Last month’s State of the Blogosphere report on Technorati, to me, was a total blur. Sure, it was the authoritative look at the current demographic of bloggers, but that was a hell of a lot of work on my end … and all I did was the article entry. Nevertheless, a few choice nuggets about bloggers did get lodged in my brain (mostly by accident) and the largest such item was buried in a graph on Day 2.
Only 10 percent of bloggers write about sports.
It’s entirely possible that the last four years of my Internet life have been immersed in the sports blogohedron, hence my surprise. There’s a mighty big world out there with other important, pressing topics. But that 10 percent seems awful low, doesn’t it?
2,828 bloggers who responded to the survey were given 23 choices for topics, and multiple answers were allowed. Only parenting, finance, gaming and celebrity were ranked lower than sports. More people said they wrote about “sustainability.” And considering most bloggers do this kind of thing for fun, that number just astounds me.
It’s not like people aren’t sports fans. 48 percent of Americans say they are (PDF), and with two-thirds of bloggers being male, proportionally more than half of the blogosphere should be, in theory, a sports fan. But therein is the issue here: the average blogger is different than the average American.
More so than the typical human, bloggers are passionate, outspoken, opinionated, slightly oddball, perhaps quick to judge, and sometimes irrational. Just like sports fans!
So how does one explain the canyon that separates mainstream sports fans and sports bloggers? A lack of information has never stopped me from conjecture before:
It’s an incredibly time consuming process. Well, this applies to many other topics, but especially in sports. When it comes to a particular event — in this case, a game — there’s a post to preview it, a post to summarize what happened (the recap), and perhaps the ramifications of that game. And that’s just three posts before one scrapes the surface of off-the-field news, which is sometimes the most compelling.
The news gets old. Review a movie, or write about a bill that is passed into law. That story will have a lasting impact. Now, write about a game that happened. By the time the next game is underway, nobody really cares anymore. I can’t think of any other news that gets staler faster than sports, except for weather and maybe television, which 16 percent of bloggers say they cover. (No data on weather bloggers. They must’ve all gone tornado chasing.)
NERRRRRRRRDS! Let us bask in the wisdom of Lewis Skolnick from Revenge of the Nerds: “Jocks only think about sports; nerds only think about sex.” Not only did that movie reveal the discord between nerds and jocks, but it also explains why much of the Internet is covered in hentai porn. Unfortunately the learned Mr. Skolnick didn’t predict the onslaught of technology writers, which over two-fifths of bloggers admit they are. And hey, this makes the most sense. The majority of people on the Internet are going to take a shining to technology, while people who “live in a gym” are going to be thinking about athletics.
Perhaps they issued the survey during March Madness. Those crafty Technoratians.
The economy? Yeah! Let’s blame the economy for everything. But there might actually be some truth hidden in the shredded stock worth less than the paper on which it was printed. Without only a hell of a hunch to back this up, most people blog in their spare time, and hard times have forced people to have less free time. (Or in cases like mine, extremely much more spare time!) They’re going to blog less and instead focus only on their most passionate topic. Here could be the Family Feud No. 1 reason most people don’t blog about sports more. They may be sports fans, but it’s not their favorite hobby. While techies, political junkies, wine snobs, and film critics may all have favorite sports teams, it’s really an auxiliary passion.
It’s a gateway topic. People who start off in sports departments may have aspirations to contribute their time toward more important issues. (See: Keith Olbermann, Stephen A. Smith, and Sarah Palin.) But it never works the other way around. You’d never see Walter Cronkite report on Kennedy’s assassination, the Vietnam War, and the moon landing, then retire by saying “you know, all these world events are boring me. I’d rather start calling baseball games.” Lou Dobbs didn’t leave CNN to become an Atlanta Hawks commentator. Tim Russert loved the Buffalo Bills, but his adoration for them was as far as he’d go. There’s this notion that blogging about politics, world events, and the environment makes more of a difference in the world, and that might be the largest reason of all.
This is all speculation. Sports bloggers are very good at it. Predicting outcomes of games is a worse science than tasseography, so there may be other very valid reasons beyond “I don’t like sports.” Personally, I blame sustainability bloggers.