Big Data Workshop Focuses On Social Media Relating to Human Behaviour

Big Data Workshop Focuses On Social Media Relating to Human Behaviour

Dr Wasim Ahmed

Looking at the analysis of social media, big data relating to human behaviour, interactions in digital business and branding formed the main topics of discussion at the start of the two-day Big Data Workshop, at the Emakhosini Boutique Hotel on Wednesday, 1 August 2018.

In attendance were DUT staff, DUT students, external stakeholders as well as key speakers, DUT’s Professor Sibusiso Moyo, Dr Surendra Thakur, Dr Progress Q T Mtshali, Dr Wasim Ahmed, Professor Noddy Jinnabhai, and Dr Temitayo Fagbola.

Welcoming the guests to the workshop was Dr Thakur, who spoke on the role of technology integration in society and business. “Technology integration is means to an end. The challenge is the data source, the data accumulation, data assimilation and backward integrity,” he said. Dr Thakur added that with the Fourth Industrial Revolution upon us, there is now an era of internet or digital obsession.

Adding to the topic of the era of the internet, Dr Mtshali spoke more on the impact of big data on machine learning and deep learning. He further explained the role of cloud computing which is the use of software development platforms, servers, storage and software, over the internet, often referred to as the cloud. “Cloud based applications or software as a service (SaaS) run on distant computers in a cloud that are owned and operated by others and that connect to users’ computers via the internet, and usually, a web browser,” he said. He also spoke of how businesses are now discovering the importance of cloud computing with the establishment of cloud platforms in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Social Media and Digital Business expert at the Northumbria Business School, Northumbria University in the United Kingdom, Dr Wasim Ahmed gave more insight into the last 15 years which is known as the golden generation in terms of the accelerated emergence of social media. He has delivered over 50 talks across the UK and in China, Germany, Switzerland, Croatia, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Australia and the United States.

“It is now found that the average mobile users touch their phones 2617 times a day and the average time spent on social media is two hours per day. Social media platforms have emerged as important communication devices in the 21st century. They generate vast amounts of data that can be analysed for commercial or academic insight,” he said. His talk also highlighted some of the tools used to analyse social media data.

Day one culminated with Prof Jinnabhai talking on e-health as a tool to support healthcare and health systems in South Africa.

Day two focused on Dr Ahmed’s talk on creating social media maps and measures with NodeXL.

Pictured: Social Media and Digital Business expert, Dr Wasim Ahmed, talks on the importance of social media platforms in the 21st century.

Waheeda Peters

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