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.
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