It was a great experience to volunteer at mesh conference. DJ Patel (former eBay, LinkedIn) held the first session by talking about how data can help newcomers to social networks feel welcomed.
This is the equivalent of a person in real life entering a room and searching for friends to ease the anxiety of being there.
2 good (and 1 bad) examples of use of data by companies include:
1. LinkedIn: the most successful feature on the site has been people you may know' . With highest CTRs, data acquired from a users profile about possible connections helps build a stronger professional network.
2. Amazon: Earlier Amazon pages used to be a dead end, with back /home being only options. This was changed to include 'people who viewed x, bought Y' and so on.
3. TiVo: this was based on a blog post by a user titled my TiVo thinks I'm gay'. After this user recorded Will and Grace, TiVo assumed a LGBT taste in programs, which was incorrectly deduced from the user's profile