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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Blogs 2004 — A retrospective...

Toby Elkin from Mediapost on blogs

Blogs surely entered the mainstream in 2004, a trend spurred in part by presidential politics, according to a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The Pew study notes that 27 percent of Internet users say they read blogs in November, versus 17 percent in a survey conducted in February. News events, high-profile court cases, and major catastrophes like the tsunami in South Asia also drive awareness of blogging and blog readership.

The study finds that while blog readership increased, the percentage of people online who create blogs grew only 7 percent in November, up just two points from 5 percent in February. The Pew study notes that bloggers are predominately young, male, and affluent, 70 percent have broadband connections at home, and 82 percent have been online for at least six years. No big surprises there.

Interestingly, the study found that while blogging has entered the popular culture, only 38 percent of Web users know what a blog is. Merriam-Webster, the dictionary people, named "blog" the word of the year for 2004. The dictionary defines a blog, short for Weblog, as a "Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer." The Pew study refers to blogs as online diaries.

Pew reports that 7 percent of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the Web say they have created a blog - that's 8 million people. Blog readership increased 58 percent in 2004, or 27 percent of Web surfers, according to the study.

The study also finds that 5 percent of Internet users accessed their favorite blogs via RSS readers (Really Simple Syndication) that gather news and information from blogs. Finally, 12 percent of Web users have posted comments and feedback on blogs.

The survey was based on random phone interviews with 1,861 Internet users conducted from November 4 to 30. The RSS finding was based on a sample of 537 Internet users. There's a lot more data on blogs in Intelliseek's BlogPulse provides a fascinating snapshot of just what's going on in the blogosphere.

For example, among the top 10 blogs cited in 2004: BoingBoing, DailyKos, Instapundit, Drudge Report, Slashdot,, and Talking Points Memo, according to BlogPulse.

Talk about a varied lot.


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