First off, what is it?
Well don’t let anyone tell you it’s down to sample size, or about measuring everything. It’s about combining datasets (sometimes ‘dirty’ ones), contrasting them in different ways, and doing it as quick as possible.
Sometimes this necessitates great computing power, but not always. You can read more about such technology as Hadoop and GreenPlum in this nice little article).
Datasets are multiplying as we measure lots more than we used to. This means our thinking has to broaden – no longer is ‘what can we do with our database of email addresses?’ the question, rather ‘what data can we look at to give us the best idea possible of a customer’s stage in the buying cycle and what they’ll be receptive to next?’
The definition of big data isn’t really important and one can get hung up on it. Much better to look at ‘new’ uses of data.
So, here’s some examples of new and possibly ‘big’ data use both online and off.