In many ways, data wants to be social. It wants to get out there for people to see, interact with other datasets, and it wants people to talk about it. There aren’t that many places for that to happen though. Newly launched BuzzData wants to fill that void. It’s pitched as a “social network designed for data.”
You might be thinking, “Wait, haven’t we seen this before?” Well, yeah. Again, there’s something about data that wants to be shared, but no one has quite figured out how to make it work on a large scale.
Like those before it, BuzzData lets you upload datasets and lets people comment on said datasets, but that’s where the similarities stop. There are no tools to visualize and explore your data, and the goal is not so much to get people to make as much stuff as they can with the numbers (although that would certainly help support the community), but more to talk about the data and add context.
Once you upload a dataset, you can link to papers or graphics and include attachments. If you make the dataset public, other BuzzData users can follow datasets — like you might follow a question on Quora — and leave comments and suggestions. If you don’t have data to share, you can participate just by following others’ datasets.
The above, for example, is a dataset I uploaded on Playboy Playmate of the Year body measurements. (We saw how things have changed over the decades a while back.) I was also able to provide links to articles and graphics, so you don’t just get a spreadsheet with a link to a source.
If I wanted, I could add collaborators so that that they could help me keep the data up to date.
It’s an interesting concept worth exploring. However, unlike a Twitter or a Quora, there’s less of an immediate gratification when you use it, so it’ll be a challenge to get enough people interested where things are updated frequently. It’s one thing to be excited about data and another to be interested enough to participate.
Then again, maybe there will be a Wikipedia-like flourish with all the excitement around data these days.