The Pew Center’s Internet and American Life Project just released one of their more or less well-formed studies (one problem: they often use telephone surveys and those surveys have inherent difficulties in that they don’t often reach cell phone only people or people who are not at home much etc) – this one on the state of blogs. The paper is only in PDF format, but is worth a read.

The abstract says:

By the end of 2004 blogs had established themselves as a key part of online culture. Two surveys by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in November established new contours for the blogosphere: 8 million American adults say they have created blogs; blog readership jumped 58% in 2004 and now stands at 27% of internet users; 5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators or XML readers to get the news and other information delivered from blogs and content-rich Web sites as it is posted online; and 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs. Still, 62% of internet users do not know what a blog is.

Who are bloggers (according to Pew):

  • Men: 57% are male
  • Young: 48% are under age 30
  • Broadband users: 70% have broadband at home
  • Internet veterans: 82% have been online for six years or more
  • Relatively well off financially: 42% live in households earning over $50,000
  • Well educated: 39% have college or graduate degrees

Growth in blog-readers far outpaced the growth in blogs themselves. “Still, since [Pew's] survey in February, there has been greater-than-average growth in blog readership among women, minorities, those between the ages of 30 and 49, and those with home dialup connection.” There is a nice chart that is difficult to extract from the PDF that shows the reader and blogger trends from July 02 to November 04.

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