Friday, November 10, 2006

Blogosphere rapidly expanding into the mainstream

175 000 new blogs are created daily

Since May 2004, the size of the internet has doubled*. There are now over 100 million websites, and many of these are blogs and virtual malls. The exact figure (for blogs) is 58.7 million, meaning that the blogosphere comprises more than half the websites on the net.

More and more blogs are being read by more and more people, and more and more people are creating their own blogs. Technorati estimates that 175 000 blogs are created daily.

And blogs are featuring more and more in popular media, and public consciousness. This week I heard blogs mentioned in a sitcom, and a new commercial for margarine has a housewife preparing a meal and discussing the benefits of expressing herself on MySpace.
More and more magazines now also feature columns that rate or recommend blogs.

And it is not only Google and Microsoft that are providing free blogging platforms. In South Africa for example, (owned by the massive media24 group) are also trying to capture their slice of the action.

The internet paradigm, according to Technorati, is being completely transformed by blogs, which are creating an incredibly diverse interflow of information. The mass media is basically being transformed into millions of data streams, and in some cases, their customized relevance (to friends, family or particular groups) cannot be beaten by popular (mass audience) channels. Welcome to Micromedia: the media made for, and made by us.

With the advent of videoblogs, it is not unreasonable to suggest that blogs will soon make large scale crossovers from their current domain (on the internet), to TV, newspapers, magazines, even the cinema. A South Africa mobile phone network has supported the making of a movie shot entirely with cellphones. This trend is likely to continue, and gain in popularity, as each person courts their own concept of celebrity/exposure.

Cellphone technology (especially where they are able to connect wirelessly to the internet) can only enhance the popularity of a blog. If you meet someone on a bus or a train or an aeroplane, they might provide you with their blog address (which may contain personal trivia, photos and background about the person), and you can then immediately read up about the person and decide what you think about them.

In the end, a blog provides access to millions, and millions access to you. A blog can be the quickest route to celebrity or renown or just exposure to the world. And in a world with 6 billion people, an internet scenario boasting 100 million websites has plenty of prospects for further growth. It is only a matter of time before blogs become de rigueur, and the blogosphere rockets towards the 1 billion mark. That is a world where blogs are as important as cellphones and business cards, and equally indispensable.

*Survey by Netcraft

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