Bloggy, We Hardly Knew Ye

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The Chicago Tribune pipes in on the matter of bogged-down blog readership:

Gallup finds only 9 percent of Internet users saying they frequently read blogs, with 11 percent reading them occasionally. Thirteen percent of Internet users rarely bother, and 66 percent never read blogs. Those numbers, essentially unchanged from a year earlier, put blog-reading dead last among Gallup's measures of 13 common Internet activities. E-mailing ranks first (with 87 percent of users doing so frequently or occasionally), followed by checking news and weather (72), shopping (52) and making travel plans (also 52). Gallup concludes that while the amount of time people spend online has risen, "it appears the online public is simply doing more of the same activities, rather than branching out and trying different Internet offerings."

Whole thing here.

Via Romenesko.

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  1. Ah, that assumes that people know what a blog is. Betcha a bunch of people read blogs and don’t know what the term means. Though you’d have to be a little dense, given how much blogs like to talk about blogging.

  2. Those figures look suspicious. Everyone knows that surfing for porn is the #1 internet activity.

  3. What does Colonel McCormick know? Content Is King!

  4. People talk to each other to get their blog content.

  5. Well ,well, another day reading Hit and Run.
    DId you all see _THIS_STORY_ about how people are not reading blogs? Isnt’t it interesting that people don’t read blogs. You know, the other day I was walking my dog to the convenience store, to buy those daemon sticks I am trying to quit. You know, the ones that keep me from getting back into jogging. Now where was I….

  6. And yet, I’ve just started seeing these AT&T billboards everywhere.

    Clearly they think there’s a reason to talk about blogging.

    Oh, and yes, my 82-year-old father who doesn’t understand the difference between his ISP and his browser is thinking about starting a blog.

  7. I wonder if these statistics take into account the increasing ease with which blog content can be syndicated via RSS feeds and online aggregators. I probably actually visit fewer blogs now than ever since I read the content from them via my Bloglines feed. Knowing how the MSM is always behind the curve with matters of Internet technology I’d be willing to wager that the decline in blog readership they crow about doesn’t take into account the impact of RSS feeds and their offspring. I’d also bet that once these other sources of blog content distribution are factored in that blog readership is actually UP–of course why would the mainstream media want to report *that*?

  8. Well, considering the huge impact blogs have already had on American politics even with just 9% of Internet users regularly reading them, I’d say the Tribune piece may amount to wishful thinking. Blogs may not represent a lethal weapon pointed at the mainstream media, but they just might represent a slow poison.

  9. Of course I always visit Hit and Run since with Bloglines I don’t get the pleasure of seeing that guy hump his carpet…er….train without weights…

  10. I always open the posts to see the comments, so CHG is never far away.

  11. I always open the posts to see the comments, so CHG is never far away, even though I also use Bloglines.

    (Double-posted for unneccesary completeness.)

  12. I did read something recently on one of the tech blogs questioning blog readership stats in general–in particular, they had serious issue with how they defined a blog: for some reason, a site like Slashdot *was* a blog while a site like Boing Boing *wasn’t* a blog. Obviously depending on your semantics you can greatly inflate or minimize the pervasiveness of blogs. That’s why stories of this type are so stupid–they don’t really tell you anything, but their headlines and tone try to convey that the blog phenomenon is on the decline. For the MSM, this may be in large part wishful thinking or perhaps even an attempt to “shape” the reality. That’s one of their real shortcomings when reporting on Internet culture–they make no real effort to understand new online phenomena but rather brand every evolving aspect of the culture as some sort of “fad” or “gimmick”.

    Of course if the MSM *really* thinks that blogs and quasi-blog content are actually going the way of the CueCat I’m afraid that there’s really no hope for them…

  13. Just found this interesting review (via another “passe” blog, New Media Musings (www.newmediamusings.com). And you wonder why the MSM wants to spin blogging as a “fad”?:

    >>
    Reaching younger news consumers – people just like Krongos – is widely seen as the biggest challenge for media today. Study after study shows that young people (teens and 20-somethings) are ignoring the news in alarming numbers.

    But alarming to whom?

    Well, the news organizations, of course. But it also should be a societal concern, says David T. Z. Mindich, a former CNN producer and author of “Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don’t Follow the News” (Oxford University Press, $20, 192 pages).

    Mindich’s argument: Our very democracy hinges upon an informed citizenry plugged in to current events. …

    when two dozen local college students were interviewed for this story, many said they felt they were talked down to by mainstream media.

    “It’s more interesting for me to log on to (Internet) forum boards and see what other people … are saying about current events than listen to a report on the news for two minutes that isn’t very informative at all,” says Taylor Wang, a 23-year-old senior at UC Davis.

    Avi Ehrlich, a senior journalism major at CSUS, put it more bluntly: “We get exactly what we want when we want it instead of somebody deciding for us what we need.” …

    Kevin Krim, manager of the blog Livejournal, which has more than 2 million users, says [this]: “These kids are a hyper-connected, multitasking crowd with five IM windows open at once, the TV going, a video streaming on their laptop and their homework book open. How do you compete with that?”

  14. Heck, I’ve already done all those other things. Blogging, especially on news stuff, may only appeal to certain types, but among those types are MSM reporters … and then we’ve got each other as sounding boards, a technological cracker barrel if nothing more.

  15. As is typical of the Gallup organization, once again they didn’t ask me about this.

  16. Hmmmm…much of the news I read is via…blogs!

    That is news I find useful, not scare-mongering.

    Definitely something screwy w/ that stat!

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