/ 4 August 2006

What bloggers do, and why they do it

The rise in popularity of blogging has inspired new writers and creators to share their voices with the world, Pewsearch.org reported recently.

A national phone survey of bloggers in the United States found that most are describing their personal experiences to a relatively small audience of readers.

Only a small proportion is focusing on politics, the media, the government or technology.

Blogs, the survey found, are as individual as the people who keep them, but most bloggers are primarily interested in creative, personal expression — documenting individual experiences, sharing practical knowledge or just keeping in touch with friends and family, Pewsearch.org wrote.

The blog population in the US has grown to about 12-million adults — 8% of adult internet users — and the number of blog readers has jumped to 57-million adults, or 39% of the online population.

Much blogging attention has been focused on the small number of high-traffic, A-list bloggers. By asking a wide range of bloggers what they do and why they do it, the survey found a different kind of story about the power of the internet to encourage creativity and community among all kinds of web users.

Some key findings:

  • 54% of bloggers say that they have never published their writing or media creations anywhere else; 44% say they have published elsewhere;
  • 54% of bloggers are under the age of 30;
  • women and men have statistical parity in the blogosphere, with women representing 46% of bloggers and men 54%;
  • 76% of bloggers say a reason they blog is to document their personal experiences and share them with others;
  • 64% of bloggers say a reason they blog is to share practical knowledge or skills with others; and
  • when asked to choose one main subject, 37% of bloggers say that the primary topic of their blog is “my life and experiences”.

Other topics ran distantly behind: 11% of bloggers focus on politics and the government; 7% on entertainment; 6% on sports; 5% on general news and current events; 5% on business; 4% on technology; and 2% on religion, spirituality or faith.

Smaller groups focus on a specific hobby, a health problem or illness, or other topics.

Bloggers are avid consumers and creators of online content, said Pewsearch.org. They are also heavy users of the internet in general. Forty-four percent of bloggers have taken material they find online — songs, text, or images — and remixed it into their own artistic creation. By comparison, just 18% of all internet users have done this.

A whopping 77% of bloggers have shared something online that they created themselves, such as their own art work, photos, stories, or videos. By comparison, 26% of internet users have done this.