I wasn't trying to sell my 89-year-old neighbor a credit card or requesting a contribution for Support Hillary. So, there wasn't much need for BigData. I didn't have to filter her whatevers through supercomputers. I got plenty of information about her just by old-fashioned talking. Over a seven year period we had three or four minute conversations several times a month.
I had never entered her apartment. We never had had a cup of coffee together. She had never read anything I wrote.
Yet, we knew each other very well. I realized that as I, yes, talked with her daughter and son in law. She will be entering a nursing home. They are shutting down her apartment.
It turned out that, based on input from me, they could connect the dots on when she began to deteriorate. For example, I shared with them that she was crushed the family hadn't made a fuss for her birthday. Actually, they did. Both they and I were surprised that I was aware of the major tragedies in the family, especially which ones she hadn't gotten over. We figured out which might have been a tipping point in the downward trajectory.
From them, I found out how she sure did have my number. Probably even more than the marketers who analyze that data from my social networks, online purchases, and smartphone use. That's funny. I thought I had used talk to obscure who I really was. As a writer, I balked at the very notion of being part of a community - that is, tribe.
Those who need to know us, ranging from hawkers of products and services to politicos, might just talk with us, in person. It will only take a few minutes. But must be sustained over time.