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Blogs now have a world of influence

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If you chose two words that people hear daily in May 2006 that they never heard five years ago, the words might be "iPod" and "blog."

We all know about Apple's iPod. It has revolutionized the music business, becoming not just a way to listen to music, but also a fashion statement.

Then there's the humble blog (short hand for Web log). Blogs have been with us much longer than iPods, but have developed in the past few years into a cultural force. Like the iPod, having your own blog is also a status symbol.

As it happens, blogs are showing up faster than ants at a summer picnic. There are some 37 million blogs in the world, with a new blog created every second, according to a report by David Sifry, founder of Technorati, a website that tracks blogs and blog use (www. sifry.com/alerts/archives/000433.html). Since Mr. Sifry released his report May 1, the number of blogs tracked by the site has climbed to 39.6 million as of this past weekend.

But wait, there's more....

The "blogosphere" (according to Wikipedia, the "collective term encompassing all Web logs or blogs; blogs as a community; blogs as a social network") doubles in size every six months. It is now 60 times bigger than it was three years ago, with 1.2 million new postings each day - about 50,000 per hour.

Even more interesting, English is not the most popular language of the blogosphere - it's Japanese. Thirty-seven percent of blogs are written in Japanese, 31 percent in English, and China is rapidly rising in third place with15 percent.

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