Like the massive explosion that heralded the birth of the universe, Big Data began expanding with the Big Bang that was the invention of the Internet. Since then, data has been accumulating at an exponential rate, faster than we can come up with words to describe the orders of magnitude of these numbers.


Rackspace recently created an interactive infographic that illustrates the hugeness of data, and of certain groups of data, using celestial objects as relative size references. A counter in the upper-left-hand corner also counts up as soon as a user enters the page, showing how many more terabytes of data have been created since the page loaded. As I write this, after opening the page one minute ago, over 2,000 terabytes have been added to the digital universe!

In much the same way that astronomers can map and date the universe by studying the velocity of its expansion, there is a lot we can learn from the expanding universe of Big Data—as marketers, as historians, as social scientists, and as people.

It’s exciting to think about the things we can learn from the unprecedented volumes of information we have at hand now, and that’s why DMA is so committed to education, data stewardship, and fighting regulation that would restrict or block access to the responsible use of data.  By doing so, we ensure that this incredible universe of data will continue to grow, and offer us insights long into the future.

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