Over at Singly, we were curious what types of data people most cared about, and why. As an experiment, we surveyed 179 people, at a cost of twenty cents per person. Filling out the survey took on average 2 minutes and 13 seconds, meaning the effective hourly rate was $5.414. I would have expected more results if I offered more money for the survey, but this was just a small experiment.
The question was “What is your most important personal data?” users had to pick either:
- Browser History
Not surprisingly, Photos won at a whopping 67 votes (37%). Here are the full results:
What was interesting is that people ranked Browser History, Links, Events, and Check-ins so low. Do people not care about where they went? Is this data considered stale to most people, and therefore irrelevant? I personally believe I can create a lot of value from Browser History and Check-ins. For example, what websites are my friends going to that I’m not? Also, what places should I be going that I’m not? These are just a couple of ideas.
This survey validates what I believe we already knew, that Photos, Contacts, and Messages were important collections to create. More importantly though, the second question “Why is that data the most important to you” explains *why* people feel are so passionate: (word cloud from all answers)
“Photos are most important to me because they preserve mine and my family’s history. They are a way to show younger generations deceased family members they may have never gotten an opportunity to meet. The record both happy and sad memories, which are a part of every family’s existence.”
“Many of my photographs span back from childhood, thus they’re irreplaceable. Every other option on the list is unimportant, as they’re replaceable and don’t hold sentimental value.”
“My contacts are the most important data because without then i can’t reach my family and my friends. I have all my costumers contacts and if i loose those contacts i can’t work. I make regular backups of my phone and email contacts.”
“Friends and family are important to me.”
“These days we all do most of our work through electronic communication. So most of my transaction details, confirmations, decisions taken, and documents, come and go through email. So messages are most important.”
“It’s important to me because I am a human being, and like every human being before me and those to come after me, I have secrets. These can be in the form of affairs, a half life (think LGBT) and other more sinister varieties. Secrets that no one but the people I choose, should know about, this is why this personal data is the most important to me. Data which if exposed, parts of my well built artificial life to satisfy a conservative society and family would come crashing down around me. I am presuming you also mean emails when you say messages. This is why this data is the most important for me. I hope I have been able to help you, thanks.”
If you would like to read on, the raw data is available at: