By Kyle Austin
October 30th, 2009
I’ve spent some time the last few days going over the detailed findings of Technorati’s 6th annual State of the Blogosphere report which was released as a five part series last week. Although those at the leading edge of communications and technology are now more apt to talk about Facebook, micro-blogging or the death of blogging, the findings indicate that the state of the blogosphere is still strong, hugely influential and rapidly evolving.
The research was driven by a detailed, Internet survey conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associations from September 4 – 23 among 2, 828 bloggers and data that Technorati has on the 5 million blogs which have registered with it.
In addition it also conducted interviews with leaders in the blogosphere, including: Arianna Huffington, Seth Godin, Steve Rubil and Mattew Ingram and leveraged supplemental data from Lijit which tracked 2.5 million blogs within its network. All of this helps in solidifying the report as the most detailed analysis of the blogosphere, for a sixth straight year.
According to the findings, the vast majority of the blogosphere is still made up of hobbyists (72%), who post relatively frequently (71% of which post at least once a week).
As for the 28% of bloggers that are more than hobbyists?
- 15% are part-timers that blog to supplement income, but don’t consider it a full time job
- 9% are self-employed and blog for their own company or organization
- 4% blog full-time for a company or organization
These findings are intriguing, as the group of “pro” bloggers, blogging full-time, continues to rise. In addition, the numbers probably don’t adequately represent the folks that are corporate blogging for the 16% of Fortune 500 companies active in the blogosphere. They most likely have other job responsibilities outside of blogging.
However, while professional blogging is on the rise, the report also illustrates that the “hobbyists” have a voice. In fact, 45% of the 5 million blogs tracked by Technorati have an authority ranking of at least 1. This makes at least a portion of the 72% of hobbyists (with some following) a growing challenge for brands, who must allocate most of their blog relations time for more influential bloggers.
A challenge that will grow with the media meltdown increasing the number of well known bloggers: in the shape of former journalists exploring new options and reporters at surviving media outlets being encouraged to blog. In fact, 35% of current bloggers worked within traditional media of some form in a previous life. That fact has surprisingly not changed bloggers’ optimism for traditional media in the digital age, with only 31% of bloggers noting they believe newspapers will cease to exist in ten years.
Perhaps the most interesting findings, which I was looking forward to seeing, were the stats on how Twitter has affected blogging. We’ve heard stories of blogging being dead and popular bloggers hanging up their blog for Twitter or live-streams. However, most of the findings indicate that bloggers are simply leveraging Twitter as an additional tool which enhances their blogging experience, reach and distribution. 52% of respondents indicate that they are syndicating their blog through their Twitter handle.
The report does note that Schoen and Berland ran a survey earlier this year in front of the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital conference which found only 14% of the general public use Twitter. However, when they asked the same question to this group of bloggers, Schoen and Berland found that 73% use Twitter. It may not be surprising that these technologically sound folks are using the service but it is surprising that only 26% said it was cutting into their blogging time.
In addition to Twitter, bloggers are also leveraging improvements with video and mobile technologies. 50% of respondents note that they use video on their blogs and 59% are updating their blog more often from their mobile device. These advances are also assisting bloggers with gaining industry recognition, with 70% noting that blogging has improved their awareness and recognition with their respective spaces.
As Technorati looks into its crystal ball, its no surprise that they believe that blogging will continue expand as its own medium (blogging is media). It’s also not a surprise that they believe it will continue to have an impact on business, technology and politics (as it did with this year’s election, along with the Iranian election). As they note, blogging is driving the “globalization of freedom of speech.” Maybe that’s why more than 70% of 18-24 year respondents noted they’ll be blogging more in the next calendar year.