20 April 2007

A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers

Who are bloggers? Why do they blog?

If you are a blogger, like me, you probably have a personal reason to blog. Whatever be that reason, many people, both outside and within the blogging community, wonder why bloggers blog. What is their motivation? What is their gain? And, as many bloggers are reticent in providing their personal profile, some using a pseudonym to remain in anonymity (I’m guilty here!), many people wonder who these bloggers are.

While surfing the internet in order to find answers to these questions, I came across an interesting research done a year ago in the United States by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist, and Susannah Fox, Associate Director, who conducted this research, present their report, ‘Bloggers: A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers’ (that’s right, this post’s title is taken from their report) for all of us to read.

Their findings are quite interesting and I’ve listed the main points below. If you are a blogger, see if you fit in there somewhere. Do keep in mind that the research was conducted in the United States and may not reflect bloggers globally. You can also access the PDF file of the report here.

Here are the key points from that research:

Blogging is bringing new voices to the online world.

The blogging population is young, evenly split between women and men, and racially diverse.

Broadband is the norm among bloggers, as is going online several times each day.

Bloggers are avid online news readers, particularly political news.

Bloggers prefer balanced sources of news.

Newspapers, television, and radio are also part of bloggers’ daily news diet.

Bloggers are highly engaged with tech-based social interaction.

For most, blogging is a hobby, not an activity that consumes their lives.

Blogging is usually the first foray into authorship; bloggers blog to express themselves creatively and share personal experiences.

Most bloggers do not confine themselves to one topic.

Personal experiences are the most popular topic, but politics, entertainment, and sports are also frequently discussed.

Personal experiences provide the most inspiration for bloggers.

Half of bloggers keep one blog and most do not share authorship with anyone else.

More than half of bloggers use a pseudonym.

Only a third of bloggers think their blog is a form of journalism.

Most bloggers post infrequently.

Seven in ten bloggers post when inspiration strikes, not on a set schedule.

The typical blogger spends about two hours per week on their blog.

Most bloggers have blogged three years or less.

Most blog from home.

LiveJournal tops the list of blogging sites in this survey.

Text dominates most blogs, but one-third of bloggers post audio files.

Blogging for pay is rare.

Most expect to be blogging a year from now.

Most bloggers post material for themselves, but one-third blog mostly to engage their audience.

Blogs gain attention, if only at a personal level.

Half of bloggers believe their audience is mostly people they know.

Blog writers are enthusiastic blog readers.

Nearly nine in ten bloggers allow comments to be posted on their blog.

Four in ten bloggers have a blogroll and most keep the list to under 50 blogs.

Few offer an RSS feed, possibly because many bloggers are not aware of the technology.

[Citation: ‘Bloggers: A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers’. Pew Internet & American Life Project, July 19, 2006. Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist and Susannah Fox, Associate Director.]

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