Monday, December 1, 2014

Visualizing the Internet in Real-Time

The internet has changed almost everything about almost everything.

A bold claim? Perhaps. But think about the mission statements of some of the best-known entities on the web today:

  • Wikipedia, a massive (free!) online encyclopedia "dedicated to expanding access to the sum of human knowledge."
  • Amazon, the digital shopping mecca, exists "to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online."
  • Facebook, that social media behemoth, has ambitions "to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." 
  • Google, the king of search (in the Western world, at least) intends "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." 
And, (with the exception of Wikipedia), these are companies, looking to make a profit on the information--or access to information--that they provide, channel, control, and shape.

On the internet, facts are (generally) free. Information flows--channeled, perhaps--but flows in an unrelenting stream.

When I start to really reflect on this, I start to wonder. I wonder how much information travels the internet each day? And what kind of information?

Text, photos, other images, video, data, data, data...

How much?

And what kind?

And how do I use this information?

And how do others use the information I am providing online?

I came across this resource via Zite the other day:

Click the image to open the interactive version (via

Interesting, isn't it? Does this help you re-evaluate your own internet use?

How are you benefitting from this constant stream of data?

How are you contributing to it?

How are others using the information you add to this rushing stream?


  1. That's really interesting information. After I looked at the website, I quite surprised. I never think that the number of data will be this quick. This can show that many people tend to use social media apps more and more. However, this made me have questions. If the numbers in the website really keep changing as fast as the number in real time, is this mean there must be some program that keeps watching and counting people while they are online all the time? What the website will get from doing it? And do the numbers in the website be the real information?

    1. Hi Fong,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment! Great questions--and I don't have the answers, unfortunately. My suspicion is that the numbers increase based on some sort of algorithm to illustrate the growth of data at current rates. In other words, I am guessing it's an estimate; while I'm sure there are programs that can (and probably do) catalog the data-usage metrics for all of these organizations, I'm guessing this site isn't really synthesizing the results from all of these into the viewable result. But it's still interesting, isn't it?