FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Blogging Comes of Age

Anyone who hasn't been living on the moon for the past year knows that the blogosphere is the place to be. And now it's been made official, through a report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The report states that blog readership rose by 58% in 2004, and that blog traffic now comprises 27% of all Internet use. Bloggers and blog readers are also a diverse lot, with a broad spectrum of age groups, as well as many women and minorities active in the blogosphere.

These findings have prompted a lot of discussion as to whether blogs are literally ready for prime time. That is, can they make the leap from a hobby to credible media resources that can sustain readership and even make money? If you think that another dotcom boom is in the making, you may want to think again.

From the advertising perspective, skepticism abounds. Observers point out that many of the hottest blogs are too controversial for most mainstream marketers, are often openly hostile to the very businesses that are prime advertisers. Plus, useful metrics still don't exist that would allow advertisers to measure their reach and determine accurately what they're getting for their ad dollars.

Tempering the growth in blogs are other statistcs, such as Pew's findings that only 5% of Internet users they surveyed used RSS aggregation, and that over 60% had no idea what a blog was. The Perseus Blog Survey, moreover, found a high rate of blog abandonment, noting that 66% of the blogs they surveyed had not been updated in over two months.

Blogging is coming of age, all right. But it still has to go through a rocky young adulthood.

Source: POMO Blog, Fortune