The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released a report on the state of blogging.
By the end of 2004 blogs had established themselves as a key part of online culture. Two surveys by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in November established new contours for the blogosphere: 8 million American adults say they have created blogs; blog readership jumped 58% in 2004 and now stands at 27% of internet users; 5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators or XML readers to get the news and other information delivered from blogs and content-rich Web sites as it is posted online; and 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs. Still, 62% of internet users do not know what a blog is.
8,000,000 blogs. If you had asked a month ago (before I started this blog), even I could have said I had created a blog and had posted comments. Some time ago, I was curious about blogs so I created a Blogger blog and posted a couple of experimental comments. I suspect quite a few other people did the same when they downloaded Google’s toolbar. However, even a lot of people doing something once doesn’t a movement make. Attempting to extrapolate from “at least once in a lifetime” events is risky and likely to result in statistical nonsense.
58% readership jump. Only a 58% readership jump in 2004?! In other words, blog readership did not even double during a year when blogs played a major role in Rathergate/memogate, Christmas in Cambodia, and even Dean’s early success? Doesn’t seem likely.
62% of internet users do not know what a blog is. This statistic is believable. Even at the high-tech company where I work, many people don’t know what a blog is (though that statistic is rapidly changing as the president/COO has recently started an internal blog).
The internet is filled with excitement like the mid ’90’s, when people were creating their own web pages. The difference is, blog content is dynamic. Although many have tried blogging and read blogs, the potential for growth is amazing.