Here is a question for everyone. Is big data simply large amounts of data or is it large amounts of intelligent data? By intelligent data, I mean data that is strategic and actually helps a company make better decisions. Usually this would be data sets that not only contain transactions but also contain elements about the people involved in the transactions. Like buying customer information or gathering census data and mapping it to a set of transactions to see what their customer or potential customer base really looks like. That way they can try to look for common elements and then do target marketing to them differently, advertise more efficiently, build strategic partnerships with other companies to generate more revenue, etc..
Or is it simply that you have a really large data set? Like having 5 TB worth of call segments that don't really tell you anything special other than who called where and when?
I tend to think of big data as the former so that it really isn't about size as much as it is about "big picture" data. Granted, you could have a fairly small data set of intelligent data but it seems that the data collection processes of websites and companies is what started this whole big data conversation in the first place. And that data collection was mostly in order to gain as much information about users/consumers as possible in order to generate more revenue.
That's just my view.