29 September 2006

We are not alone.

Recently, a 50 metre insect invaded Germany. Or so it seemed.

The fuss turned out to be nothing more than a 1mm insect, squashed between the scanning plates of a satellite mapping service. But within hours, millions of “earth explorers” around the globe were talking, blogging and sharing this amusing occurence with each other. Fact.



All images Copyright Google.

As funny as this story is, a more serious and useful point can be taken up. If a large and obscure community can generate this much net chatter, this quickly. – are there others out there?

Information suggest there are plenty. Wikipedia lists a community of over 500,000 “earth explorers” that has formed through common interest in satellite mapping tools: Yahoo Maps, Google Maps and Google Earth.

Value being placed on companies that generate and manage communities is astounding. Skype sold to E-Bay for a couple of hundred billion. MySpace was recently valued at around $15 billion – both based predominantly on a massive active user base.

Everyone knows the Internet has the ability to cross borders and break down demographic boundaries. More recent signs indicate that the real Internet dollar lies in the ability to reach and mobilise increasingly large and fragmented communities.

Look closely. They’re everywhere.