Visualizing the Internet

I came across an interesting site by the BBC that they put together as part of series of their TV Superpower programs that began running last fall. The information presented brings up a lot of thoughts and I hope it will thrill and amuse you as much as it did for me.

There is a list of the 26 Internet-related billionaires, including eight from Japan and China. What is depressing to me is, apart from the Stanford professor that introduced the Google guys and Chuck Schwab, everyone else is younger than I. Not that I have any hope of making it into that club anytime soon, but still, a guy can dream, right?

Some of the previous occupations listed by the BBC are pretty amusing: do you know which billionaire started out as a Pizza Hut manager? Anyone know who was a bar tender? How many of the billionaires had some relationship to Stanford? (That is going to be harder to figure out, but my guess is at least a third.)

Also on the BBC site are other data maps that are interesting, such as a display showing the top 100 Web sites by traffic that you can sort and drill down and explore further. And there is another map of the world showing you the growth of Internet usage over the past ten years.

For those of us that are Americans, we tend to forget that the first two words of the Web are world wide, and there are many people speaking many different languages other than English that are using the Internet and creating their own content. China now has more Internet users that we have total population, and it is growing quickly. There are companies that generate tons of traffic overseas that we don’t usually hear about here in the States, such as the social networking site Orkut and news site UOL, both of which are big in Brazil but not elsewhere. The charts and graphics created by the BBC help to illustrate this.

Kudos to the BBC for a job well done.

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