I like to think of myself as an influential blogger and by some measures I am. To remind myself that the qualifier some measures definitely applies to me, I keep this New Yorker cartoon by Alex Gregory on hand. It helps to keep me from putting too much stock in my own PR.
When Mr. Gregory drew that cartoon and The New Yorker ran it in September 2005, there were 70 million blogs in the world* and I really didn't know what a blog was. The blog indexer Technorati issues an annual report on the state of the Blogosphere and by 2009, the latest figures they have, there were 133,000,000 million blogs indexed**.
All statistics relating to blogs and blogging are hard to pin down because they deal with such an anarchic subject. Blog activity and blog traffic numbers are generally reported by bloggers themselves and even if you take that into account, there are a whole lot of blogs out there. Technorati paints a really interesting profile of what bloggers looked like as of 2009.
- 77% of Internet users read blogs according to Universal McCann
- Two-thirds of Bloggers are male (c’mon ladies, start Blogging!)
- More than half are married and more than half are parents
- 60% are 18-44
- 75% have college degrees and 40% have graduate degrees
- One in four has an annual household income of $100K+
- Around half of Bloggers are working on at least their second blog
- 68% have been blogging for two years or more
- 86% have been blogging for at least a year
But of course I find statistics like this interesting, I'm part of the cohort in question. What's interesting too is a glimpse into why people blog.
- 72% of respondents are classified as Hobbyists, meaning that they report no income related to blogging
- Of those who have monetized their blogging to at least some extent:
- 54% are Part-Timers
- 32% are Self-Employed Bloggers
- 14% are Corporate Bloggers (defined as someone who draws a salary as a blogger for a company)
While I don't support myself from this blog's ad revenue, I derive all of my income from it and the projects having a blog leads to. That puts me in the 32% category, self-employed bloggers. There are more of us than I thought and that's a good thing.
Out of all of those statistics though, the most interesting and most important one is the first stat I listed, 77% of Internet users read blogs. When you stop to consider that web sites like The Huffington Post and Apartment Therapy are blogs with monthly traffic numbers in the millions, that 77% figure isn't very surprising.
Blogs, like newspapers, magazines or any other media form come in all shapes sizes and levels of influence. The question "Are blogs important?" gets asked all the time and it's as difficult a question to answer as "Are newspapers important?" The answer depends on which blogs, and which newspapers you're talking about. There's a pretty clear difference between The New York Times and The Dayton Daily News. According to those Technorati statistics, only 15% of Bloggers spend 10 or more hours each week blogging. That means there are a whole lot of hobbyist bloggers out there. Not that there's a thing wrong with being a hobbyist blogger but you can't lump a blog that documents the comings and going of a young family to an audience made up of that young family's grandparents with The Huffington Post.
Everybody who writes a blog thinks his or her blog is important and influential. Including me. But numbers don't lie and they don't grow in relation to wishes and dreams. So are blogs important? Yes some are.
If the question is turned to "Is blogging important?" the answer's a resounding yes and that importance only grows every day. As a social phenomenon its importance can't be overstated. With that said, there's a world of difference between blogging as a whole and an individual blog.
Old media isn't going anywhere and it's only a matter of time until "new" media gets absorbed by it. But blogging itself is changing the landscape. It's a lot of fun to be something of a pioneer (at least within my niche) and to have found myself a player in my industry (even if it's a bit part). But what's most amazing to me is that I can derive an income from it.
If you ask me how influential Kitchen and Residential Design is I wouldn't know how to answer that question. If you ask me how influential blogging is in the kitchen and bath industry, I'd say that it's a growing influence. But that's my niche and my industry. All niches and all industries will answer that question differently.
So if the question is Are blogs as important as bloggers think they are? My answer would be Ask a better question.
All of the participating bloggers in today's Blog Off will be listed here and updated as the day goes on. Give 'em all a look-see.
|Blogger||Blog Post Link|
|Veronika Miller||@modenus||Modenus Community|
|Paul Anater||@paul_anater||Kitchen and Residential Design|
|Bob Borson||@bobborson||Life of an Architect|
|Nick Lovelady||@cupboards||Cupboards Kitchen and Bath|
|Sean Lintow, Sr.||@SLSconstruction||SLS-Construction.com|
|Hollie Holcombe||@GreenRascal||Green Rascal Design|
|Saxon Henry||@saxonhenry||Roaming by Design|
|Betsy De Maio||@egrgirl||Egrgirl's Blog|