Carl “The Numbers Guy” Bialik at The Wall Street Journal asks how many blogs, how many blog posts, how many blog readers, and why this is even important.
First, let’s step back and consider why we’re counting blogs at all. You no longer see articles that attempt to demonstrate the legitimacy of the Web by stating how many Web pages there are. But blogs are still in the process of entering mainstream consciousness, so numerical credibility is important; bloggers themselves cite the statistics a lot.
I tend to believe the statistics generated by actual blogging activity, whether posting or visiting. Fortunately, posting is relatively easy to measure. Technorati and BlogPulse can count active blogs and ignore the rest. That’s certainly more useful than Blogger or MSN Spaces claiming that 3.7 gazillion bloggers sign up each picosecond and then never post again after “this is a test.”
Unfortunately, counting blog visits is much more difficult. As much as I like to watch my traffic meters, I recognize they are more useful for measuring trends, not absolute numbers. Earlier this year, Michael J. Totten wrote a great article on measuring blog traffic. Rather than attempt to summarize, I’ll refer you there. Do not miss the comments.
What’s it all mean? Probably not a lot. After all, you’re already a blog reader. You like blogs enough to spend the most limited resource you have: your time.
We don’t need someone else telling us whether blogs are mainstream. It doesn’t matter.