World wide blog count 60+ million and rambling on a tangent

...so says this unscientific, but probably not-completely-inaccurate analysis.

MSN Spaces is growing at 100,000 blogs/day. Wow.

Whatever you think of the blogosphere, it probably is not true three months from now. Loïc mentioned yesterday that roughly 20% of French teenagers have blogs. Twenty percent. Think about it.

Well, maybe those teenagers get bored with it. Maybe nobody speaks of blogs in five years, and blogging has become a passé, done only by old farts still clinging to their ancient Wordpress installations. But blogs are significant because they are the first real global way for these young people to express themselves in an easy way. I still hail Mitvit's wisdom on this: "One of the prime functions of blogs is to steal the internet back from the geeks." No matter what the platform is, these people will change the world simply by being themselves and creating. Now they write blogs - in six months everybody may be podcasting. Next year you might start to see vidcasting and personal TV stations.

Most of the created stuff will, of course, be crap. At least when viewed by a member of the general public. But that crap will be good and meaningful to a few people, and those people will gravitate to this stuff. It's one-to-few -publishing; not one-to-many.

Whatever happens, I just can't see that people would suddenly stop innovating and creating new stuff. The channels may change, but what is really behind the "blog revolution" has nothing to do with blogs as such, but the need of people to write, and draw, and compose, and sing, and to create, and also to get feedback for it. To find the few souls in this world that like what you are and what you do, no matter how odd it may seem to others.

To complement my previous post: The problem with 3G is that it assumes that corporations do the innovation. The internet allows people to do the innovation. It has nothing to do with how many bits per second a geek can get traveling on a bus from Helsinki to Ypäjä!

How many successfull cellular services have you seen which have been run by a single person? Conversely, on the Internet, how many discussion boards or fan sites which are the product of a single person in their spare time? There are more cell phone users in the world than there are Internet users (1.6 Billion vs 900 million)! Where are the great fan-run mobile sites? Where are the wonderful SMS services that everybody uses?

There are none. Or if there are, they are very local: specific to a single country, or perhaps an operator. No matter how good an Italian SMS service might be, you can't use it from Finland. That's because there's a walled garden out there: mobile phone services are about value chains and money and corporations making deals with each other about offering value-added services to customers. And operators want control over what happens in their network. And writing software for mobile phones is difficult, and users don't know how to use the services, and optimizing for a small platform is difficult, and... there are many reasons, but the end result is the same: the mobile phone area is really a very hard place to innovate and create new stuff, unless you have the training, the means, and an insane amount of patience. (Look at Russell Beattie's story on how difficult it was to squeeze a movie to a phone - and that guy is an übergeek!)

Anyway... I'm rambling. My point is that the Internet is a place where you can, on your own, create something like Blogger.com, get ten million users in a couple of years, from all over the globe, and get bought by Google for an insane amount of money. In the walled garden of mobile networks - well, you need to be a really serious geek.

Fine. So the internet has been stolen back from us geeks. Now, please steal our cell phones, too!

Update: By sheer coincidence, I listened to the podcast of Clay Shirky's speech at ETech. He speaks of the same thing, but he's far more eloquent than I am.




Comments

I got the impression from my Korean flatmates that as many as 80% of young people - approximately 20 to 30 yearolds have blogs in Korea.

This is a very high number, but then again Korea is a leader in internet access diffusion and community building as well probably - wouldn't suprise me if the real number actually was somewhere around that figure.

--Antti, 02-Jun-2005


Yes, the article mentions 15 Million blogs in Korea.

In the Finnish blogosphere one may get the idea that blogging is really small peanuts. But that's only true over here (and a few other countries, Germany most noticeably). In many places, it's HUGE.

--JanneJalkanen, 02-Jun-2005


Joi says that there are 5-6 M blogs in Korea, the rest 10 Million are "hompys", a sort of glorified home pages.

Still, personal publishing using really simple tools, if not blogs.

--JanneJalkanen, 02-Jun-2005


Puhelimet varastettiin jo: se tapahtui tekstiviesteillä. MMS on hupaisa esimerkki siitä, miten tätä prosessia yritetään toistaa. Ja miten siinä epäonnistutaan.

--KariHaakana, 02-Jun-2005


And you don't need any training or patience innovating in the PC-world?

That's funny!

If you insist comparing PC-world and mobile world together try to remember in which maturity stage these are relatively to another.

Mobile world is still young and even the markets are still evolving. I mean people still can't use their mobiles to their full potential (I'm talking about "smartphones" here), only 4-5% can.

Wait this percentage to grow, then it might be a bit easier.

--Henrikki, 02-Jun-2005


I didn't say that you didn't need any patience for innovating for the web. Where did I say that you don't need training or patience? Please read more carefully - saying that "X needs Y" does not mean that "!X does not require Y".

I would claim that most of the people using PCs are not using the full potential on those either. I mean, quite a few people are just using PCs for email, web browsing and games. What does it mean when you say "can't use their mobiles to their full potential"? That's utter crap (sorry to say): you don't need to use a device to "it's fullest potential" if you're, say, blogging! That's geek talk - and that's exactly what I don't like. You cannot say that "well, the users are stupid because they are not using their devices to their fullest potential", because it's not the users' fault. The users don't make the apps and services. Developers do.

I completely agree that PC and mobile are on a different maturity level. And I'm saying that the *reason* why they are on a different maturity level is because of the difficulty of innovation in the mobile space.

--JanneJalkanen, 02-Jun-2005


Kari: I consider SMS to be on par with email: Nice for one-to-one communication, but it's awful if you're trying to do anything else. Depending on your viewpoint, I grant that you could consider it a success story... And I guess you could call voice a success story as well.

But it's still really hard to innovate in the SMS space. If you have a great idea for an SMS service, how would you do it? Could you just throw something together in a few days and see if people like it? Could you do it for free, as an experiment?

--JanneJalkanen, 02-Jun-2005


"And writing software for mobile phones is difficult, and users don't know how to use the services, and optimizing for a small platform is difficult, and... there are many reasons, but the end result is the same: the mobile phone area is really a very hard place to innovate and create new stuff, unless you have the training, the means, and an insane amount of patience.."

Well,..when your rambling people tend to fill the cups themselves when you are not doing it..:)

And I didn't say that people are stupid..I just said that they are not using their phone to the fullest of their potential...because the "mobile-culture" is still youg.

Blogging requires in my mind a little bit more PC-skills than in proportion sending a SMS in the mobile world.

--Henrikki, 02-Jun-2005


How many people, worldwide, have a camera with them in their pocket or handbag today (I mean a camera phone of course)? If 1 per cent of 1 per cent of those people see something they find funny, or interesting or shocking and take a photo of it, that is, go to the trouble of getting close enough, framing it, making sure the light is not too bright and so on, and keep that photo for themselves for a few days, and maybe show it to one friend, then that adds up to a lot of "photographers" and a lot of creativity. Perhaps youre not guilty of forgetting, but it's worth remembering, that "creativity" can't really be defined solely as building software and services. I have no idea what your short "reminder of elements" below means, or what I could do with them if I did (suggestions on a postcard), but I can press click on my camera phone.

--andrew wilson, 02-Jun-2005


I'm not quite sure what you mean... Remember that if you want to do anything with the picture other than watch it, you need a service. Whether that is MMS, email, a neighbourhood photo printer, or Flickr, you need someone to build it.

Just snapping a photo with camera phone does not a mobile service make. It's creative, but it's not a mobile service. You could easily use a film camera for that :-)

(I'm not excluding any kinds of creativity: You need creativity for snapping pictures. You need creativity to build that camera. You need creativity for making services for the photos. I'm just saying that making mobile apps and services is more difficult than doing stuff on the internet, therefore the mobile area is lagging behind. The World Wide Web and the GSM networks are roughly the same age, mind you...)

--JanneJalkanen, 02-Jun-2005


"he's far more eloquent than I am."

He's far more eloguent than what I is n all.

--62.255.32.17, 02-Jun-2005


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