Have you ever thought about how much of the data you interact with every day is related to other data? Think about this:
Just by turning on your TV, the channels you visit receive ratings based on how long you view them. That means that you’re choosing to give your favorite news station a higher rating than the others, which means that local station can make more of a profit from advertising revenue. Just by watching TV, you’ve now impacted multiple companies: a news station and their advertising partners.
Continuing on the news station route, they could either keep that extra revenue as corporate profits, share those profits among their employees, or put it back into the community. Literally — just by watching TV, you could help to be the reason that a poor employee is able to feed a family, or why the local YMCA receives a nice donation.
Let’s go the advertising route. By watching ads on your favorite news station, these advertisers build stronger relationships with that station. Thus cementing that they’ll be partners for that much longer. This means a longer continued stream of income for the stations and alerting the advertiser that their ads are being seen. If you choose to purchase something related to an ad you’ve seen then you’ve helped to cement that relationship even more. Advertising companies are always tracking how effective their marketing is related to how much profit they’re making from it.
All of this means that the local community news station ends up growing stronger economically, growing the local community. In turn, this means that you can grow stronger economically too, because these benefits will all trickle down. And all of this ties back into you deciding to turn on the TV one evening.
It’s crazy! And there are a million stories just like this that show how connected your data is. Here’s one of our favorite’s from a very popular TED talk, about how wolves changed the rivers:
But here’s where it gets really interesting. The wolves changed the behavior of the rivers. They began to meander less. There was less erosion. The channels narrowed. More pools formed, more riffle sections, all of which were great for wildlife habitats. The rivers changed in response to the wolves. This was because the regenerating forests stabilized the banks so that they collapsed less often and the rivers became more fixed in their course. By driving the deer out of some places and the vegetation recovering on the valley sides, there was less soil erosion. So the wolves, small in number, transformed not just the ecosystem of the Yellowstone National Park, but also its physical geography.
If you look hard enough, you’ll start seeing signs everywhere about how interconnected your data is. It’s just up to you to find them!