Commentary: Youth bulge

By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, UPI Editor at Large  |  Jan. 3, 2012 at 6:19 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- With more than 50 percent of the world's population under age 30, humanity is getting younger and less experienced. E-mail is already passe. Some universities have stopped distributing e-mail accounts. The social gamers have taken center stage.

Facebook now tops Google+. E-readers surpass book readers. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world (after China and India).

Now at 93 percent, almost all marketers use social media for business. Eighty percent of companies use Facebook for recruiting. Kindergarten children learn on iPads, not chalk boards.

One-in-five couples meets on line. For gays, it's three-in-five. One-in-five divorces is blamed on Facebook. Fifty percent of cellphone data traffic in Britain is for Facebook, which now adds 200 members million a year, the same number that use it every 24 hours.

YouTube is the world's second largest search engine. Twenty-four hours of video are uploaded every minute, with several million views per day. More than half of them are under 20 in the United States.

It is the biggest shift since the industrial revolution. To reach 50 million users, it took radio 38 years; TV, 13 years; and the Internet four years.

If the now almost 4 million pages long Wikipedia were a book, it would take an estimated 200 years to read it. It is also in 270 languages for a total of 19 million articles. Encyclopedia Britannica, by comparison, carries 85,000 articles for a total of 55 million words.

The Internet has more than 2 billion users worldwide -- out of a world population of 7 billion people. There are also some 4 billion people with cell phones -- from the north and south poles to the equator.

The Top 5 social media tools of 2011 as described online:

5. -- a "news exchange" startup from Stockholm, Sweden, that advertises, "already one of the most talked about social media tools thanks to its robust analytics system and easy-to-use interface."

4, -- "a personalized recommendations engine that helps you discover new and exciting experiences based on your budget and interests. Integrates with Facebook to bring all your social preferences together. Niche recommendations portal is what Google+ is aiming to achieve on a wider scale."

3. -- "YouTube has been ramping up its creative tools and the animation tools located at are but one example. GoAnimate allows you to make animated videos in less than 10 minutes."

2. -- "helps you make free apps for the iPhone. Seriously cool."

1. -- self-described as "the most useful tool of 2011, schedules content found on line and adding into your Twitter or Facebook stream. It then publishes the Tweets at regular intervals without flooding your followers. Pure genius!"

Jonathan Paul Ive, Apple's senior vice president of Industrial Design was awarded a British knighthood in the New Year Honors list. The famed designer behind the iPod and iPhone is also the brains behind many of Apple's products.

London-born, Ive leads what is arguably the world's best design team, and which already earned him a CBE -- Order of the British Empire -- in 2006.

Facebook is the global 900-pound gorilla of social media networks. It reaches 55 percent of the world's global audience, accounting for roughly 75 percent of time spent on social networking sites. That's one in every seven minutes spent online all over the world (comScore's 10/11 data indicate).

YouTube is holding its No. 2 position -- as social media and second largest search engine.

Cognoscenti describe LinkedIn as "a job-search paradise."

Twitter and its 140 characters per serving is where one most turns to for news as it happens. The most shared events of the past year were the killing of Osama bin Laden May 2 -- 3,400 tweets per second -- and the U.S. East Coast earthquake Aug. 13.

Among gazillion electronic helpers, Fandango is free. It quickly finds movies playing within the hour in your area. It also purchases the tickets without leaving the app.

In a world of more than half a million iPhone apps and more than 250,000 Android apps, it's hard to figure out the most useful.

Uber expert Jason Hiner concedes mobile apps have become an embarrassment of riches for both categories. His picks are all "third-party apps that can help you be more productive, streamline regular activities, reduce the number of gadgets in your life and take advantage of the top benefits that mobile computing has to offer."

Hiner's first pick is "Dropbox" -- "a great cloud service that automatically syncs a folder of files between multiple computers (Windows, Mac or Linux) … extends Dropbox to the iPhone and includes a built-in reader within the app for PDFs, image files and Microsoft office files."

If you're still with Hiner at this point, you can go on to "Evernote," his No. 2 pick, followed by "Due" and "Tripit."

Hiner is editor in chief of TechRepublic, the digital division of CBS, where he analyzes "the hottest trends in business and technology, and looks at how they are transforming the ways people work in the 21st century.

He takes pride in" filtering out all the noise and finding the most important innovations and explaining why they matter."

From Twitter feed to Google+ feed, Hiner is everywhere. In 2011, he went on a strictly vegan diet, dropped 25 pounds and was surprised to learn how good normal could feel.

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