The Live Web is, well, very much alive

Blogging continues to grow, but the growth has slowed over the last year. The aggregate number of posts from all blogs is beginning to slow, too. These facts are according to Dave Sifry’s latest “State of the Live Web” report from Technorati, and it’s filled with fascinating stuff. Most notable is the title of the report — expanding from the “State of the Blogosphere,” which has been Dave’s traditional, twice-annual report — to the “State of the Live Web.” This is a good move, I think, because it helps re-position Technorati.

The Static Web is what Google searches. The Live Web is what Technorati searches. Fascinating.

The blogosphere is very much a “live” organism, so it belongs in the “Live Web.” And I like this term far, far better than the VC-generated “Web 2.0.”

Technorati continues to grow well beyond its roots at the leading blog search engine; increasingly, we are the main aggregation point for all forms of social media on the Web, including blogs, of course, but also video, photos, audio such as podcasts and much more.

What makes this possible is the rise in the use of tags across all forms of social media and the increasing implementation of tags by the publishing platforms supporting each form of media. Increasingly, tags have become a lingua franca of Live Web, helping to categorize social media while also indicating where people’s attention might be at any given moment. But because each form of media is published from unique platforms with their own established communities, the audience found itself hopping from platform to platform to get a sense of what might be hot at any given moment. Which is why our social media aggregation service — made manifest on our tagged media pages — is growing at a torrid pace.

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There’s an important tidbit for mainstream media observers as well: the number of blogs in Sifry’s “Top 100” most popular sites rose substantially during the period of this measurement (4th Qtr, 2006). Technorati views the popularity of blogs through inbound links, so it’s really a measure of authority.

During Q3 2006 there were only 12 blogs in the Top 100 most popular sites.

In Q4, however, there were 22 blogs on the list — further evidence of the continuing maturation of the Blogosphere. Blogs continue to become more and more viable news and information outlets. For instance, information not shown in our data but revealed in our own user testing in Q1 2007 indicates that the audience is less and less likely to distinguish a blog from, say, — for a growing base of users, these are all sites for news, information, entertainment, gossip, etc. and not a “blog” or a “MSM site”.

Here are some of the facts, thanks to Doc Searls:

70 million weblogs
About 120,000 new weblogs each day, or…
1.4 new blogs every second
3000-7000 new splogs (fake, or spam blogs) created every day
Peak of 11,000 splogs per day last December (see here)
1.5 million posts per day, or…
17 posts per second
Growing from 35 to 75 million blogs took 320 days
Japanese the #1 blogging language at 37%
English second at 33%
Chinese third at 8%
Italian fourth at 3%
Farsi a newcomer in the top 10 at 1%
English the most even in postings around-the-clock
Tracking 230 million posts with tags or categories
35% of all February 2007 posts used tags
2.5 million blogs used at least one tagged post in February

Podcasting comes of age (or not)

In September of 2004, Doc Searls noted 526 “finds” in a Google search for the word “podcasting.” The creation of Dave Winer’s was just beginning to find traction with geeks back then, but, oh my, how times have changed.

A current search of the word on Google reveals 38 million finds. Not bad for just a couple of years.

But here’s something that really made me sit up and take notice. Friday night’s episode of the CBS drama NUMB3RS contained an important reference to podcasting. The bad guy was one of those religious survivalists who was on the run and communicated with his flock by, you guessed it, podcasting. I was just amazed, and I imagined people in living rooms around the country shaking their heads and saying, “Martha, what did he say? What the hell is ‘podcasting?'”

Good news, right? Well…

I spent some time in a web demonstration last week with the good folks at Ingeniux looking at their new podcast management tool. It’s pretty nice and should be in the CMS of any station serious about podcasting. Their business development guy, David Hillis, told me that only about 20% of podcasts are actually downloaded for use in a player. That means the term is basically interchangeable with on-demand streaming, and that’s not what it was originally intended to be.

And so it goes…