Dave Sifry has posted new news about the Blogosphere: It continues to grow, and the rate of growth continues to increase:
- Technorati now tracks over 35.3 Million blogs
- The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 months
- It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
- On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
- 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
- Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour
Where is the end of this growth? Surely we cannot get to the point where everyone on Earth has a blog or two going, can we? Can we?
Perhaps we can.
Maybe more and more young people will adopt the MySpace/LiveJournal/Mobblogging ethos, and use blogs as a means of self-expression: every one of them. Perhaps every student in every English class will create a blog for their homework, and why not Chemistry, too? Maybe every aspiring chef will post recipes with pictures, and every restaurant will update their daily specials online. Every company will have one for every product in every product line. Every civic group, every non-profit, every band, every town government, every art gallery, every massage parlor. Why not?
So where is the end? And how will we make sense of the immense flood of writing, insight, photos, video, and cross-connections?
Obviously, Technorati is trying gamely to keep up with the flood, but I already see the need for specialization intruding. Memetrackers like tech.memorandum and Tailrank are one alternative to the search/link analysis models that Google and Technorati employ. Human agency — like digg, Squidoo, Top Ten Sources, and Corante Hubs — offer an alternate path, based on human filtering.
But I would rather see and use a social tool, one that makes sense of who I am, what I like, and who I know.
Why isn’t there a solution that is equivalent to Last.fm for blogs, for example? It would require a small plug-in, that would track what I read, anywhere, and would build up a list of my favorite ‘artists’ (bloggers, not musicians) just like the Audioscrobbler plugin does based on iTunes play. I would then — after an appropriate time — be provided with a collection of blog reading neighbors whose preferences are somewhat like mine, and then I could roam around in this virtual neighborhood, looking at what they have been reading, and their commentary on it. People could rate their favorite posts, tag anything, and create a stream of their favorite stuff for others to tap into, like a Last.fm radio station. These virtual neighbors could become my friends, in fact, since we could contact each other, link to each other’s comments, and so on.
That’s the solution to the immensity of the Web. Just like the wide, wide world, we can accomodate the Web only a neighborhood at a time. So we need tools that carve neighborhoods out of the web where they don’t really exist, yet, or if they do, they are so virtual as to be invisible. We need tools to bring these neighborhoods into the light, and make it easy to make sense of the exploding blogosphere by bringing it back down into human scale.
I am sure that I will get all sorts of email from various vendors saying, “Stowe, check out our site… That’s what we do.” Well, so far I haven’t seen it. Maybe the guys at Last.fm should repurpose their current technology to support this. Felix?