The Wealth of Nations

Open Culture has been up and running for less than a month, and we’ve been monitoring traffic for about two weeks, thanks to Google Analytics. So far, here’s what we’ve seen: Roughly 70% of readers come from within the US, leaving 30% to an international audience, which is itself very diverse. The readership represents almost 40 countries (and every continent, except Antartica), and it includes Brazil and Colombia in South America; France, Poland, Bulguria and Greece in Europe; Morocco Egypt, and Qatar in Africa and the Middle East; and then India, Bangladesh, China and Japan in Asia. Australia is part of the picture, too. Click here to see the full list.

The point of mentioning this is simply to illustrate with hard facts just how thoroughly the internet makes the world flat and borderless, and quickly lets information flow to wherever it wants to go. In some sense, we shouldn’t be surprised. For years, we’ve heard about how the Net is globalizing information. However, did we really realize just how complete the globalizing effects have been? Tracked in real time, the flow of information is breathtaking. A lecture presented in an American classroom gets turned into a podcast and, within days, finds listeners in Vietnam first, then Ireland, and next Egypt. Instantly, the information reaches its audience, provided that — and this is a big caveat — users know where to find the information they want and need.

Even in the era of Google, search engines still have a long way to go before they push the limits of artificial intelligence and truly understand and answer our questions. Google is good, a big improvement upon what we had, but it still doesn’t make the discovery of quality information a seamless proposition. Until it does, there’s still plenty of room for people to stay in the mix and organize slices of the web for you. So, for now, Open Culture will keep bringing smart cultural and educational media & resources your way. Thanks for visiting and come back often.


Thomas Friedman is someone who has written a great deal about technology (particularly the internet) and globalization. The last half of this short, home-brewed interview gets succinctly at some of what we’re talking about here.

I’d also strongly recommend a serious/substantive 23-minute interview with Friedman, conducted by Nayan Chanda of YaleGlobal Online. He talks in interesting ways about who will succeed in the new flat world.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.