Technorati says blogging is mainstream, we think the numbers indicate otherwise.
Blog search engine and ad network Technorati released its 5th annual State of the Blogosphere report and the numbers are quite interesting. Technorati says its findings indicate that blogging is now mainstream. We're not so sure. Although reading blogs is becoming increasingly mainstream, is writing them?
Popularity of Blogging
In 2004, the first year Technorati issued a State of the Blogosphere report, the company said it was tracking 4 million blogs. By October of 2005 that number had risen to 19.6 million and between 2% and 8% of new blogs created each day were judged to be fake or spam blogs. In April of 2007 that number was up to 70 million blogs that the company had effectively indexed and today the number is up to to 133 million total blogs indexed since the company started indexing blogs. So the number nearly doubled in the last year.
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.
Just for context, 1.6 million people in the US have defaulted on their mortgages last year. In 2005 there were 1.6 million people around the world who could speak Esperanto. 1.6 million people went to the Minnesota State Fair last year.
Is blogging mainstream? Globally, fewer people are posting to their blogs each week than go to the Minnesota State Fair or speak Esperanto. Maybe the impact of blogging on media is comparable to the economic impact of an equivalent number of people defaulting on their mortgages, but that would be a pretty drastic statement to make.
Trying to blog (as 130 million+ people have in the past 6 years) may be somewhat mainstream, but actually blogging does not seem to be so yet.
Demographically - Is This Representative?
What's the stereotype of a blogger in mainstream media? They (we) are underemployed, marginally educated loners with tiny rabid audiences. How do the results of Technorati's survey of bloggers work out relative to that? Add disproportionately well-off and you'd hit the nail on the head.
Only 56% of bloggers in the US report that they have a full time job. 74% of them are college graduates and 51% have an annual household income of over $75,000. We're not sure how that works, but the old trope of living in mom and dad's basement doesn't seem an entirely unrealistic explanation.
The average number of monthly unique visitors reported by these bloggers? In the US it's only 18,000. That means 600 people per day. 600 people reading your thoughts each day is pretty fabulous for the vast majority of people on the planet, but as media goes it's not very mainstream. Especially if there are only a million and a half people doing it.
Blogging Appears to Be Slowing Down
This year's report finds that there are on average 900,000 blog posts created every 24 hours. In last year's report that number was 1.5 million and in 2006 it was 1.3 million. 2005's report from Technorati didn't include this number and 2004's report put it at 400,000 posts per day.
2004: 400,000 blog posts per day.
2006: 1.3 million blog posts per day
2007: 1.5 million blog posts per day
2008: 900,000 blog posts per day
Technorati says it has culled a large number of spam blogs out of its index this year, but it's focused extensively on spam blogs every year. The evidence seems fairly clear - blogging is slowing down.
Is Any of This Something to Be Ashamed of?
No! The fact that publishing is opening up to millions more people around the world is a beautiful thing. The fact that many of them report being well-to-do and underemployed at the same time is something to take into consideration but not a repudiation of the medium. The fact that only 1.5 million blogs around the world are updated as often as once a week does indicate that none of this has really stuck with large numbers of people, however.
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 to offering truncated public religious testimonials on a site like Gospelr (Twitter for Christians) - there are a whole lot of people already microblogging, if you will.
Our boss, RWW Founding Editor Richard MacManus, contributed this quote to the Technorati report: "The future of blogs will have arrived when you check your favorite blog for sports news in the morning, instead of your local paper." That's a whole different matter, though, than the writing of blogs becoming mainstream. Blogging may become centralized, profesionalized and increasingly scarce - just like other forms of media have, perhaps to a lesser degree.
Those Are Our Thoughts, What Are Yours?
The Technorati State of the Blogosphere is an incredible service and the data the company comes up with is very much appreciated. We hope you'll take a look at it and share some of your thoughts.
Our analysis above is centered almost entirely on the US portion of the numbers, as well. We'd love to read some thoughts from our international readers about the differences in numbers between US bloggers and those in Europe and Asia. African and Latin American bloggers and blog readers - we'd love to know how the lay of the land looks in your neck of the woods relative to these numbers as well.
We love blogs and we love blogging. Even if we don't believe that blog writing is mainstream yet, or maybe that it ever will be, we appreciate the opportunity to look at this cultural force in a quantitative way.