Technology

Lunchtime Links: Correlation vs. Causation, Big Data Style

By / Mar 26, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

When data points correlate, it doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t find the root cause. Also: Could one of these new social media platforms grow to become the next Pinterest or Instagram?

Sure, there may be some data that suggests something important is happening, but without proof, you may be barking up the wrong tree.

That, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

What’s the cause? Finding correlations in your data isn’t difficult. The science lies in getting to the root of the correlation and what causes it. Once you understand the cause, the data becomes truly valuable and leads to action, according to GigaOm’s Derrick Harris, who tried to see the bigger picture in a goofy viral story about how people who like curly fries on Facebook may have higher intelligence. “As [Quid Founder and CEO Sean] Gourley explained at Structure: Data, even using correlative data to predict insurgent attacks in a place like Iraq is relatively easy, but predicting the likelihood of events doesn’t stop them. Stopping them requires really understanding and addressing the root causes of the attacks,” Harris writes. Next time you find a correlation in your data, ask yourself, “What’s causing this?”

New kids on the block: Last year, we saw Pinterest and Instagram take off and become a part of the social media elite. But have you heard of Vine, Medium, or Branch? These relatively fresh social platforms have shown plenty of potential, but is the mainstream ready to welcome another network? Only time will tell. In the meantime, check out Event Marketer’s roundup of social media networks to look out for this year.

Battle of the notebooks: Last week, we told you about Google’s newest app, the Evernote competitor Google Keep. The program has gotten plenty of attention, especially since it followed Google’s announcement of  the demise of Google Reader. Now, I bet you’re asking yourself, between Evernote and Google Keep, which program is most efficient? Mashable compared the two applications and set out to declare a winner. They found that Evernote may be better for notetaking purposes, but Google Keep is more efficient for browsing. Will you test Google Keep yourself?

What’s on your reading list today? Let us know in the comments below.

Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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