That’s So Meta
Finally, looking beyond data to metadata – that’s where the biggest opportunity lies in the long-run for marketers. Metadata is already here in the form ofmicroformats and theSemantic Web, but it’s still in many ways a frontier.
What is metadata? It’s data that describes data – it’s data that tells us about the data. It is reasonable to expect that new classes of self-describing data will eventually tell us not only what it is, but how to use it, who it is best suited for, what geographies it should be targeted at, and how much inertia it requires to achieve critical mass. Over time, however, marketing will transition from being based on data, to being conceptually inseparable from it. A lot of money is going to made in the process, and huge numbers of jobs will be won and lost. It’s too early to tell exactly how it’s all going to play out, but the groundwork has certainly been laid.
Robert Scoble’s idea of a “Supertweet” is a nearer-term example, and rather compelling – it is the idea that advertising (among other things) can and will be delivered at the metadata level inside of tweets, with the help of clever new data-driven interface elements. The metadata might tell you where a tweet originated, what tweets it is related to, how many times it has been retweeted, or what concepts that tweet is about – but the point is that tweets will become much more rich, and our understanding of their intent and use will be that much more sophisticated.