Latest blog trends from Pew Internet

It’s stats time again regarding blogging.

Reuters is reporting new findings released today by the Pew Internet and American Life Project on Americans’ activities with blogs that indicate a number of interesting things.

For starters, Reuters says, many people see blogs as alternatives to the mainstream media. Most bloggers do so as a hobby rather than as a vocation, with 77 percent of them saying they post to express themselves creatively rather than to get noticed or paid.

Some specifics [with my comments in square brackets]:

  • 37 percent of bloggers cited their life and experiences as their primary topic, while politics and government came in second at 11 percent.
  • About 8 percent of US internet users (12 million adults) keep a blog according to the report. Some 39 percent of US web users (57 million adults) read them, the researchers said. [I wonder what the difference is between “internet users” and “web users”?]
  • US bloggers are evenly divided between men and women, and are more racially diverse than the web population in general: 40 percent are non-white.
  • About 34 percent see their blogging as a form of journalism. [The rise of the “citizen journalist.”]
  • Just over a third of bloggers said they engage often in journalistic activities such as verifying facts and linking to source material.
  • More than 40 percent of bloggers said they never quote sources or other media directly.
  • 11 percent said they post corrections.
  • 61 percent said they rarely or never get permission to use copyrighted material. [My emphasis. That’s not good and, if a trend, pretty alarming.]
  • 55 percent of bloggers write under a pseudonym. [That’s a much larger number than I imagined.]
  • Nearly 90 percent invite comments from other readers. [Clearly, engaging with visitors is an important aspect of blogging to most people.]
  • Four out of five blogs use text, while 72 percent display photos and audio links play on 30 percent of blogs. [I think we will see more multimedia aspects in blogs as more people discover what you can easily do these days in this regard with every blog platform.]
  • 82 percent of bloggers think they will still be blogging in a year. 3 percent say they have quit. [That doesn’t seem to match Technorati’s numbers which say that only 55 percent are still posting after six months. Or is that semantic hair-splitting?]

I can’t find any information about this research on the Pew website. Perhaps they haven’t posted it yet. [Edit @ 15:17] The report is now on the Pew site.

What would be great, too, is to see similar research for Europe, in particular the larger countries like the UK, France and Germany. Does anyone know of any recent stats?

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. John Mims, APR

    Great info, and we didn’t have to pay $750 to find out how they did the study! ;-)

    The racial diversity of the blogosphere really surprised me. I wonder why minorities in the US are more likely by percentage to blog than whites. As your typical white, ango-saxon male, I don’t know the reason, but I’d be curious if you, Neville, or any other readers out there have ideas.

  2. neville

    Heh! Nice one about the methodology, John! That’s referred to in the Reuters story and detailed in the Pew press release.

    Something very interesting in that press release –

    The Pew Internet & American Life Project has created an online version of the Blogger Callback telephone survey and invites participation from the general public. The resulting answers will not be a representative sample, but the online survey will give observers a chance to see the questions in context and to comment on some specific aspects of blogging. The survey is online at the following address:

    Re racial diversity of the blogosphere, that isn’t something I’ve ever really thought about. The breakdown surprises me too. You hear about economic and geographical diversity a lot (geographical especially relevent here in Europe) but not racial. I’d be interested, too, in some ideas on that.

  3. anu

    Talking about your last point – 82% of bloggers say they will continue, vs Technorati’s 55%…

    It’s not really a valid comparison as Technorati’s number relates to the % of new blogs that are continued after 6 months, whereas Pew’s number relates to current bloggers’ intention to continue blogging.

  4. E L S U A ~ A KM Blog

    Storytelling, not Journalism, Spurs Most Weblogs…

    Through a colleague of mine, who actually weblogged about this particular piece of news over at his Intranet weblog, I bumped into this specific news article that I thought would be worth while mentioning over here: Storytelling, not Journalism, Spurs…

  5. Only the real is unreal

    stats of blogging in America…

    Reuters reports that storytelling, and not journalism, is generating the most readers.. which I find is very interesting.
    I am also crazy about the personal and creative aspect of blogging, which is one that the people in the survey are highlighting …

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