The Internet we each see every day is an infinitesimally tiny sliver of the whole—the parts we have curated for ourselves, the parts our network of friends and family sends to us, and the sites that we have made parts of our routines.
But beyond this micro-level editing, there are also macro forces at work: The Internet largely exists for and is created by the people who are on it. The map above gives a rough idea of who those people are—or, at least, where they are.
The map, created as part of the Information Geographies project at the Oxford Internet Institute, has two layers of information: the absolute size of the online population by country (rendered in geographical space) and the percent of the overall population that represents (rendered by color). Thus, Canada, with a relatively small number of people takes up little space, but is colored dark red, because more than 80 percent of people are online. China, by contrast, is huge, with more than half a billion people online, but relatively lightly shaded, since more than half the population is not online. Lightly colored countries that have large populations, such as China, India, and Indonesia, are where the Internet will grow the most in the years ahead. (The data come from the World Bank's 2011 report, which defines Internet users as "people with access to the worldwide network.")