We live in exponential times! There were roughly one thousand devices connected to the Internet in 1984. Eight years later (1992) there were over a million. In 2009 this number was over a billion.

It took 38 years for 50 million people to have a radio. This was an amazing way to share information without having to read a newpaper. Then came TV which did it in 13 years. Over 50 million iPods sold in 3 years and Facebook took 2 years for their first 50 million users. Google’s “response” to Facebook is Google+ and they hit 50 million users in only 88 days.

Today if you want to learn about breaking news, you don’t turn on the radio or TV, you check out Twitter!

Where do you get the latest news from?

26 Comments
  1. Such numbers really make us consider where technology is headed. With the internet reaching a billion connectors, it makes us ponder what the next big thing could be. It’s interesting how self-reliant we’ve become on the internet.

  2. It’s a wonderful thing. It use to be easy to keep people in the dark, but now even our less fortunate members of society have access to a plethora of information at their fingertips. I hope this trend continues.

    • Yes, if you think about it back in the time when there were no other ways to keep track of things, people actually used whatever they could to write on! I mean, back in the time when they started to seriously study the human anatomy they had to write everything by hand, no printing no anything!

      Now I’m amazed to see we no longer need papers at all, we can keep a lot data and keep record of everything in our own computer and on the cloud! The news now fly in matter of seconds! It’s amazing!

  3. One of the best things that the internet has brought us is information, knowledge and a whole lot more right at our fingertips. Everything we need to know is one google away.

  4. It is amazing how technology has changed human kind and communication throughout the years. I bet people 100 years ago would think you were insane, if you were to tell them you could send a message to thousands of people all across the world in a matter of seconds. It will be interesting to see, what the next 50 years will bring us.

    • I honestly feel amazed to see how things have changed, I was born back in the 80’s. I grew up being a 90’s kid, when I first got my computer at the age of 15 I couldn’t help but to feel so happy and excited! Little did I know that computer would open up so many doors for me! I truly can’t imagine my life without the internet. I really can’t, without it I’d not have the chance to make ends meet at the end of each month!

  5. It’s really crazy how technology has evolved and how quickly things go viral these days. The Internet truly is a wonderful thing, and it’s exciting to see what the next big milestone is or what we can expect next.

  6. I think a big contributor in the exponential rise of internet users is the proliferation of mobile devices that can connect wirelessly to the internet. It’s much cheaper these days to get a basic smartphone than getting a computer. Public places, even in some poor parts of the world, are starting to offer public WiFi hotspots to connect people to the web.

  7. Wow! Is google+ that popular? I thought it was an absolute flop. I find your claim of 50 million users in 88 days hard to believe. I do believe you though. We live in exponential times. So glad I am hear to see this. 🙂

    • It’s easy if you have the smarts and the resources to do it. I’d like to think that it still would require a considerable effort to achieve having 50 million users. Luck might have some influence but I’d guess it’s mostly hardwork and wise decisions. That said, Google’s been playing it wise with its involvement in mobile stuff which is probably a big reason why it’s still really big compared to Yahoo and some other internet groups of its generation.

    • My understanding is that Google+ did have a huge boost in numbers early on in the game, but the retention of those users was absolutely dismal. I personally opened a g+ account during the closed beta period and found it to be interesting. However, the major hurdle was trying to get all my friends and family over to it when they were already comfortable with Facebook.

      I’ve since neglected g+, despite the account remaining open.

      • I was curious about this too. I remember the hoopla over Google+ when it launched. It’s been a little over two years, and Mashable recently took a retrospective look at the Google+ and what has happened since that launch:

        http://mashable.com/2013/06/28/google-plus-2-years/

        Mashable notes that there are now more than 500 million Google+ users and that 300 million of them are believed to be active users. I was surprised, as I did not know G+ become so big. That certainly counts as exponential growth!

  8. Wow. Amazing article with some even more amazing facts and numbers.

    It really shows how far we’ve come in so few years. And the pace we’re going at is only going to become even faster.

    We really live in amazing times.

  9. This article is definitely eye opening as it shows just how far technology has come in such a short amount of time. Now, whenever something happens or we need information, it’s all right there at the push of a button. You can only imagine what will be invented in the future.

  10. Technology is a force to be reckoned with. It keeps on growing, inventing new high demand products and services that we continue to go after. The numbers don’t surprise me anymore and in fact, I expect it to keep on adding, doubling, tripling and quadrupling up significantly over the next couple of years.

  11. Not all people trust the internet for news so having access to other forms of media like the radio and television for news is still important, a lot of elderly people still use the radio and television over the internet and l have heard people say if it’s not reported on the television news then they do not believe it.

  12. What are we going to do if there is a solar flare and electricity is out for prolonged periods of time? Everything is revolving around computers, servers, the web etc. all of which require large amounts of electricity. Doesn’t anyone think that we are just a little too technologically dependent? I am very surprised that we have not had a major issue in the past few years.

    • I agree. We don’t hear much about the possible consequences of solar flares such as you outlined. The full implications of extended electrical power outages are rarely discussed in major media.

      The comparatively shorter and less widespread electric power outages such as we see in the aftermath of hurricanes and flood show us just how vulnerable we are, and how deeply dependent we are on the information and communications technology which is all driven by electrical power.

      For that matter even for the individual who suddenly is without Internet access may have difficulty coping psychologically. So there are many levels of dependency upon the technology which is not as stable as we would like to think it is.

      • Thanks for the reply, margaret. I imagine that we will have a solar flare within the next couple decades that knocks out power for a while. With so many jobs and businesses reliant on the Internet, it will be interesting to see what we do in response. There’s a reason why the media doesn’t describe the implications of a power outage. It is because the damage could be devastating not only to the economy but to human life. We need heat, light, refrigeration and so much more that is dependent on electricity.

  13. I get my breaking news from the television still. Twitter tends to be flooded with opinions on breaking news, at least for my profile. I prefer to get my news less biased, or at least less obviously biased. Still, the constant increase in technology is a major boost to global connectivity. I would think that it is also easier to get 50 million people to join a site now than before due to the sheer number of people both online, and currently living.

    • Yes, Twitter can be very freewheeling, and that’s part of the appeal. With trending topics, people want to know what other people think of events as they unfold. This can make it difficult to have a precise understanding of such events.

      I find the whole process of witnessing a new event unfold on social media in general and Twitter in particular quite fascinating. And ironically Twitter has had quite an influence on mainstream media as they are at times obliged to report on what is happening on Twitter, especially when public figures use it as their medium for expression and response.

      Twitter itself has had exponential growth. I still remember back in 2009 when I first started using it, and it was huge then. But now more influential than ever, as hashtags and “talking in hashtags” is a phenomena all to itself.

      • I don’t care for witnessing news events break on social media. It is way too stunted and staggered in terms of how the news breaks and all the comments in between the actual news. I’d rather have the news read to me in a straightforward matter on the television or radio. Or I’ll just go to a news site and read the news there. You make a good point about mainstream media picking up on twitter feeds. There are lots of tweets scrolling along the tickers on the bottoms of various television stations’ sports and news shows.

  14. The speed of information travel certainly causes trends to catch on faster though, it should be of no surprise that each medium of communication catches on and gets noticed faster. If the internet were to have a successor, I’m sure it would hit 50 million users in just under a year. The faster information travels, the faster progress happens.

  15. I get the latest news from Yahoo! homepage, yes, I know it might not be the best source of news, but is the source of news I’m used to. They seem to be offering a really throughout coverage of the Ebola situation in the US. The most interesting part for me are the comments tho, the comment section is the most interesting part for me, no matter what kind of article it is, I always scroll down to read the comments 🙂

  16. Recalling these achievements, more data is going to be created year by year as more products are created for processing and managing data. The last time I tried to describe how data is changing my daily life, I had to learn about big data. There is no other way for me but to get used to working with data.

  17. What we are really looking forward to is the faster cheap internet promised by tech giants. When that time comes and almost everyone in the world is able to access the net, there’ll be some sort of mini-revolution in as far as dissemination of information is concerned. No more newspapers. Everyone can start their online radio station . . . there’ll be numerous free online courses, kind of makes it possible for anyone to be anything they want to be.

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