It is confirmed. The Blogosphere continues to grow at a pace no one has anticipated. In fact, it would be very difficult to quote a number as the total tends to change by the second of every day.
The Blogosphere Report
According to the State of the Blogosphere report as of February 2006, Technorati is tracking 27.2 million weblogs and is expected to double about every 5.5 months. The Blogosphere as it is at present is estimated to be over 60 times bigger than it was three years ago. New blog creation is placed at over 75,000 new weblogs everyday which translate to an average of one weblog created every second. It has also been noted that 13.7 million bloggers are still posting three months after its blog creation. This sends a clear message that blogging is becoming a habitual activity.
The report on the Blogosphere growth made in October 2005, showed Technorati tracking 19.6 million weblogs which was expected to double every five months. During this time, there were about 70,000 new weblogs created everyday and that the blogosphere was estimated to be over 30 times as big as three years prior to the report. A comparison between these two recent reports would show that the blogosphere growth is showing no signs of letting-up at the present. Reports prior to that of October 2005 will support this thinking.
While growth brings its benefits as well as its downside, the increasing popularity of blogs brought with it the proliferation of ?spings? or spam pings. These are fake or bogus notifications that a blog has been updated. It is believed that it accounts for as much as 60% of the total pings received by Technorati. This prompted the development of a sophisticated system that mitigates the spings and helps keep spam blogs out of their indexes. Technorati?s efforts on working against this problem are continuous and in cooperation with other players such as Google, Yahoo! and others. Another aspect of the problem is the considerable percentage of new blogs that are either spam, machine-generated or attempts to create link farms or click fraud.
There are about 1.2 million posts made each day and a number of spikes in posting volume are generally seen during major news events. It has become impossible to read all the relevant posts to an issue or subject due to the sheer number of choices. Again, a challenge has been presented as to how to find the most interesting and most authoritative information in a monstrous sea of conversation.
This problem is being sought to be countered through the use of tagging. This is essentially a simple way for bloggers to categorize their posts to assist the searchers in their quest for the right information. There are thousands of categories that have been created to attract influential bloggers to write while more are created everyday to provide the most comprehensive coverage for the reader?s varied needs and requirements.
Most blogs are personal but many of which feature the new influences of consumer decisions. These are the consumers that provide feedback about large brands ranging from positive raves of product excellence to rants about the latest product recall. These have prompted more businesses to consider the relevance of maintaining a blog as part of their regular activities. With so much freedom and availability of on-line information or misinformation, any business would benefit from having their own conversation forum for their brands, products and services to protect their reputation. Blogs provide the chance to give the other side of the story especially for businesses that are on siege with negative feedback.
The Blogosphere Statistics
In the year 2004, which was considered the Year of the Blog, some interesting facts came to the fore with regards to blog readership. A very sharp increase was noted during the most part of the year despite the fact that most American Internet users have no clear idea about blogs. The increase in interest was evident on both the creation and demand sides.
The surge in blog creation and readership was partly credited to the fact that 2004 was an election year in the U.S. with a highly divided electorate. The concentration was on political blogs which spilled over into other areas. Spikes on blog activities were readily seen during Iowa?s caucuses, the beheading of Nicholas Berg and the Southeast Asian Tsunami catastrophe, among others. Blog traffic tends to spike sharply when certain web-communicable events occur.
In a survey conducted during the same year, it was found out that 57% of bloggers are male, 48% are under 30 years of age, 82% have on-line experience for six years or more, 42% live in households earning over $50,000 income annually, 70% have broadband connection at home and 39% have college or graduate degrees. It was also the year that the conversational dynamics of blogs caught on. A considerable percentage of American Internet users have posted comments or other materials on blogs and are regular blog readers. The more active bloggers update their blogs regularly resulting to more than 275,000 posts daily or approximately 11,000 updates an hour.
In the same breath, there seems to be some initial data that says less than 10% of women are political bloggers and approximately 20% only of blog readers are women. There also seems to be a belief that the blogosphere is elite because of the qualifications of most of its bloggers as well as its readers. Its present composition however, may not exactly agree with the said data as gender and educational background have long ceased to be exclusive factors to be considered. Generally, as long as someone has something to say or contribute, the blogosphere will always welcome him/her with open arms.
Several other studies indicate that most blogs are abandoned soon after creation and that only a few are updated regularly. The average lifespan of a blog is very short. Most blogs do not even reach 100 days while some gets abandoned after a year or more. A typical blog would be one that is written by a teenager updating friends of daily happenings in his/her life. The tone would be very informal with no particular concern for form and spelling.
With the phenomenal popularity of blogs, some are quick to point out that it is about to reach its peak and suffer the same fate as an outdated fashion. Blogs? attraction can be largely attributed to the novelty attached to it, but it can be tiring when overdone. Bloggers should look for that balance where frequency and relevance come together.
Blogging may be replaced sometime in the future by some technical innovations. That is just the way it is in modern technology. The good thing about it is that some things like the need to converse with another would remain. So even if blogging goes, a better alternative would surely come that would serve the same purpose, but definitely in an improved way.