Rudder, one of the cofounders of the dating site OkCupid, has gathered his research and findings of online data trends and put them together in this book. From analyzing what Facebook ‘likes’ can mean, to what people say online versus what they really think via their actions. Dataclysm is an inside look into the trends of Google searches, social media interactions and more.
Obviously it’s in the name, so while I knew to expect a lot of data and facts in this book, it definitely felt very data-heavy and repetitive at times. In all honesty, I read through line by line, page by page until I kept encountering some specific examples that Rudder kept pulling from. Albeit the one instance may be part of his thesis of the chapter, but I was completely turned off from wanting to continue with the book with his constant use of the n-word to give examples of his data. (I counted 11 uses of that word in 2.5 pages) Yes, race can be part of data but even in the synopsis alone, it’s so heavily rooted in racial differences. “What is the least Asian thing you can say?” “What do black women think about Simon & Garfunkel?”. There can be so many other ways to look at data trends than focusing on how white people are different from black people, etc.
The only redeeming aspect about this is the other stuff that I eventually just skimmed through had some interesting information and analysis. There’s one section about online rage, where Rudder talks about how tweets can get retweeted so far out of context that all the angry trolls and violent responses start coming, I’m conflicted because there’s interesting topics like chapters titled “Death by a Thousand Mehs”, which is eventually followed by a chapter titled “Tall For an Asian”. Every time there’s one section that’s got a bit of good analysis, Rudder inserts his increasingly awkward analysis of race vs race vs race. What does a white woman call something and how do black women, Asian women and Latino women call it? Enough.
If you can weed through and look past all the racially-heavy examples in much of his book, Dataclysm has some interesting and eyeopening information. There’s definitely a lot more potential to this kind of topic than what Rudder has presented, in the manner he has presented it. I was looking for a lot more indepth social media analysis than finding out which race of women white/black/Asian/Latino men prefer.