Internet and blogs - quo vadis? ~ traffic-exchanges-explained

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Internet and blogs - quo vadis?

The recent rise in social media and social networking through the Internet has interesting repercussions, not all of which are positive, I believe. Let me give you an example of current research which makes me, a simple webmaster and search engine optimizer, feel like a fly trying to scratch its way from the surface to the core of the Internet world - sorry, wrong perspective as we are all being told the Internet does not have a core of center.
I would deny such a statement when I look at the increasing spread of pervasive technologies with companies such as g00gle which, with its myraid email, blogging, search, news services etc. is trying to make itself the center - or one center, of the Internet - and making a damn good job of it if I may say so.
The Internet playing field is no longer level, it is very much tipped to the side of those who have the BIG money - like everything else in life. Basically, it is at present difficult to estimate what is really going on in the Internet and I see it reflecting equally the cycles of the REAL economy. Let me give you a small example.

I just discovered a company which I shall not name. This company can give you any data you want from blogs - it has indexed the full content of some 20 million blogs and is filtering and analysing the content with astounding success in terms of predictions. Blogs, basically, are an expression of individual opinion and with 20 million of them around this opinion covers a lot of topics. Blogs are equally a way of influencing and representing people. So Company X strips off the html and looks at the content, let us say of all blogs about movies. There are a lot.
Then using software which can identify what one would call positive sentiment - simple language parsing I assume - it can actually produce data from these 20 million blogs which gives a fair indication of what people are saying about a particular movie. This info can actually predict what the popularity of a particular movie will be in one week's time and has a success rate of some 86%.
Such is the current state of data mining from a blog like this one, amplified 20 million times. Now, without being paranoid, I can understand why we are all encouraged to blog, why we are given free tools to do so. The result is a billion dollar industry which is predicting successfully the future in the way I describe. What level of sophistication can such technology achieve? How ethical is such work? Are we busy creating monsters that are going to destroy us? I assume what applies to movies, as in the example I give, can also apply to cars, food, fashion - you name it.

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