By the end of 2004 blogs had established themselves as a key part of online culture. Two surveys by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in November established new contours for the blogosphere and its popularity:
- 7% of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the internet say they have created a blog or web-based diary. That represents more than 8 million people.
- 27% of internet users say they read blogs, a 58% jump from the 17% who told us they were blog readers in February. This means that by the end of 2004 32 million Americans were blog readers. Much of the attention to blogs focused on those that covered the recent political campaign and the media. And at least some of the overall growth in blog readership is attributable to political blogs. Some 9% of internet users said they read political blogs “frequently” or “sometimes” during the campaign.
- 5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators or XML readers to get the news and other information delivered from blogs and content-rich Web sites as it is posted online. This is a first-time measurement from our surveys and is an indicator that this application is gaining an impressive foothold.
- The interactive features of many blogs are also catching on: 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs.
- At the same time, for all the excitement about blogs and the media coverage of them, blogs have not yet become recognized by a majority of internet users. Only 38% of all internet users know what a blog is. The rest are not sure what the term “blog” means.
These results come from two nationwide telephone surveys conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project: One was in the field between November 4 and November 22 and involved interviews 1,324 internet users. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. The other was conducted between November 23 and November 30 and involved interviews with 537 internet users. That has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.