boost your brand.

In conclusion, social media is a very popular thing in this generation, and it will only get more tech savvy. Big data is involved in many types of categories in the world, but I believe it is most commonly used in social media. Throughout this journey we have learned the current uses of big data, analysis methods, challenges occurred with big data , recommendations for using this data in social media and other things involving big data. We have thoroughly researched each topic and have concluded that data is being taken from every inch of our social media and it is used for research and also marketing.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023
Cite this page

Big Data in Social Media: Utilization, Challenges, and Future Trends. (2021, Feb 17). Retrieved from

Big Data in Social Media: Utilization, Challenges, and Future Trends essay
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