Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

Re: Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers

Postby admin » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:58 am

Part 4. The Practice of Blogging

Most bloggers post infrequently.

The reality of a blogger’s publishing schedule is probably familiar to anyone who juggles a career, a personal life, and a favorite hobby: bloggers cram in their updates when and where they can, and when inspiration strikes.

Most bloggers post infrequently.

While many of the most popular blogs on the internet post material frequently, even multiple times per day, the majority of bloggers do not post nearly so often. [9] One-quarter of bloggers post every day or two, and about one in seven bloggers (15%) post three to five days a week. Twenty-eight percent of bloggers say they post new material to their blog every few weeks. About one in five bloggers (19%) post every few weeks or less often.

In our sample, 13% post daily or more frequently. Bloggers who have had a personal website in the past are more likely to post material daily to their blog, as are bloggers who report higher than average levels of blog traffic.

Seven in ten bloggers post when inspiration strikes, not on a set schedule.

Most bloggers say they post to their blog when something inspires them. Fully 70% of bloggers only post when inspiration strikes, while 22% of bloggers usually update on a regular schedule. A lucky 4% of bloggers say that both options are true: Inspiration strikes on schedule. Another 4% say that neither mode describes their posting habits, or they were not sure.

The typical blogger spends about two hours per week on their blog.

On average, bloggers do not spend a great deal of time on their blogs. Six in ten bloggers (59%) report spending one to two hours a week on their blog, and another quarter spend 3 to 9 hours a week blogging. One in ten (10%) spend ten or more hours a week tending their blog. Six percent did not answer the question or did not know how many hours they spent per week. Younger bloggers, despite being more likely to keep a blog, generally spend fewer hours per week working on their blog.

Bloggers who spend the least amount of time per week on their blog tend to be the sole author of a single blog and update it mainly for their own enjoyment. Bloggers who spend the most time per week on their blogs (ten or more hours) are more likely to say that lots of bloggers link to their blog.

Most bloggers have blogged three years or less.

A suite of user-friendly blogging tools became available in the summer of 1999, and the practice of blogging achieved high levels of media attention and public awareness during the 2004 presidential campaign. Thus, is it not entirely surprising that most bloggers have been blogging for three years or less. [10]

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Blogger Callback Survey, July 2005-February 2006. Margin of error is ±7%.

Most blog from home.

Two types of location are relevant to blogging—the place where the blogger blogs from, and the space or software that hosts or enables the blog’s public expression. Eight out of ten (83%) of bloggers say that they usually blog from home, while 7% say they usually blog at work, and another 6% blog equally at home and at work. Another 3% say they usually blog from somewhere else, usually a friend or relative’s house, a library, or on-the-go with a mobile device like a cell phone or PDA.

Higher income users are more likely than other groups to say that they blog from work. Thirteen percent of those living in households with more than $75,000 annual income say they blog from work, compared with 3% of those living in households with annual incomes totaling less than $50,000.

LiveJournal tops the list of blogging sites in this survey.
In our sample of bloggers, LiveJournal was the most popular blogging site, with 13% of respondents blogging there. MySpace was next in popularity, followed by Blogger, Xanga, FrontPage, Typepad, Blogspot, Moveable Type and Squarespace. Nearly 1 in 6 (17%) bloggers say they use some other type of blogging software to host their blog, 2% say they built their own software, and 5% say they blog without using specific blogging software at all. Dialup users are most likely to name MySpace and LiveJournal as their blogging software source.

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Blogger Callback Survey,July 2005-February 2006. Margin of error is ±7%.

Some of the responses to this question illustrate the variety of definitions that people apply to blogging. Some respondents told us that they blogged on Facebook, which is generally not considered to be blog hosting software, but where links to blogs may be posted. Other respondents told us they blog at Slashdot, a large long-standing online community focused on technology issues that has been considered by some to be a massive multi-author blog.

Among the various blogging software options, there are some demographic differences among their users. LiveJournal users are more likely to be female (22% of all female bloggers in our sample used LiveJournal compared with only 7% of the males) and young – nearly one in five of our 18-29 year old bloggers used LiveJournal. Blogger had more than its share of college graduates with 13% of college-educated bloggers using Blogger and 12% using LiveJournal as compared with 4% of bloggers with college degrees who use MySpace and 2% who use Xanga. MySpace has a larger share of bloggers who have not yet continued their education past high school.

Text dominates most blogs, but one-third of bloggers post audio files.

As might be expected, writing rules the blogosphere, but bloggers also communicate by sharing a wide array of multimedia content. Most bloggers post text to their blog, in the form of essays, articles or written entries; four out of five bloggers (80%) post text to their blog, but nearly as many (72%) display photos on their blog.

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Blogger Callback Survey, July 2005-February 2006. Margin of error is ±7%.

Nearly half of all bloggers (49%) say they have posted images other than photos to their blog – items such as drawings, graphs or clip art.

"Vlog” – a shortened form of the word “videoblog,” which is a blog that features video clips

Close to a third (30%) of bloggers had posted audio files to their blog and another 15% vlogged, or posted video files to their blog. Bloggers who have more than one blog, bloggers who contribute to group blogs and bloggers who report working on their blog three or more hours a week are more likely than other bloggers to post audio and video files to their site, as well as drawings, graphs or clip art.

Blogging for pay is rare.

Even as a subset of bloggers gain prominence in the media and as traffic to blogs grows, blogging is not exactly the most lucrative of hobbies, let alone professions. Only 15% say earning money is a reason they blog and only 8% of bloggers report actual income. These bloggers are mostly older than age 50.

Selling items is the most popular way for this group of bloggers to raise money. About seven in ten bloggers who make money do so by selling things on their site. Bloggers can sell items branded with their own logo or sentiment through fulfillment sites such as or they can join something akin to the Amazon Associates program that allows individuals who recommend an item for sale on the Amazon site to receive a small payment every time someone uses the link the individual provides to purchase the recommended item.

Blog advertisements are another popular way for bloggers to earn money; about half of money-earning bloggers do so through ads. About a third of money-earning bloggers say they get cash from online “tip jars” where readers can leave donations, either through PayPal or another online payment source. Premium content, which readers must pay for, is a source of income for about one in five money-earning bloggers.

Most expect to be blogging a year from now.

Despite its relatively minor importance in the lives of most bloggers, blogging is still an important enough part of their lives that eight out of ten (82%) of bloggers think they will still be blogging a year from now. One in ten bloggers (11%) say they will not, 3% say they have already stopped, and 4% say they are not sure if they will still be blogging in a year.

Bloggers with broadband at home are more likely than those with dial-up connections to say they will continue blogging into next year. Not surprisingly, long-time bloggers are more likely than newcomers to say they will continue, as are bloggers who maintain two or more blogs. Bloggers who say they write mostly for an audience are more likely than those who write mostly for themselves to say they will still be blogging a year from now.
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Re: Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers

Postby admin » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:00 am

Part 5. Audience

Despite a blogger’s often private sense of the nature of his or her blog, the act of keeping a blog (unless password protected or otherwise locked down) is an inherently public act. Blogs are generally kept so that they may be read by others, yet the audience of a particular blog is technically nearly impossible to measure. While Web servers have traditionally collected information about who or what visits them, in this day and age of RSS feeds, many blog readers who might have been counted by server or site traffic logs are now obscured behind the single visit of an RSS feed reader’s URL or IP address.

But we do have a good idea of the size of the general blog-reading population. In February 2004, the Pew Internet Project added a question to our internet activity survey: “Do you ever read someone else’s web log or blog?” At that time, 17% of internet users said yes. Since then, the percentage of blog readers has increased to 39% of internet users, or about 57 million American adults. [11]

“RSS” – most often thought to stand for “Really Simple Syndication.” An RSS feed enables a “feed reader” or aggregator to periodically check particular spots on the Web for new content, pulling that content into one central location for easier reading.

A blogger can gain a sense of audience composition through “on-blog” or “off-blog” means. On-blog measurements include site traffic logs [12] as well as commenting and tagboarding functions where a reader of a blog can post feedback. A comment is generally a response to a specific post, whereas a tagboard is a general space for commenting on the entire blog or website. Off-blog mentions occur outside of the blog and include hearing from someone—in conversation, on the phone, via email or IM— that they read your blog. Readership may also be suggested—though not necessarily guaranteed—by the linking from one blog to another on a blogroll (or list of links to other blogs generally found in the sidebar of a blogpage).

“Blogroll” – a list of links to other blogs generally found in a blog’s sidebar [13]

Given the fact that many types of simple blogging software do not incorporate traffic statistics into their blogging packages, it is not surprising that nearly half of the bloggers in our sample (47%) say they do not know their traffic statistics. One in five bloggers (22%) say they have fewer than ten hits a day in blog traffic, and 17% say they have 10 to 99 hits on a typical day. Just 13% have more than 100 hits a day, though a handful in this group has much larger traffic levels.

Of the bloggers who do know their traffic, male bloggers in our sample are more likely to report higher average levels of traffic. The 10 highest self-reports of blog traffic were all by male bloggers. [14]

Most bloggers post material for themselves, but one-third blog mostly to engage their audience.

When asked whether they blogged for themselves or for their audience, more than half of bloggers (52%) responded that they blog for themselves. About a third (32%) of bloggers blog mostly to entertain or engage their audience, and another 14% volunteered that they blogged for both themselves and their audience equally. About one percent say that neither personal motivation nor the idea of an audience motivated them.

Many bloggers who say they blog “for themselves” truly do—these bloggers report lower numbers of daily hits than other bloggers.

Blogs gain attention, if only at a personal level.

We asked bloggers what kind of attention they had received for their blog and from whom. Most frequently, bloggers received attention from other bloggers, either through exchanges of links or discussions proceeding from postings and their responses, either via comments or on other blogs. Nearly 60% of bloggers had been noticed by other bloggers. Young bloggers (age 18-29) were most likely to say that they had received this kind of attention. About half of bloggers (52%) report that their blog has been noticed by family members. Parents of children under age 18 living at home were more likely than those without children at home to say that they had had blog recognition by a family member.

Work colleagues, coworkers and bosses were another source of comment or recognition of a blog (though whether the recognition was positive or negative was not asked), with a bit more than a third (35%) of all bloggers hearing mention of their blog from this group. Another 20% of bloggers have received attention for their blog from members of their local community.

Precious few bloggers achieve the kind of attention – very public, and perhaps nationally or internationally influential – that may come from political figures or the news media. Just 10% of bloggers have received attention from public officials, political campaigns or politicians. Nine percent of bloggers have had their blog mentioned by the news media.

In many ways it is not surprising that so few blogs have achieved major recognition politically or in the media. As Clay Shirky points out in his essay, Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality, [15] traffic to blogs builds unevenly, and those who garnered traffic early in the history of blogging for whatever reason will tend to continue to gain traffic over time, while newer blogs will have a harder time earning the same amount of traffic.

Half of bloggers believe their audience is mostly people they know.

Even in the absence of a reliable way to measure their blog traffic, about half of bloggers (49%) believe that their blog readership is mostly made up of people they personally know. Another third of bloggers (35%) believe that their readers are mostly people they have never met. About one in seven (14%) of bloggers say that their readership is a mix of personal friends, family and colleagues as well as people they have never met. Just 3% of bloggers say they do not have a clue as to who reads their blog.

Female bloggers and younger bloggers (age 18-29) are more likely than men or other age groups to say that mostly people they know personally read their blog. People whose blogs are read mostly by strangers are generally male, age 50 or older, and live in higher-income households.

Blog writers are enthusiastic blog readers.

Fully 90% of bloggers say they have read someone else’s blog, compared with 39% of all internet users who say they have done so.

Bloggers who read other people’s blogs are likely to check in at least a few times per week: 19% read someone else’s blog several times a day; 16% do so about once a day; and 16% do so three to five days per week. One in five bloggers who read other blogs say they do so every couple of days. The rest (28%) of blog-reading bloggers say they do so every few weeks or less.

Frequent updates to one’s own blog seem to beget frequent reading of others’ material. Bloggers who post new material at least once a day are the most likely group to check on other blogs on a daily basis – 61% of daily bloggers say they do so, compared with 16% of bloggers who post weekly.

Bloggers who say their blog is very important to them are more likely than other bloggers to read someone else’s blog several times per day and to post comments.

Nearly nine in ten bloggers allow comments to be posted on their blog.

Commenting functions on blogs allow readers to post text responses to specific posts that the author has written. Comments can create a discussion, a place for feedback or provide a sense of community for both the author and his readers as well as serve as a way to get a sense of the number of active readers. On most blogs, the reader clicks on the comments link below an entry to both read the comments that others have left and to leave a comment themselves via a text box. Commenting functions are found on most blogs, but not all. Fully 87% of bloggers in our sample allow comments on their blogs; only 13% do not allow them. Younger bloggers are more likely than other age groups to allow comments on their blog. Fully 94% of bloggers age 18-29 allow comments, compared with 84% of bloggers age 30-49 and 69% of bloggers age 50-64.

Eighty-two percent of bloggers say they have posted a comment to someone else’s blog. While male bloggers are more likely than female bloggers to not only check in on other blogs, but to do so several times a day, male bloggers are not significantly more likely than female bloggers to post comments. Bloggers with broadband at home are more likely than those with dial-up to say they read other blogs and are also more likely to post comments. Bloggers who are part of a multiple-author blog are no more likely than single-author bloggers to read someone else’s blog, but they are more likely to post comments (91% vs. 78%).

Four in ten bloggers have a blogroll and most keep the list to under 50 blogs.

Another way to ascertain readership is through blogrolls or friend lists, which list links to other blogs. [16] Two in five bloggers (41%) keep a blogroll on their blog, while 57% say they do not provide such a list. Bloggers who post new material daily are more likely to have a blogroll (70% vs. 30%).

Of those who have a blogroll, the largest percentage of bloggers have fewer than ten blogs on their blogroll. Nearly 43% of bloggers have fewer than 10 blogs listed on their blogroll. Another 29% say they have between 10 and 49 blogs on their link list and 18% have 50 or more links listed. Bloggers age 18 to 29 are more likely than older bloggers to have larger link lists.

A bit under half of all bloggers say their blog is listed on the blogroll of someone else. About 46% of bloggers say their blog is on someone else’s roll, 34% say their blog is not listed elsewhere. Another one in five bloggers (20%) say they do not know whether their blog appears on another blogroll or not. Younger bloggers are more likely to say that their blog is listed on someone else’s roll, as are bloggers who post material daily (78%), or who are members of multi-author blogs (57%).

Of bloggers who know that a link to their blog appears on someone else’s blogroll, the largest group – 29% – say that 10 to 49 other blogs link back to them. Another quarter (27%) say that fewer than ten others link to their blog, and 19% say that more than 50 bloggers link to their blog. Another quarter say they do not know how many others link to them.

Few offer an RSS feed, possibly because many bloggers are not aware of the technology.

Bloggers were among the pioneers of RSS feeds, streamlining the users’ experience by allowing them to interact with fresh content in one central clearinghouse instead of having to visit blog after blog. Still, RSS does not have a strong presence yet, even within the blogosphere. Only 18% of bloggers in our survey say they offered an RSS feed of their blog. Nearly 6 in 10 (59%) say they do not have an RSS feed for their blog content, and close to another quarter (23%) say they do not know if they had a feed, or did not answer the question. It is worth noting that bloggers are not behind the curve when it comes to this new technology. In a general internet-user survey conducted in May-June 2005 only 9% of internet users said they have a good idea of the meaning of the term “RSS feeds.”
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Re: Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers

Postby admin » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:05 am

Part 6. Bloggers by the Numbers

Bite-size chunks of survey data.

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Surveys. January 2006; Feb-April 2006; Nov-Dec 2005 and Feb-April 2006.

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Blogger Callback Survey, July 2005-February 2006. Margin of error is ±7%.

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Surveys. Internet user data is based on surveys conducted in January 2005, September 2005, Nov-Dec 2005, and January 2006. Blogger Callback Survey July 2005-February 2006.

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Surveys. Education data for all Americans is from Feb-April 2006; margin of error is ±2%. Employment data for all Americans is from Feb-March 2004; margin of error is ±2%. Blogger data is from the Blogger Callback Survey,July 2005-February 2006; margin of error is ±7%..
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Re: Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers

Postby admin » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:06 am


The Blogger Callback Survey, sponsored by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (PIALP), conducted telephone interviews with 233 self-identified bloggers from previous surveys conducted for PIALP. The interviews were conducted in English by Princeton Data Source, LLC, from July 5, 2005 to February 17, 2006. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ±6.7%.

The low number of respondents is a significant limitation to this study.

It is important to note some limitations to this callback survey of bloggers. First, the survey is a callback study, which means that it inherently has some bias in that not everyone that we reached in a random sample is willing to take another survey. In addition, a relatively large number of people who told us in an earlier survey that they kept a blog or online journal said in this survey that they were not currently doing this. As a result, this survey has a response rate of 71% and a relatively low “n” or number of respondents, which can make it difficult to do complex analyses of the data with a high degree of certainty. Also, because of the difficulty of finding bloggers to talk to, the survey was conducted over a long period of time, which means that the blogosphere may have changed over the period of time that we were asking our questions.

In addition, some of the question wording in the survey may have used terms to describe elements of a blog that are different from the terms that some bloggers use. For example, a blogroll is also sometimes called a friends list or a subscription list. The term “hits” used to ask bloggers about their traffic has inconsistent meaning across software packages and thus may not accurately measure traffic to a particular weblog.

Respondents who keep a blog were eligible for the callback survey.

Sample for this survey was collected from several recent PIAL general population surveys. [17] All respondents who said they kept their own blogs were eligible for this callback survey. Sample for the original surveys was drawn using standard list-assisted random digit dialing (RDD) methodology.

Interviews were conducted from July 5, 2005, to February 17, 2006. As many as 10 attempts were made to contact every sampled telephone number. Calls were staggered over times of day and days of the week to maximize the chance of making contact with potential respondents. Each household received at least one daytime call in an attempt to find someone at home.

Weighting was used to approximate the demographic characteristics of the national population.

Weighting is generally used in survey analysis to compensate for patterns of nonresponse that might bias results. The interviewed sample of all bloggers was weighted to match parameters for sex, age, education, race, Hispanic origin, and region. These parameters were defined as the weighted demographics of all self-identified bloggers from the general population surveys from which callback sample was garnered. Table 1 compares weighted and unweighted sample distributions to population parameters.

Weighting was accomplished using Sample Balancing, a special iterative sample weighting program that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables using a statistical technique called the Deming Algorithm. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the demographic characteristics of the sample closely approximate the demographic characteristics of the national population.

Additional national telephone surveys were used to capture an up-to-date estimate of the percentage of internet users who are currently blogging.

Random-digit telephone surveys conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International in two waves (November 29 to December 31, 2005, and February 15 to April 6, 2006) yielded a sample of 7,012 adults. The demographic information for internet users and bloggers listed in this report are derived from those large-scale surveys. For results based on internet users (n=4,753), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. For results based on bloggers (n=308), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 7 percentage points.

Further details about survey methodology are available in the questionnaire associated with this report, available at:
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Re: Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers

Postby admin » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:07 am


1. The overall blogging with broadband number and general population comparison are drawn from December 2005 and February-April 2006 Pew Internet telephone surveys.

2. Please note that the question wording for the February-April 2006 survey was slightly different from the wording used to gather sample for our Blogger Callback survey throughout 2004 and 2005. In the February- April survey, the question was as follows: “Do you ever create or work on your own online journal or weblog?” The previous question was “Do you ever create a weblog or blog that others can read on the Web?” Given the rapid growth in the blogosphere, we felt it important to report the most recent data.

3. Please see

4. Data for this section of the report comes from our February-April 2006 Tracking surveys. The n for bloggers is 175, and margin of error is +/- 8%. The n for internet users is 2,822 and the margin of error is +/- 2%.

5. Pew Internet & American Life Project February-April 2006 survey.

6. Pew Internet & American Life Project January-February 2006 survey.  

7. Pew Internet & American Life Project January-February 2005 survey.

8. Pew Internet & American Life Project November-December 2005 survey.

9. “Popular” here is defined based on the Technorati designation of the top 100 blogs, which measures popularity through the number of inbound links to a blog.

10. According to Technorati, a website that has monitored a large segment of the universe of blogs since March 2003, the number of blogs doubles approximately every 5 to 6 months.

11. Based on January 2006 and February-April 2006 survey data.

12. This assumes the software the blogger uses provides site traffic logs or that a secondary counting application has been installed, which is often not the case.

13. For some bloggers, a different term is used to refer to a list of links to other blogs. For example, with LiveJournal, the list of links is titled “Friends” and may appear on a separate internal page, often with biographical information about the blogger. On Xanga, the same list is called “subscriptions,” and appears on the side of the main blog page.

14. A further complication to fully understanding blog traffic--the term “hit” used in the survey question is one which can have a variety of meanings depending on the Web traffic software that a blogger uses, and does not generally represent individual unique visitors to a Web server or site.
15. Shirky, Clay (2003) Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality.

16. Though as Amanda Lenhart has suggested in an academic paper on this topic, the mere fact of a blog being listed on a blogroll does not guarantee that the blog owner doing the listing is actually reading the blog listed. See Lenhart, Amanda. (2005) Unstable Texts: An ethnographic look at how bloggers and their audience negotiate self-presentation, authenticity and norm formation. Masters Thesis, Georgetown University.

17. The survey used for callback sample were: February 2004 and 2005 Tracking Surveys; November 2004 Tracking; November Activity Tracking; January 2005 Tracking; September 2005 Tracking; the Exploratorium Survey; Nov/Dec 2005 Tracking Survey; the Spyware Survey; and PSRAI’s Demographic Tracking Survey.
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