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December 18, 2006

Out of Africa


Look at the map above.

What do you see?

I see a graphic illustration of the location of my last 500 readers worldwide about five minutes ago.

What don't you see?

Anyone from Africa.

That's because with the exception of South Africa every now and then, Africans don't seem to frequent my virtual premises.

The continent is more or less off the grid when it comes to the web.

Look for that to change mightily over the next decade, so much so that I believe it will be the single most significant geopolitical change on the planet between now and then.

Check back here about this time in 2016 and see if I was right or not.

December 18, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Actually, South Africa is on the grid as are higher populated cities elsewhere on the continent. They must just have better things to do with their time than hang out with the rest of the world. I myself am thrilled to know that India will now be a source of weapons grade plutonium. Now what was that phrase? Oh yeah, silent night, holy night. Merry _________(fill in the blank holiday). Interesting observation, all the world's major religions celebrate some form of the solstice except the one that starts with "I" and ends with "m". Just doesn't seem right somehow...

Posted by: NoName | Dec 19, 2006 5:44:36 PM

Africa has no Internet traffic because Africa has no electricity...I saw an amazing demonstration given by larry page and sergey brin of google at TED a few years back where they showed all the traffic streaming into pre-IPO but nonethelss astoundingly busy google from around the globe in real time...the display was a rotating earth with spikes sticking up from every place any traffic originated. very tall colored spikes sticking up from san francisco, paris, london, sidney, etc. No spikes from 99% of Africa. Sergey said, "basically where there is electricity, there is Internet connectivity." Hard to hit the Internet when you're off grid and living in poverty. So, it's not just that African's don't like leather-covered iPod speakers ;-)

ps: yo, larry and sergey, please release that cool traffic visualization tool into open source so we can have it for all our little sites.

Posted by: stephen bove | Dec 18, 2006 10:51:08 PM


That's an interesting distribution. It reminds me of a map I saw once of Internet usage on the Korean Peninsula - it was strange to see the north so dark.

What tool did you use to capture it?


Posted by: Dave Donohue | Dec 18, 2006 7:20:33 PM

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