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January 3, 2005

Pew: Blog readership is up and so is the number of bloggers.

Topics: National News

Instapundit reported on the "EXPLOSIVE GROWTH IN THE BLOGOSPHERE" yesterday and mentions that   Jeff Jarvis notes a study by the Pew Internet Trust showing truly astounding growth in both blogs and -- even more explosively -- in blog readers.  Subsequently Powerline discussed Instapundit's post in their article entitled "Measuring the Blogosphere," and elaborated more fully on the Pew report with:

According to the Pew survey, around 120 million American adults "use the internet." Of that number, 7%, or 8 million people, say they have set up blogs. That seems like a very high number to me.

In Pew's survey, 27% of internet users said they read blogs, and 9% said they read political blogs. That would be nearly 11 million political blog readers, which seems high to me, based on what I know of our traffic and other sites' traffic. Four percent said they read political blogs "regularly." If I understand the numbers correctly, that means there are around 4.8 million self-described "regular" readers of political blogs--again, a higher number than I would expect, based on reported traffic.

On the other hand, 62% of internet users say they still aren't clear on what a blog is. So the bottom line is, there is plenty of room left to grow.

But just how much growth are we talking about here, who are the readers, and is there more to the story?

Regarding the growth mentioned by Instapundit and Powerline, the growth is truly remarkable. Pew reports that Blog readership shot up 58% in 2004, and that 6 million Americans get news and information fed to them through RSS aggregators. However as Powerline mentioned there are still 62% of online Americans that do not know what a blog is.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project began asking about blog creation in the spring
of 2002.
Pew reports that in June of that year, 3% of internet users said they had created a blog or web diary that others could read. By the beginning of 2004, the figure had grown to 5% of
internet users. Pew's survey in late November showed that the number grew to 7%, which
represents more than 8 million people. Pew found that Blog creators are more likely to be:

• 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

But the growth that all have mentioned is represented by the report that 27% of internet users say they read blogs which as mentioned above is a 58% jump from the 17% who told Pew that they were blog readers in February. This means that by the end of 2004 32 million Americans were blog readers. Much of the attention to blogs focused on those that covered the recent political campaign and the media, and at least some of the overall growth in blog readership is attributable to political blogs. Some 9% of internet users said they read political blogs "frequently" or "sometimes" during the campaign.

Who are the Blog readers?
Pew reports that Blog readers are somewhat more of a mainstream group than bloggers themselves. Like bloggers, blog readers are more likely to be young, male, well educated, internet veterans. 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 connections.

This means that the number of blog readers is large and is growing significantly, they are 27% of internet users or about 32 million people, and that number represents about a 58% increase in 9 months. Dan Rather will not be very happy about this news, nor will a certain reporter in Minneapolis, MN.

Posted by Hyscience at January 3, 2005 8:22 AM

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