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August 07, 2006
When will blog growth top out?
One natural question about that growth is: When does it stop, or at least flatten?
"There are only so many human beings in the world!" Sifry writes. "It has to slow down."
Perhaps not just yet.
First of all, based on aggregated data, it appears that more than 1 billion people are online today. Asia leads the way with 380 million citizens online, followed by 294 million Europeans and 227 million North Americans. In all, about 16 percent of the world's population is surfing. Those numbers exceed predictions made in 2002 by the Computer Economics group, which thought that 921 million would be online by now. Not a bad prediction, but it shows that growth rates are probably exceeding forecasters' expectations.
If people are expressive beings and they find that a blog is a fudamental tool for expression, the growth in blogs would seem to be very much in its early stages.
That's what University of Southern California researcher Julian Bleecker calls things that collect data, then disseminate them via social media. Case in point: A flock of 20 pigeons in northern California has been collecting data about air pollution this summer, and the group behind the project just started posting it to the PigeonBlog. Each bird carries a tiny cellphone transmitter with GPS tracking as well as an air pollution monitor. The birds transmit collected data in real time while flying, resting or eating.
With a toolkit velcroed to their bodies,the pigeons voluntarily map pollution levels in real-time to a satellite view of a Google map. Watching their flight patterns on the map is pretty interesting but paired against pollution data creates a new realm of blog-mashup. At some point, the pigeons will carry tiny cameras around their necks to allow the project’s coordinators to take aerial photos and instantly post them online. How cool is that?
So while birds, bears or boars may be the data bloggers of the future, it'll be up to the humans to wrap their data in context and meaning. An animal version of "The Truman Show" could one day mean that a Canadian grizzly becomes an authoritative voice on precipitation, pollution or poaching.
If the universe of objects is infinite, so too is their potential to blog. The potential of “blogjects” to raise of our collective knowledge is awe-inspiring.
Other blogs that reference When will blog growth top out? :
» How many people are blogging? from Recognize Design :: Design, Marketing and Beyond
Church of the Customer blog posted something a few days ago that led me to a recent post by Technorati CEO David Sifrys blog entitled State of the Blogosphere, 2006. Sifry points out that since March 2004, the blogosphere has been... [Read More]
My thought is that even if the overall growth numbers flatten, blogs will still "mushroom" out as blogging takes on various looks.
We've got a lot of writers, of course, and video blogging is even more in its infancy.
Some bloggers made do writing, video, audio and may even one of the blojects you're talking about.
So even if it does slow down numerically, it will grow out from there.
Quite true, and I wouldn't be surprised if a survey six months or a year from now found that a percentage of bloggers were responsible for 2-4 blogs, if not more.
This brings up an interesting point. Will blogging ever reach a point where (much like traditional marketing) there will be too much clutter and too many voices to be heard, that blogging looses its relevance and credibility?
I think that's a fair question A.J., but let's put it in a historical context: 400 years ago when Gutenberg invented moveable type and enabled the printing press, his first project was to print Bibles.
Since then, hundreds of millions of books have been printed. Do all of those books printed since then make the Bible any less relevant today to its believers? Does the fact that 70,000 new titles are printed every year make books less credible?
To me, the answer is no and I think the same could be said for blogs. Soon there may be over 100 million blogs in existence. Like books, it'll be be up to the filters of the world to point out the good ones and the relevant ones. The rest will probably, like many books, fall into the remainder bin of obscurity.