Big companies know all about one of today’s biggest buzzwords, Big Data. Social media sites have been amazing tools in providing big data to be leveraged in new ways, but people often think of using this information primarily for better targeting and a bump in ROI. On the other end of the spectrum, some people still view big data as the spying big brother. The problem is that we don’t see enough companies use big data for enacting big change. LinkedIn is setting out to change that.
Using user profile data, LinkedIn identified a major gender gap in STEM jobs. The gender gap may sound like a dated topic, but when women hold only 15% of the jobs in software engineering… well, it’s obviously still a very real issue in this country. LinkedIn is doing something most companies aren’t; they are addressing the issue head on. Partnering with MentorNet, the two companies plan to build a network for female students to have access to female leaders in STEM roles. And LinkedIn’s use of the data didn’t stop at identifying the issue. Using LinkedIn’s job title information combined with users’ interest, MentorNet will be able to identify new potential mentors and leaders. Best of all, this isn’t strictly a charity move. LinkedIn benefits from creating more interest in their site and providing users with access to advancing their professional and personal interest. MentorNet benefits from more users, and everyone will benefit from a truly innovative approach to closing the gender gap.
From the social site that’s supposed to be all about business, this is the type of move more companies should be making. If we saw more social sites pushing to innovate social change while growing interest among their users, we could see a big change in our future.