July 22, 2008

New numbers for blogging and blog readership

Because blogs have been in the news lately with the Netroots Nation and BlogHer conferences recently wrapping up, it seemed like an opportune time to post our latest figures for blogging and blog readership.

Blog reading

In our spring tracking survey we took two new measurements of blog reading, each of which captures a slightly different set of behaviors. Our first measure of blog readership uses the present-tense question, “Do you ever read someone else’s online journal or blog?”. In total, 33% of internet users (the equivalent of 24% of all adults) say they read blogs, with 11% of internet users doing so on a typical day.

Our second blog readership question is based on a slightly different question construction: the past-tense “Have you ever read someone else’s online journal or blog?” This figure is consistently higher than the one discussed above; this is because its wording captures people who once read blogs but now do not for whatever reason. 42% of internet users (representing 32% of all adults) answer this question affirmatively.

In addition to serving as example of the power of question wording, there are also some interesting demographic differences in our two blog readership questions. For example, male and female internet users are equally likely to say that they do read other people’s blogs (35% for men, 32% for women). However, among internet users men are more likely to say that they have read other people’s blogs (48% vs. 38%). We suspect that this is due to the male-heavy nature of the initial blog readership population–men are generally heavily represented among the early adopters for most technologies, but women catch up over time. Due to the way the second question is worded, it captures some of those (largely male) early adopters who are not captured in the first question.

Blog creation

We only asked one question about blog creation, making these figures fairly straightforward. 12% of internet users (representing 9% of all adults) say they ever create or work on their own online journal or blog. For a majority of bloggers, working on their blog is not an every-day activity: 5% of internet users blog on a typical day. This question uses the same present-tense construction as the first blog readership question above.