Announcing the Social Data for Social Good Fall Workshop In Chicago

We are excited to announce that we are holding our next Big Boulder Initiative Workshop on November 7th in Chicago. This workshop will focus on Social Data for Social Good and will feature presentations by BBI board member Farida Vis from the University of Sheffield as well as Feeling Nuts founder Andrew Salter, Jessica Groopman from Harbor Research, mReief’s Rose Afriyie, Derek Edder from Datamade, and many others.

The workshop will be held at Loyola University Chicago and is co sponsored by the Social Media Club of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. The workshop follows the 5th Annual International Symposium on Digital Ethics, November 6th at Loyola. You can find more information on both events here: and we hope you join us for the workshop.

Starting Off 2015 with a Bang

As we kick-off 2015, I want to look back on the things we accomplished over the past year. 2014 was a big year for the Big Boulder Initiative!

  • We established the first independently operated and self-sustaining 501(c)(6) nonprofit trade association dedicated to establishing the foundation for the long-term success of the social data industry.
  • We formed a board of directors comprised of representatives from enterprise, startups and academia within the ecosystem, whose mission is to collectively address key challenges within the industry
  • We published a Code of Ethics and Standards in an effort to define a set of ethical values for the treatment of social data that will be used as a benchmark for companies and individuals associated with the social data industry around the world.

Thank you to all of our members who contributed to making these milestones happen and for your continued commitment to the mission of the Big Boulder Initiative!

We’re starting this year with a bang, adding three new members to our board of directors. On behalf of myself and the entire board of directors, we want to thank all of our members who participated in the vote and we are excited to have three new voices join the discussion as we kick-off 2015. I am honored to formally announce that our members have voted and elected the following new board members:

  • Justin DeGraaf, Global Media Insights Director of The Coca-Cola Company
  • Mark Josephson, CEO of Bitly
  • Farida Vis, Director of the Visual Social Media Lab and Faculty Research Fellow of The University for Sheffield

Congratulations to our new board members! I look forward to working with each of you to chart the future of social data.

I also wanted to personally thank Brandwatch, IBM, NetBase, and Twitter who have joined the Big Boulder Initiative as founding members. In recognition of their commitment and dedication, each founding member has been given a board observer seat designed to allow them to take a strategic role during board meetings. As such, I would like to welcome the following board observers to the board of directors:

  • Will McInnes, CMO of Brandwatch
  • Jason Breed, Partner/Global Lead, Social Business at IBM
  • Pernille Bruun-Jensen, CMO of NetBase
  • Randy Almond, Head of Data Marketing at Twitter

Again I want to personally thank all of our members who had help make 2014 a huge success. For those of you who are not members, I would strongly encourage you get involved and help shape the social data industry in 2015. Happy New Year!

The Future of Social Data Starts Now

We first announced the formation of the Big Boulder Initiative last June to build the foundation for the long-term success of the social data industry. We’ve made a lot of progress since then.

Last fall, we held a series of small workshops in four cities to discuss the future of social data and the challenges we all face in creating the future we believe is possible. Across all of the workshops, participants – publishers, brands, solution providers, analysts, academics, public sector, finance and more – represented a range of perspectives. We achieved two key outcomes from these events: we identified six high-level topic areas to address, and we elected a board of directors.

This year, the board has gone to work. We established the Big Boulder Initiative as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. We refined and focused the topic areas identified in the workshops. We developed a working draft of a code of ethics for the the social data industry. We created a structure and definition for what it means to be a member of the Initiative. And last but not least, we pulled together the 2014 edition of the Big Boulder conference.

Today, we’re releasing several items so we can drive the discussion forward with the entire industry. First and foremost, our draft Code of Ethics is now available and open for discussion. Stewardship and appropriate use of data is a key topic that we’re planning to address, and the Code of Ethics is the foundation for this discussion. Second, you can now sign up to be a member of the Big Boulder Initiative. We have memberships for companies, academics, nonprofits and individuals. Third, we’re launching a new website for the Initiative. This includes membership information, this blog, and a forum where members can discuss topics we’re addressing. And finally, we’ll kick the conversation into high gear with the start of the Big Boulder conference tomorrow morning.

I’m thrilled to see us take this big step forward with this Initiative. I hope you’ll consider becoming a member to take part in defining the future of the social data industry. This is the beginning of something big.