Saturday, November 11, 2006


¿Quién blogue?

Who blogs? Who reads blogs? According to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project published in July, 8% of Internet users in the United States write blogs, and 39% of us read blogs. I'd like to take some of the points from the Pew survey and relate them to my own blogging. (Go here for the full report.)

While many well-publicized blogs focus on politics, the most popular topic among bloggers is their life and experiences. The Pew Internet Project blogger survey finds that the American blogosphere is dominated by those who use their blogs as personal journals. Most bloggers do not think of what they do as journalism.
That's not surprising to me, from what I see, what I read, and what I hear about from others. While this blog is often political, its content is eclectic overall. My life and experiences aren't a central point, and I generally don't comment about private things. And yet I do talk about where I hike, about whither I travel, about rememberances of things past. I very much hope that what I write is interesting enough to others — at least most of the time — that they'll want to read it. And so it's not a "personal journal". But I certainly don't consider it to be "journalism".

The most distinguishing characteristic of bloggers is their youth. More than half (54%) of bloggers are under the age of 30. Like the internet population in general, however, bloggers are evenly divided between men and women, and more than half live in the suburbs. Another third live in urban areas and a scant 13% live in rural regions.
Let's see: I'm in the 30% who fall in the 30-to-49-year-old range (but almost in the 14% who fall into the next). And, yes, among the more than half who're suburbanites. I also fit these areas:
  • white (60% of the bloggers)
  • blog under my own name (46%)
  • often include links to original sources (35%)
  • often spend extra time verifying facts (35%)
  • often quote other people/media directly (15%)
  • often post corrections (11%)
  • blog about many topics (64%)
  • have one blog (53%)
  • post every day or two (25%)
  • spend 3 to 9 hours/week blogging (25%)
Maybe the part I find the most surprising about the percentages in the list above is that "quote sources directly" and "post corrections" items have such low percentages overall. For the former, I wonder whether it's that many bloggers don't know how to use <blockquote> to set the quotations off nicely. For the latter, I think there's a "once it's out there, it's out there" approach.

And here's an interesting table from the survey, with a column added for my answers:

Please tell me if this is a reason you personally blog, or not:Major reasonMinor reasonNot a reasonMe
To express yourself creatively522523Major
To document your personal experiences or share them with others502624Minor
To stay in touch with friends and family372240No
To share practical knowledge or skills with others343035Major
To motivate other people to action293238Major
To entertain people283339Minor
To store resources or information that is important to you282152No
To influence the way other people think272449Major
To network or to meet new people163450No
To make money7885No

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