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Big Boulder Conference and Why You Should Care About Social Data Ethics

The Big Boulder Initiative was founded in 2013 by Gnip, a data provider later acquired by Twitter, to “build the foundation for the long-term success of the social data industry.”

The Initiative started with local workshops, but eventually established an annual meet-up of members and leaders in the social data ecosystem. This year, Big Boulder Initiative will hold its annual conference on June 23-24 at the beautiful St Julien Hotel and Spa, centrally located in the heart of historic downtown Boulder.

Boulder Initiative Looking at the agenda for this year’s conference, topics range from politics, sports, and privacy, to advertisement, finance, and analytics, all related to the core principles of data, and to the code of ethics established by the initiative in 2014.

The code includes four practices: Privacy, Transparency & Methodology, Education, and Accountability. Right now, the Initiative is more specifically focused on:

  • Data Stewardship: Privacy, trust, compliance, and regulation
  • Data Enablement: Quality and validity of data
  • Data Availability: Awareness, access, and methods
  • Data Value: ROI, use cases, and education

Why Do We Care?

As an analytics company, the ethics surrounding data and data usage are critical for our business — not just from an operational perspective, but more importantly from a trust perspective.

Trust is a major building block of any analytics practice:

  • We need to trust that the data we get from social networks is complete, consistent, and accurate.
  • Our customers need to trust that the data they get is not jeopardized and that it accurately represents reality to drive appropriate business decisions.
  • Users need to trust that their privacy is not infringed upon, so they can continue to connect and share.
  • Networks need to trust solution providers to not use data in any harmful way.

Trust is the foundation of this industry, and one that needs to be guarded continuously. It takes years to build, but only moments to break.

This is why the Big Boulder Initiative is so important. Whether you are a data scientist, a publisher, an academic, or someone who works with and utilizes social data, this conference is for you. I encourage you to check it out, become a member, and register if you can.

Dark Social and Social Data

During the second day of the conference, our very own Brewster Stanislaw will discuss the topic of Dark Social.

If you are not going to make it to this conference, you can join our webinar next week on dark social.

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Uri Bar-Joseph

VP of Marketing at Simply Measured and the designated punching bag for the marketing team. I believe in marketing through data, but love the creative elements of marketing. I write about strategy, decision making, the future of marketing and how social media is reshaping marketing. I'm on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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