The blog world needs reality checking and it can start by answering this question: Does anyone know how many people stopped blogging today?
Pew claims “that 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.”
Technorati reports number of blogs watched, more than 8.5 million, and BlogPulse puts the total number of identified blogs at 9.7 million, as well as new blogs created in any given 24 hours period (usually somewhere between 20,000 to 40,000).
I’m not disputing the accuracy of the numbers assembled by BlogPulse and Technorati and posted on their homepages or the Pew report, just their usefulness in assessing the state of blogs. It’s a general point: Growth numbers tell a small part of the story. A company can report revenue growth and still have a net loss.
The hype about blogs, inadvertently or otherwise, is helped by these estimates. For instance, many media outlets this week carried reports on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s report, “How to Blog Safely” , citing these stats to illustrate the popularity of blogging. See this CNN story, for instance.
A lot of people blog, that’s for certain. A lot of people have also created newsgroups, mailing lists and Web sites, but there are many inactive newsgroups, mailing lists and Web sites. Check your own “blog roll” — how many links are still active?
What’s the likelihood that a blog that hasn’t been updated in 30, 60 or 90 days will ever be updated?
How many of the new blogs created are junk blogs, designed to optimize search engine results by repetitive use of certain words?
How many blog creators have developed multiple blogs? Or created one blog, but moved on to another?
The U.S. election fueled a lot of interest in blogs, and it’s argued that blogs will have considerable influence in many other areas and markets. Some blogs will thrive as businesses. Blog networks have already started to emerge and others may follow. But how many people will move on, end their blogs, after realizing it’s not for them or it just takes too much time?
I don’t have a clue what the impact of blogs will be. But I do know that anyone who writes a story about blogs that says 40,000 blogs were created today, without knowing how many also died today, doesn’t have a clue either.Powered by Sidelines