"Big data can be a hard to grasp concept, but in order to make it more tangible many people refer to the three Vs: volume, variety and velocity. Indeed, this does help us to grasp the vastness of big data, but it misses the most defining characteristic of data in our contemporary lives – that it’s connected. We think connectedness is the key to unlocking the value in data in today’s digitally networked world.
Big Data is not only hard to grasp, but its hard to create value from. The problem is not only that most descriptions miss the key characteristic; it is that there is a massive push to erase it. That is, to anonymise, aggregate, and otherwise break the connections that are part and parcel of what the data is. Two things drive this: a misunderstanding about the fundamental nature of personal data; and a misunderstanding about ownership in the digital world.
Here’s the thing: we live in a connected world in which we neither singularly author nor own our data. This is an extremely important shift for us to get our heads around. As David Weinberger argues, we have reached an inflection point where it is impossible for one individual to know everything about a topic, to have the final word, or to define the ultimate, timeless truths. Knowledge, and the data that it is comprised of, is a collaborative, connected process – nobody can claim they own it."