While researching what to do with all those Twitter shares I bought*, I came across this interesting article in the New Yorker (pronounced NuYoikah) about how relatively little impact digital goods and services (i.e. apps, email, social media, games, storage, etc.) have on GDP.
Which makes sense when you think about it; the way the online world works means that, to quote the article's author, James Surowiecki; "free has been more the rule online than the exception". Twitter, Google, Facebook, Snapchat et al charge nowt while consumers happily do their best impression of the Cookie Monster omnomnom-ing their way through free data and information.
Even taking into account that GDP is not a perfect measurement of a nation's economic well-being it seems that a model may well need to be developed to better capture the impact the digital economy is having.
For further reading I thought this memo from Dr. Michael Mandel gave a good overview of the subject and some useful figures.
*= Seriously, guys, if any of you bought those, sell them before the most popular hashtag on Twitter is #BurstTechBubble2.0 (see Forbes article for reasons why).