Empowering Yourself with Personal Data

GSB 117

If you are interested in data science you might have questions about personal data. What is it? Where is it? Where should you put it in order to preserve or explore it? What can it tell you? What do you even want to know about your digital self?

How can this extended knowledge of self empower you?

An advanced data wrangler might explore what it would take to analyze the sentiment of posts at different times of the year, just in case future employers or potential collaborators are doing the same. A beginner might start learning about the topics they discuss frequently by visualizing their social media timeline in a word cloud… but not if they cannot take advantage of the technology that will help them get started. This talk is about some of the pitfalls that slowed me down when I first started exploring my personal data, some of the tools that will make it easier for you to uncover your data story, and how changes in technology can affect your process as a data scientist.

Whether your data is on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace or at your doctor’s office, and whether you want to store your digital existence on your hard drive, an encrypted cloud, a floppy disk, or a fancy bitcoin-inspired machine, you will learn about free resources you can use right away to access your data and overcome obstacles related to project set-up and safe, long-term storage. You will walk away with knowledge that is useful to practitioners at all levels in the world of data about the people, places, and things around us all.

Versions of this talk have been presented at Python conferences around the United States. It is part of an ongoing project to make data exploration and self-actualization accessible to everyone.