July 19, 2006

Bloggers

Part 2. Media and Communication Habits of Bloggers

Broadband is the norm among bloggers, as is going online several times each day.

A majority of bloggers (79%) have a high-speed connection to the internet at home and more than half are between 18 and 29 years old. By comparison, 62% of adult internet users have broadband at home and about one in five is under 30.7 This combination of broadband, youth, and interest in content creation translates into heavy media consumption among bloggers.

On a typical day, 84% of bloggers go online, a higher daily participation rate than the general population of home broadband users (78%) and other internet users age 18-29 (66%). Sixty-four percent of bloggers say they go online several times a day from home, outstripping both their high-speed counterparts and young internet users in the general internet user population. Thirty-nine percent of home broadband users and 34% of internet users age 18-29 go online several times a day. By comparison, 27% of all internet users go online from home several times a day.

There is no significant difference between bloggers and other internet users when it comes to frequency of use at work or other places. About four in ten internet users go online several times a day at work and a very small group (about 5%) goes online several times a day from someplace else, like an internet café or library. Interestingly, bloggers are less likely than the rest of the internet population to volunteer that they “never” go online from someplace else – 34% of bloggers vs. 55% of all internet users.

Bloggers are avid online news readers, particularly political news.

Bloggers, most of whom have a high-speed connection at home, are highly likely to read news online. Ninety-five percent of bloggers get news from the internet and 71% say they do so on a typical day. Bloggers’ news reading outpaces even home broadband users, who are among the most enthusiastic online news readers. By comparison, 80% of home broadband users get news online and 63% do so on a typical day.8

Bloggers also gather news from diverse sources. Fifty-five percent of bloggers get news from email newsletters or list-servs and 34% do so on a typical day. By comparison, 48% of home broadband users get news from an email newsletter; 29% of home broadband users do so on a typical day.

Online news

Not surprisingly, about half of bloggers turn to blogs as a source for news. Forty-seven percent of bloggers say they have gotten news from blogs and 26% do so on a typical day. By comparison, 9% of internet users say they have gotten news from blogs and 3% do so on a typical day.

Bloggers prefer balanced sources of news.

Bloggers are about as likely as the general internet population to pursue non-partisan news sources. Forty-five percent of bloggers (and 50% of all internet users) say they prefer getting news from sources that do not have a particular political point of view. Twenty-four percent of bloggers (and 18% of all internet users) say they prefer getting news from sources that challenge their political point of view. Eighteen percent of bloggers (and 22% of all internet users) say they prefer getting news from sources that share their political point of view.

Bloggers are also pretty typical of the rest of the internet population when it comes to their motivations for reading news online.  Forty-two percent of news-reading bloggers (and 40% of all online news readers) say they go online to get news and information because it is more convenient. Twenty-eight percent of news-reading bloggers (and 29% of all online news readers) say they get news online because they can get information from a wider range of viewpoints on the Web. Nine percent of news-reading bloggers (and 24% of all online news readers) say they get news online because they can get more in-depth information on the Web. Eighteen percent of news-reading bloggers (and 2% of all online news readers) say their reasons are a combination of all three choices.

Newspapers, television, and radio are also part of bloggers’ daily news diet.

Bloggers are also avid consumers of off-line sources of news and information, but no more so than other internet users. On a typical day, bloggers are about as likely as other internet users to get news from newspapers, TV, magazines, and the radio. Eighty-five percent of both groups (internet users and bloggers) read newspapers and about half do so on a typical day. About nine in ten internet users, and the same share of bloggers, watch television news and between two-thirds and three-quarters do so on a typical day. A bit more than half of both groups read magazines for news and about one-quarter do so on a typical day. Three-quarters of both groups listen to radio news and about half do so on a typical day.

Bloggers are highly engaged with tech-based social interaction.

Bloggers are among the most enthusiastic communicators of the modern age, taking advantage of nearly every opportunity to communicate. Seventy-eight percent of bloggers say they send or receive instant messages. By comparison, 38% of all internet users send and receive instant messages. Again, bloggers outstrip their high-speed counterparts (40% of home broadband users IM) and even internet users between 18 and 29 years old (54% of whom IM). Fifty-five percent of bloggers say they send or receive text messages using a cell phone, compared with 40% of home broadband users and 60% of younger internet users.

Bloggers also like to create and share what they make. Forty-four percent of bloggers have taken material they find online – like songs, text, or images – and remixed it into their own artistic creation. By comparison, just 18% of all internet users have done this.9 A whopping 77% of bloggers have shared something online that they created themselves, like their own artwork, photos, stories, or videos. By comparison, 26% of internet users have done this.10

Bloggers are likely to have the gadgets to support their online proclivities for social interaction and creativity. Fully 89% of bloggers have used a cell phone in the past month and 78% have used a digital camera during that time. Fifty-six percent of bloggers have used a laptop computer equipped with a wireless modem in the past month and 47% have used an iPod or MP3 player. Bloggers are not as likely to have used a PDA, like a Palm Pilot or pocket PC – just 28% say they have done so within the past month.

  1. Pew Internet & American Life Project February-April 2006 survey.
  2. Pew Internet & American Life Project January-February 2006 survey.
  3. Pew Internet & American Life Project January-February 2005 survey.
  4. Pew Internet & American Life Project November-December 2005 survey.