History of Big Data

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
Big data is one of the most popular buzzwords in business, but where did it come from? This lesson explains the history of big data, from the time when data became economical until today.

History of Big Data

A few years ago, you rarely heard the words big data mentioned. Today, it seems to be all that many companies can talk about. Everything short of the meaning of life seems to be there waiting in big data, waiting only for the right researcher or analyst to ask the right question at the right time. However, we didn't get to this point of data usage overnight. That said, it has been a relatively short few years. In this lesson, we'll look at the history of big data.

Switching to Digital

Computers had been around a number of years by the time 1996 came around. In fact, by that point, a number of households had started to purchase them, whether as a replacement for a word processor or as an early way to access the internet. But 1996 is important for big data for one particular reason - in this year, it became as cost efficient to store data digitally as it was to store it on paper. Suddenly, there was an economic incentive to digitize information. By the next year, so much data was being digitized that some theorized that much of it would never be seen again once it was recorded. However, that didn't stop us from recording practically everything in digital form.

Growth of the Internet

In the next few years, the internet began to change in a major way. With the transition from phone lines to DSL, and later cable internet, connections that were always on meant that data could be accessed more reliably no matter where it was. While early digital data had involved saving information to hard drives, CD-ROMs, or even floppy disks, now information could be stored on servers that were easy to access no matter where you were.

Social Media

It wasn't until 2004 that the full realization of this development was reached. In that year, Facebook launched, and in the coming years it would transform from a way for college students to get to know one another to a massive collection of data that individuals could post, comment on, and generally interact with. These interactions became a gold mine of useful data for researchers who were able to compile and use it. This was even more true as other social media platforms became commonplace.

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