Global Connection Factors

by Jay Deragon on 10/14/2007

Global Connection FactorsHow large is our virtual world?

These are more than 750 billion documents on the Web, mostly in the “invisible web”, or deep web.

A 2002 survey of 2,024 million web pages determined that by far the most web content was in English: 56.4%; next were pages in German (7.7%), French (5.6%), and Japanese (4.9%).

A more recent study, which used web searches in 75 different languages to sample the Web, determined that there were over 11.5 billion web pages in the publicly indexable web as of the end of January 2005.

How large is our physical world?

Population:6,602,224,175 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 27.4% (male 931,551,498/female 875,646,416)
15-64 years: 65.1% (male 2,174,605,518/female 2,124,494,703)
65 years and over: 7.5% (male 217,451,123/female 278,474,917) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 28 years
male: 27.4 years
female: 28.7 years (2007 est.)

Our physical world has progressed through technology which enabled individuals, organizations, institutions and governments to “connect”. Our ability to connect has become the imperative for a global community with common interest. The medium of social networking has over 500 million people using it as an extension of their personal and professional lives and growth rates beyond previous web adoption rates.

The Connection Imperative

As communications technology evolves, so do communications networks. In fact the pace of this evolution, the rate at which new network practices reach broad adoption, has been constantly accelerating, as shown in Table 1:

Connection HistoryTable 1: The pace of network evolution

With each new network comes new capabilities—more information to share, in richer formats, over more channels, with more parties, at greater speeds. As might be expected from the pace of innovation shown in Table 1, the next evolutionary step is already upon us: the rise of social networks.

When E.M. Forster wrote “Only Connect” those famous words, who knew quite how willing we’d be to follow his direction? As of March 2007, more than 1.1 billion (nearly 17 percent) of the total 6.5 billion humans spread over the globe were connected via the Internet.3 In North America, nearly 70 percent of the population is connected, more than half through high-speed, broadband connections.

This relatively new global Internet connection offers inexpensive support for audio, video, or textual communication. It has opened up new networks where far-away strangers can become close friends, where families and friends can share common experiences though far apart, and where colleagues can work on teams with people they’ve never seen.

And these days, it’s all about connections. More Americans have used the Internet to reach out to an online group than have used it to read news, search for health guidance, or buy something, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Report.

The Entrepreneurs Are Coming

A rapidly growing group of software entrepreneurs has emerged to take advantage of this drive to connect us, creating applications designed to enrich our business and personal relationships. According to Christopher Carfi of Cerado5, when properly applied to online social networks and virtual communities, here are some of what these new technologies enable organizations to do:

 Increase customer satisfaction via a better CRM focus that includes an authentic human face.

Allow customers to connect with experts with deep knowledge in areas of interest.

Empower their employees to find experts within their own organization.

Ease post-acquisition integration by eliminating inevitable “us versus them” feelings.

Provide the “whole product”to fully meet a customer’s needs.

Understand and visualize real communication paths within an organization.

 Extend the shelf life of conferences with an online network of attendees.

 Share knowledge with user-desired “demand pull” technologies such as RSS.

Pull together the “all-star team” ideal for this customer.

Differentiate the service with the brand of “you.”

Different people use different services for different purposes. For example, college kids connect at Facebook; post college 20-somethings find dates on Friendster or Xanga, to name only two of many services. The self-expressive types emote at LiveJournal. The career-minded build online reputations at LinkedIn.

Even video games now have social networking features. Sony unveiled its new online social network for the PlayStation3 console at the Game Developers Conference in March. Games connected with social nets are one way Sony hopes to grow its market. Nintendo’s Wii has already followed Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Xbox 360 by adding online social functions as well.

IBM’s recent launch of Lotus Notes with social networking features for business addresses the growth of the medium within the business segments.

Given this history and data would one conclude that the current growth of the social networking medium is just a fad or is it a significant evolutionary development of the social web?

What say you?

{ 1 comment }

Paul Ruppert at Mobile Point View October 19, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Spot on. Consider that today, the world’s teenagers are more effectively and efficiently connected through soclal techno-graphic services such as SMS, IM, web, combined with social networking services such as Myspace, twitter and Facebook, than any executive who uses email and an in/out box.

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