If you can believe it, there are 57 million blogs out there.
Four times each year, Technorati, the blog search engine, produces what it calls its "State of the Blogosphere" report.
Technorati has been putting out these reports for several years now, and every one has been a mind-boggler. Indeed, to my mind, it is the single most important index of the sheer cultural power of the Internet in our time.
If ABCNEWS.com will indulge me, here's the link to the Technorati's latest report, through October 2006 and published on Monday: http://technorati.com/weblog/2006/11/161.htmlE
The data are so stunning that even the people at Technorati seem a little dazed. Put simply, the growth of the blogosphere since March 2001 is the upward trajectory of a sine wave, from zero "weblogs" then to 57 million blogs today. And the number continues to grow by 3 million blogs per month, or 100,000 per day.
Think about that: Every single day, 100,000 people out there in the world download the proper software and begin keeping a record of their lives, spouting their opinions, posting photographs of their pets, listing their favorite new movie or book or song, telling their secret dreams and fears, publishing their poetry, writing paeans to their heroes, memorializing lost parents and friends, and on and on.
A total of 1.3 million posts per day.
I once called this the Great Conversation of our time, but I was mistaken … or more likely, premature.
Because so few of these millions of bloggers ever hear more than an occasional reply back to their missives, these are really tens of millions of monologues, shouted out into cyberspace, in hopes of even the tiniest echo.
There is something very poignant, but also quite magnificent, about all of this.
It is the heroic individual still trying to make himself or herself heard above the cacophony of modern life.
Fifty-seven million bloggers -- and, at this rate, 100 million by next summer. And look at the breakdown of languages that make up those millions.
Forty percent of blogs are written in English. Next, at 33 percent, is Japanese. Would you have guessed that? Chinese, at 10 percent, and Spanish, at 3 percent, are the third and fourth most common.
The fastest-growing new language? Farsi (interesting, eh?), at 1 percent, knocking Dutch out of the Top 10.
Technorati also notes that while English and Spanish blogs tend to be global postings, the Chinese and Japanese are more likely to be local -- draw from that what you will.
One of Malone's Laws is that tech revolutions come slower than we expect and quicker than we are prepared for.
Now that's proving true for the blogosphere. A couple years ago, about the time the big-name bloggers were impacting the presidential elections, everyone was talking about how blogs were about to be the Next Big Thing, and how they, along with online news services and aggregator sites, would spell the death knell for traditional mainstream media.
It sounded good, and the scenario was easy to extrapolate, but it was still almost impossible to imagine that it would be true by the time the next election cycle came around.