Information Growing Exponentially

Exponential GrowthWhy Info Exponential? Because information is growing faster right now than it ever has in history.

Much of it is coming from so called “end users” like you and me. IDC estimates 70% will come from individual creation by 2010. Personally, I create a data wake, or digital footprint of about 10 gigabytes a day — including all my emails, digital photos, TV DVR recordings, cell phone usage, Internet use and “click stream”, even pictures of me by airport surveillance cameras. That can add up. How fast? This counter below shows how much information I’ve created directly or indirectly since the beginning of the year:

But this is just me. Consider the wider population and their contribution to the "digital shadow." What if you add all of them up? IDC calculated that in 2007 the digital shadow was about 281 exabytes or 281 billion gigabytes. This counter shows the current results:

Would you like to calculate your digital shadow? Check out the personal digital footprint calculator at EMC's website here.

But this growth is not just incremental, it's accelerating. There is a group of people who Gartner Research calls "Generation Virtual." Unlike previous generations, who are usually defined by age, Generation V, regardless of:

gender, social demographic or geography ... demonstrated achievement, accomplishments and an increasing preference for the use of digital media channels to discover information, build knowledge and share insights.

This generation is growing, and changing. My own use, consumption, and generation of information has changed, even over the last few years.

2003I recall a research project conducted at the University of California, Berkeley and sponsored by EMC Corporation -- just five years ago -- that concluded the following:

  • The amount of new information stored on paper, film, optical and magnetic media reached about five exabytes - or 5 million terabytes - in 2002, compared to about half that in 1999.
  • Some 92 percent of new information is stored on magnetic media, primarily hard drives.
  • New information flowing electronically on radio, television and the Internet in 2002 totaled nearly 18 exabytes.
  • The phone accounts for the largest percentage of information flow, with e-mail placing second.
  • While original information on paper continues to grow, most comes in the form of office documents and mail - not books, newspapers and journals.
  • Worldwide production of books increased by 2 percent in the last year.
  • Production of newspapers in the last year decreased by 2 percent.
  • The United States produces 35 percent of all print material, 40 percent of the images and more than half of the digitally stored material.
  • Peer-to-peer file sharing has exploded, and MP3 music files and digital video accounted for 70 percent of the files on the hard disks of users who participate in online file exchanges.
  • Globally, the average Internet user spends 11.5 hours online per month, but the average Internet user in the United States spends more than twice that amount.

Remember, this information is 5 years old!

This blog intends to cover subjects that address the phenomenon of exponentially explosive information growth, and EMC's leadership role in addressing it.

Welcome aboard, and fasten your seat belt low and tight across your lap.

BillPetro.com