“Big Data” means different things to different people and there isn’t, and probably never will be, a commonly agreed upon definition out there. But the phenomenon is real and it is producing benefits in so many different areas, so it makes sense for all of us to have a working understanding of the concept.
So here’s my quick and dirty definition:
The basic idea behind the phrase 'Big Data' is that everything we do is increasingly leaving a digital trace (or data), which we (and others) can use and analyse. Big Data therefore refers to that data being collected and our ability to make use of it.
I don’t love the term “big data” for a lot of reasons, but it seems we’re stuck with it. It’s basically a ‘stupid’ term for a very real phenomenon – the datafication of our world and our increasing ability to analyze data in a way that was never possible before.