I wrote the Wisdom of the language about 6 and a half years ago. I think it’s time for me to give an update about what I expect to happen in the next 6 and a half years.
As usual in my posts, I will try to focus on one thing at a time… so I will first of all try to pick out what will be the most important change between now and then.
Today, the largest website in the world (by the number of registered users, i.e. facebook.com) follows the Wisdom of the Language. Of the top 10 websites in the world, I wouldn’t be surprised if more than half of them do. So the Wisdom of the Language has already started becoming the way online publishing “works”, and it’s also a trend that has been increasing over the past decade, and I expect it will continue.
In the next decade, I feel there will be a new trend that is just now on the cusp of beginning. In the early days of the web, websites and blogs were very personal, and there were only a very few sites that could be considered “mainstream”. In contrast, “mainstream media” used to be what has now become “retard media” — websites that are focused on brands / brand names. In the coming years, as the Wisdom of the Language continues to expand, it will become more and more mainstream.
How will we notice this — what will change?
Whereas today there are at most about a dozen websites used by… let’s say 10% of the world’s population, this number will increase. I predict that in the next years — maybe 6 years, maybe 7 years, but I will commit to saying at the latest within the next 10 years, the number of websites with a membership of registered users numbering 10% of the world’s population will increase — I predict by at least 100 times, maybe even 1000 times.
If you do the math, then you will find that this means that on average every person will be a member (i.e., a registered user) of something like 100 websites. You might call this “Norbert’s number” (sort of like “Dunbar’s number”, only it isn’t the number of people a person is connected to, but rather it is the number of websites at which a person is a registered user). Unlike Dunbar’s number, I feel this number need not have anything to do with the mental capacity of a person. Instead, it is mainly based on social norms. Today, the social norm is that if we want to meet “everyone”, then we need to use the (or a) public website. Note that I added “a”, and I bet you didn’t see that as a problem. Increasingly, more and more websites will become “public” this way… and pretty soon it will be just as natural to be a member of many such websites, just as it was natural in the past to be a member of several social clubs, read several books and magazines, watch several TV channels, own several pairs of shoes, and so on.