(This is the fifth post in a series on the publishing industry’s new product categories.)
Data serves the status quo.
Anything new or undiscovered by definition does not have a data footprint. Existing data collection and filtering techniques have biases that do not take the unknown or unfamiliar into account.
Unless you have a clear theory and a well-designed experiment to prove or disprove it, the only thing more data will tell you is that your preconceptions and existing biases are correct.
One of the basic problems with website ‘analytics’ is that a lot of the data is just noise. We have no real insight into cause and effect—that traffic sources section is insidious because it often amounts to little more than misdirection, knowing where people come from almost never tells you why they came.
The scary and frightening fact is that the effectiveness of our online marketing and traffic generation tactics is probably due to random chance—spending time on a particular source of traffic is no different from just buying more lottery tickets.