Browsing the archives for the blogosphere tag.

Blogs – “hitting the mainstream” or the new “old media”?

Culture, Media / journalism, US culture

In my previous post I wrote about the under-30s who are supposed to be the “digital natives”:

And yet they seem to be very much adapting still. After all, in 2006 and 2007 just a third of 18-29 year olds listed the Internet as a main source of news and information. It’s only this year that the big push to 50%+ came. And that’s America; I assume developments in Europe are lagging.

As a footnote of sorts, the world of blogging in Europe, in any case, definitely seems to lag behind its US counterpart, Technorati’s study of the State of the Blogosphere 2008 showed last September. The most conspicuous difference: both European and Asian bloggers are overwhelmingly male (73%); in the US, women have almost caught up, and men only make up 57% of bloggers.

Image used under CC license from Flickr user minifig

Image used under CC license from Flickr user minifig

In Europe and especially Asia, bloggers are also more likely to be youngsters, or students specifically, whose income logically tends to be below-average. Although previous editions of the report don’t give data by continent, I’m guessing this is a question of development over time. As in: older and wealthier people in the US have already gotten in on blogging more – presumably also involving a higher share of professional and corporate bloggers. Unsurprisingly, then, US bloggers also tend to invest more money in their product.

Nevertheless, the Technorati report asserted that “All studies agree [..] that blogs are a global phenomenon that has hit the mainstream” and that “Blogs are Pervasive and Part of Our Daily Lives”. Go, digital adaptives: 63% of bloggers is 25-44 years old.

Marshall Kirkpatrick at RWW, however, panned these conclusions. For one, according to Technorati’s own data, the number of blog posts written each day has been fairly stable for a couple of years or is even slowing down, so what’s that about “hitting” the mainstream? Secondly, well:

Although reading blogs is becoming increasingly mainstream, is writing them? [..]

Of those 133 million blogs that Technorati has indexed – guess how many of them have been posted to in the last 7 days? 1.1% of them, or 1.5 million total. [..] Globally, fewer people are posting to their blogs each week than go to the Minnesota State Fair or speak Esperanto.

Kirkpatrick’s description of the future of blogging, in fact, make blogs seem like the new “old media”, at least in America. “Blogging may become centralized, profesionalized and increasingly scarce – just like other forms of media have, perhaps to a lesser degree.” Digital natives, meanwhile, are going elsewhere to air their thoughts:

Reading blogs is becoming increasingly mainstream and the line between a blog and another kind of website is growing increasingly blurred. Writing full length blog posts even as regularly as once a week is hard, though. We expect that microblogging may become more popular than blogging, if it hasn’t already! From updating your status message on Facebook or MySpace, to posting 140 word updates on lunch or politics on Twitter [..] – there are a whole lot of people already microblogging, if you will.

No Comments