Big Data: the Most Confusing Tech Buzzword

“Big Data” is the most confusing tech buzzword of the decade, according to the Global Language Monitor, an analytics company that tracks cultural language trends. GLM uses a proprietary algorithm, which factors in long-term trends and short-term changes, to analyze the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media.

The Monitor releases its Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords list annually during SXSW. “The Cloud” came in at number two this year.

Though there are paragraphs on the Internet that explain Big Data, I haven’t found a good fit-for-Webster’s definition of the term yet. I tried to come up with my own in a past post, and I ended up just saying data a lot. “Big data refers to colossal data sets made up of data collected from the past combined with the data now being recorded at a rapid rate due to new technology that tracks and stores it like never before,” I wrote.

I asked some members of the Health 2.0 team what they thought it meant:

“Big Data, in health care, is a word meant to embody a future where all our medical data ― and ancillary health-related data ― can be accumulated in a single or interconnected database so that the individual can be empowered through comparison to the group and the group can be empowered by the participation of the individual.” - Adrian Harris

“Big data, as I understand it, is a term used for data sets that are so large that the owner of the data (company, individual, organization, government agency) does not have the bandwidth to comprehend what the information is actually telling them.” - Pat Ryan

Health 2.0