It’s hard to wrap your mind around the Internet, and you probably shouldn’t try. It’s not a network, it’s not a collection of computers, and it’s not a hive mind – it’s all of that. And more.
Today Cool Websites and Apps is looking at five realtime maps that help you grasp just how quickly information flows across the net. You’ll see people collaborating, while others wage wars. You’ll see people sharing thoughts, sharing photos, and even just watching videos. At the end of it you’ll appreciate just a little bit more how interconnected we all are, and the staggering pace at which it happens.
The Internet is happening; let’s watch.
Wikipedia Recent Changes Map: Watch Where Edits Are Happening
Wikipedia – a seemingly complete compendium of human knowledge, compiled by volunteers, that’s more-or-less accurate. If that doesn’t blow your mind, you’re dead inside.
Or maybe you’ve just never stopped to think about how truly massive the effort here is. This map can help change that, by showing you all the edits as they happen – and where the people editing happen to be.
When you feel disconnected from the world open this site and watch it. See all of these people put in effort to make Wikipedia better, with no hope of compensation. Maybe click through and see what kind of changes they made. And remember: we can all do amazing things when we work at it.
There are many ways to track Wikipedia edits in real time, but for some reason this is my favorite.
Note that not all editors are human: plenty of bots edit Wikipedia too. But the fact that people take the time to make these bots is just as fascinating.
Mapstigram: See Where Photos Are Taken, When They’re Taken
Say what you will about Instagram – and people have – but this service is used by millions of people to share images. Part of the appeal is how quickly our images are shared: just a couple of taps and a moment is shared with the world. People all over do this, as a glance at Mapstigram will show you.
The diversity of images, and comments, is amazing. There’s a whole lot of Internet being made out there, every day, and most of it isn’t ever seen by anyone.
Remember: you can use Instagram on your desktop, if you don’t have a phone handy. And you could look into the most followed people on Instagram if you’re wondering who is worth following on the platform.
TweetPing: Watch The Tweets Roll In
Twitter: at this point, you either love it or you’re not really sure how to use it. Either way, you have to respect the sheer volume of information that flows across this site. TweetPing demonstrates how staggeringly quickly all that information comes in, by showing you a realtime map of tweets. Don’t expect to read anything.
Again, it’s really crazy to think of how much information is being sent over the web, constantly. So many, in fact, that a similar service that only tracks tweets featuring the f-bomb also sees a steady flow.
Fortiguard Threat Map: Watch DDoS Attacks as They Happen
It’s not all collaboration and communication out there: some people are on the offensive. Our next maps shows you DDoS attacks, happening in real time. You’ll where the offending and offending parties are – just be thankful the target isn’t your server.
It’s staggering to see how many of these attacks are happening at any given moment. It’s regrettable, sure, but it’s a good reminder of just how human the Internet is: our disputes have long since leaked onto it. The Internet is, without a trace of irony, serious business.
YouTube Trends Map: See Which Videos Are Trending Where
Tell me you haven’t watched any YouTube videos today and I’ll slap your face, because you’re lying. Actually, I take that slap back: you were probably just busy, and I really need to stop slapping people for no reason.
In any case, pretty much everyone checks out YouTube at least somewhat regularly, but have you ever wondered the extent to which regional tastes in videos vary? YouTuber offers a trends map of the United States for just this reason.
You’ll see the most-viewed videos in cities around the nation. Check back regularly – this is updated regularly. You just might discover future viral videos before they spread to your city.
The Internet Is Happening – What Are You Creating?
All over the web people are finding different ways to reach out and collaborate. What’s your favorite place to watch this…and to participate? Let’s talk about all this, and so much more, in the comments below. I’m looking forward to it.