The State of the Internet

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I just watched an interesting video published on YouTube a week ago. The video gives the state of the Internet with lots of facts, figures and illustrations. It highlights the incredible growth of the Internet and technology that we are all experiencing by providing us incredible statistics.  Here is the video.  Enjoy!

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Internet, Social Media, Social Networking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The State of the Internet

  1. Chris Mark says:

    I just finished watching the video on the State of the Internet, and I’m not sure whether to be overwhelmed, or to just shrug my shoulders and move on to something else. After several iterations of Did You Know, I am coming to be rather numbed by all of these statistics.

    Certainly, the Internet (or is the ‘internet’? I can never remember) has become ubiquitous—nearly everyone is engaged in some type of online activity these days. So, when we consider the 6 billion or so people on Earth, is it really surprising that millions of web pages are viewed every hour? Are we amazed that billions of photos are uploaded and billions of You Tube videos viewed? Actually, to me this just seems like a given considering technology’s long reach in 2010.

    I did, however, find a couple of things to be interesting. First, when the slides were presented on the timeline for social networks, how new sites seem to have peaked from 2005-2007, and how few—2—were created in 2009 and 2010. Does this signal a saturation of social networking sites? Second, I was impressed at the quantity of multimedia files served up, a point made clear yesterday by Cisco when it announced the new high speed router especially designed for serving video. Of course, it may still be years before we will see that technology.

    My main take-away from the video, quite frankly, was more of concern and mistrust rather than fascination. Consider all of those statistics, and then consider the massive volume of personal content now stored under someone else’s control other than the creator. Do we really want all of our personal content controlled in this fashion? What happens when the giant Google cloud has 100% control, and we users have no hard drives, personal servers, or external media? Perhaps that is a little Owellian, but the whole idea makes me a bit queasy.

  2. jwoodwards says:

    We are desensitized to large numbers. Therefore, as we see these huge numbers, our brains simply “shut off.” The numbers are beyond our comprehension. We stand in awe but can’t truly comprehend the magnitude of the traffic on the Internet.

    Professor Colin Camerer, behavioral economist, stated that “There is a sense that when numbers are too big or too small, the brain just shuts off.” The numbers on this video (and ones like it) are staggering.

    For example, let’s take the current US debt for a moment. President Obama recently reported that the 2009 budget deficit was 1.42 trillion dollars (

    Let’s get some perspective on this amount. A recent CNN article ( illustrated that if we stacked one trillion $1 bills one on top of the other, then they would reach about a third of the way from the Earth to the moon (i.e., 68,000 miles). However, this idea is beyond my grasp, so substituting this idea with the thought of an abstract $1 trillion doesn’t accomplish much.

    A current writer of children’s books, David Schwartz, approaches this idea from the concept of time in his book “How Much is a Million?” A million seconds is easy to understand because that is simply 11½ days ago. Now comes a small step, 32 years represents a billion seconds. What was that national debt again? One trillion. 32,000 years represents a trillion seconds! Time Magazine recently had a great article on this topic (,8599,1870699,00.html).

    I agree with Chris that the small number of new social networking sites in the last three years was quite surprising. Facebook is definitely the king at the moment, according to the numbers.

  3. Jil Wright says:

    I’ve got to agree with Chris on this one. We are so saturated with these statistical videos that they become mind-numbing and boring. I do find some of it interesting, but someone needs to come up with a different presentation style and some fresh news!

    It’s kind of like the national debt, unfortunately. Once people hear billions and billions over and over again, it becomes something that is not novelty, not surprising or unexpected. 90 zillion people could access Facebook every day and I’m not sure that would mean much more than a billion to most people. Sadly, our nation could be 90 zillion dollars in debt and people would still have no reaction, even when it’s presented visually there is little real comprehension. When you are exposed to something for so long, I suppose you are bound to become desensitized to the reality, especially when it’s difficult to grasp such huge figures in the first place.

    I, too, thought the time-line was really interesting. It seems 2002-2006 was the era of social networking/media site development. We haven’t seen many new sites, we’ve just finally been introduced to what has been camping out on the internet for years. Apparently the things we are calling “new & emerging” have been around for the past 4-8 years. What’s sitting dormant that we don’t know about at this moment?

    We are in that time where we are waiting for the next big thing. The numbers don’t surprise us, the iPad doesn’t impress us, and we’re waiting. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that augmented reality really takes off next. I believe it will really boom in the mobile world and will be incorporated into social media sites. There is my Ray Kurzweil thought of the day. LOL

  4. Kaylene says:

    I completely agree with the mind-numbing numbers mentioned in the previous posts. I had to watch the video twice just to read some of the frames. But even that is symbolic of what the Internet is really like: it is changing so fast that if you blink, you miss something.

    All the “billions” and “trillions” mentioned throughout are just mind boggling. I can’t really wrap my head around the figures, especially when I think back to my youth when something like the Internet would have been a science fiction story on “The Twilight Zone.” And we all knew those things weren’t real! So here I am, all these decades later, still in awe of such stuff.

    I am also equally in awe of the numbers of people who do without running water, decent sanitation and proper medical care but have televisions and even the Internet. I know the video doesn’t address that but it certainly is the case in some places of the world. To me it further testifies to one great truth: information is almost as essential as air! Actually, we learned that lesson after Hurricane Katrina. Sure those people trapped in New Orleans needed food and water, but they wanted something more. They wanted information about when they would be rescued, how their property and loved ones fared, what their future would be. Although the Internet was of little help to victims of Katrina, it has become a lifeline for people all over the world, which those billions mentioned in the video point to.

    But back to the video. I loved the time line. I had never paid attention to when things began, and I was surprised that some sites I thought were just a year or two old were in reality much older.

    And the most amazing thing to me is that the video is surely outdated already! In fact, anything that tries to quantify the Internet is old news before it can be typed!

  5. Donna Parker says:

    I just watched an interesting video published on YouTube a week ago. The video gives the state of the Internet with lots of facts, figures and illustrations. It highlights the incredible growth of the Internet and technology that we are all experiencing by providing us incredible statistics. Here is the video. Enjoy!
    Wow—what an interesting video. I’ve already shown State of The Internet to my classes and will post it for my online classes to view. As I played it in class, you could hear the sounds of astonishment from the students (and myself as well). Every time I viewed the video, I picked up on something new. The numbers are astonishing:

    1.73 Billion users (worldwide) in September of 2009
    90 Trillion e-mails daily in 2009 (I know this number increased because I finally got my sister to obtain an e-mail account, and she’ learning to use it. )
    90 Trillion e-mails sent in 2009 (really big number!)
    6 million pages on the Internet are being viewed PER MINUTE
    247 Billion e-mails sent daily

    …and, of course, the list goes on as you watch State of The Internet. One thing that concerns me is that the video report 81% of e-mails sent are spam. Surely, someone will figure out how to stop this rapid spread of spam. After viewing this video, there is no doubt how powerful and meaning the Internet has become to our entire global society, which leads to the question: What happens if it goes down for any length of time? I know when our network at school goes down for short periods of time, we all tend to sit around saying “I can’t do anything without the Internet.” The video is definitely proof of how our dependency on the Internet is growing. When it’s down, there is a sense that we have been cut off from the world. The state of the Internet is that it now controls the way we function.

  6. jennstyron says:

    Hi Dr. Yuen,

    Thanks for sharing this video with us. It was interesting to read the posts to this video as many saw the stats as mind-numbing. I don’t think was it mind-numbing instead, as a instructional design student I saw a lot of elements I liked as well as a number I would reconsider when creating such a video.

    I believe the graphics, the way they presented information, the multi-dimensional use of the graphics with movement, other graphics, etc. caught my interest. I thought the look, layout and design was very interesting and kept my attention. If the author would have added an overlay of audio with this presentation I believe it would have engaged users more and taken that “Did you Know?” feel away from the presentation.

    What I think was more mind-numbing than anything was the speed to which the author wanted the user to absorb this information. In addition, the text color and font size on many pages was extremely difficult to read. By the time the information got on the screen and you were able to read it the next slide was flashing. For me, this made it extremely difficult to allow my brain to comprehend the numbers the presentation was featuring and what that meant in relationship to today’s world, today’s users, etc.

    I do think these numbers need to be considered as well as the way we teach courses and disseminate information. Obviously, our world is shifting to a more online, Internet dependent environment. Without thinking of ways to stay connected with students in this environment, I’m afraid the disconnect between learning and engagement will continue to exist.

  7. It seems that I am not the only one who became desensitized by the statistics. I totally agree with some of the comments above talking about how those numbers came out and overwhelmed us and then they just stopped making any sense. I have just had the same experience. All I knew in my mind was these numbers indicated that the web is grow tremendously.

    Baring this general idea in mind, I started to ponder on something else to write on the blog critique in additional the consensus that “numbers make our brain shut off”. Indeed, numbers are just numbers, but as we start to compare what we have nowadays to ten years ago or twenty years ago, we could do nothing but to become amazed. The way that we communicate with each other and conduct our daily behaviors have been changed to a huge extent! We even do not make phone calls to greet and get connected with each other because we know what somebody is thinking about by looking into his/her SNS blogs and get informed about what’s going by the tweets sent to our cell phone.

    And then what? Do I need to change my career goal from graphic design and animation into web design just because the web is playing such an important role in our daily life? Well, that was one of my thinking. But I was also told not to do that because everyone is doing that. I think this illustrated the point from another perspective: everyone is doing something on the web. Therefore when it comes to education, it is not hard to imagine how much potential we can find out through the web-based way. However, I really did not enjoy purely web-based class according to my personal experience. What were the problems, then?

    As I see it, I think the growing of the web is truly an advantage for educators and instructional technologists. But a successful model for designing and developing online courses should be established and developed. I don’t think those growing numbers will simply help to illustrate the notion that we can move our teaching online and then rely on machines. I would rather take those numbers as opportunities and information that can help persuade some educators to step out of the comfort zone and start to make some changes.

  8. 奕嬛 says:

    有危機意識的大家,當然就不會被限制住啦,是我們掌控著電腦,而不是被電腦給牽著鼻子走呀! :)

  9. 奕嬛 says:

    有危機意識的大家,當然就不會被限制住啦,是我們掌控著電腦,而不是被電腦給牽著鼻子走呀! :)

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