There are a lot of blogs out there— many, many more than we hear about, and they are much more diverse than the fraction of blogs that receive publicity. This is a finding of a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, an initiative of the Pew Research Center devoted to exploring the social impact of the Internet on life (www.pewinternet.org). The majority of bloggers, according to the study, write about their personal experiences and are previously unpublished.
“Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet’s New Storytellers” is one of the first major studies of bloggers using a nationally representative sample. The report, written by the project’s Amanda Lenhart and Susannah Fox and released in July, employed a series of telephone surveys. They note that 84 percent of bloggers consider their pursuit a “hobby” or “something I do, but not something I spend a lot of time on,” and 52 percent say that they do it for themselves rather than an audience. The most popular theme is “my life and experience,” with politics a very distant second.
How many are blogging and reading? Bloggers total about 12 million adult Americans, or 8 percent of all Internet users, says the study. Fifty-seven million Americans read blogs, a significant increase from 32 million at the end of 2004. Bloggers are split evenly between males and females, are generally young (54 percent are under the age of 30) and are more racially diverse than the overall population of those clicked on to the Internet (60 percent are white, although white people make up 74 percent of all Internet users).