blog statistics and demographics
This page considers blog statistics and demographics.
It covers -
There are few credible estimates about the number of online
blogs (one enthusiast tracks offline - ie dead - blogs
or their growth. Many figures are contradictory or merely
Wired News noted
claims that in January 2002 alone some 41,000 people created
new blogs using Blogger and that there were then more
than 500,000. In August 2002 another source claimed that
Blogger had 350,000 users, with converts supposedly "creating
a new weblog every 40 seconds, or more than 60,000 a month".
By early 2006 that had risen to around 160,000 per month
(albeit with many splogs),
subsequently declining to 100,000 per month.
In September 2002 the New York Times reported that
had signed up 690,000 users since 1998 and was currently
gaining another 1,100 bloggers per day. It is unclear
whether all 690,000 were (and still are) maintaining their
personal pages and, if so, how frequently.
In the same month the Times claimed that Brazil
was the "second-largest Blogger-using country"
after the US, with up to 13% of the 750,000 Blogger users.
In June 2003 Blogcount
estimated that there were between 2.4 million to 2.9 million
active blogs. As a point of reference that is around 10%
of the number of dot-com registrations
(although most blogs do not have unique domain names).
Blogcount attributed over 1.6 million active users to
the three largest centrally hosted services.
in June 2003 that a WHOIS
registry database search identified over 10,000 'com',
'org', 'net', info', 'biz' and 'us' domains with "blog"
in the name.
The US National Institute for Technology & Liberal
Education (NITL) BlogCensus
at that time identified 655,631 'blogs', with a substantial
margin of error and a note that around 30% were 'inactive'.
An October 2003 report
by Perseus Development on The Blogging Iceberg
on the rapid growth rate demonstrated by the leading
services, Perseus expects the number of hosted blogs
created to exceed five million by the end of 2003 and
to exceed ten million by the end of 2004.
us that is an echo of mid-1990s claims that by 2005 the
number of web sites would outnumber the human population,
a warning about projections from an initial "rapid
Based on its survey of 3,634 blogs on eight blog hosting
services (Blog-City, BlogSpot, Diaryland, LiveJournal,
Pitas, TypePage, Weblogger and Xanga) Perseus claimed
that as of October 2003 there were about 4.12 million
In May 2004 Technorati claimed to track 2.4 million blogs,
increasing to 11.7 million blogs in Jube 2005. The Technorati
figure was assailed as simply a count of blogs registered:
it did not identify blogs in regular use and did not differentiate
between genuine blogs and splogs (aka spam blogs).
Undeterred, Technorati noted claims by ad group Universal
McCann in March 2008 that 184 million people "have
started a blog" (alas, no figures on how many have
stopped maintaining a blog) and that 346 million people
read blogs in 2007. comScore MediaMetrix claimed in mid-2008
that there were 77.7 million blog readers in the US. eMarketer
(drew on other figures to suggest that there were 94.1
million US readers. A million here, a million there ...
it all adds up (or doesn't).i
Wired exulted that "nine blogs are created every
minute and 2.3 content updates are posted every second".
Those seeking perspective might ask how many disappear
every minute and note other 'magical' statistics, eg globally
there is a suicide every 40 seconds. In November 2004
to track 6.4 million blogs.
In January 2005 the blogosphere was abuzz with claims
that around 25% of all South Koreans have a blog, some
US pundits lamenting a 'blog gap'. That supposedly included
90% of those in their 20s and 79% of those under 40. In
fact, the figures are for basic homepages - often little
more than an email address - with the nation's service
providers, rather than blogs.
In July 2006 the Pew Internet & American Life Project
that the US "blog population has grown to about 12
million American adults", some 8% of US adult internet
users. The number of US blog readers was estimated as
57 million adults (39% of the US online population), although
few of those people read widely or read often. David Sifry
in April 2007 that growth in the number of blogs created
had slowed - "matured" - with other observers
noting that the percentage of active blogs are compared
to the total number of blogs tracked by Technorati was
declining, down from 36.71% in May 2006 to 20.93% in March
Several studies indicate that most blogs are abandoned
soon after creation (with 60% to 80% abandoned within
one month, depending on whose figures you choose to believe)
and that few are regularly updated.
The 'average blog' thus has the lifespan of a fruitfly.
One cruel reader of this page commented that the average
blog also has the intelligence of a fly.
The Perseus report noted above indicates that 66.0% of
surveyed blogs had not been updated in two months, "representing
2.72 million blogs that have been either permanently or
Jeffrey Henning of Perseus sniffed that
the blog-hosting services have made it so easy to create
a blog that many tire-kickers feel no commitment to
continuing the blog they initiate. In fact, 1.09 million
blogs were one-day wonders, with no postings on subsequent
claimed that the average duration of the remaining 1.63
million abandoned blogs was 126 days, with some 132,000
blogs being abandoned after a year or more. The oldest
abandoned blog surveyed had been maintained for 923 days.
In January 2009 the Pew Internet Project, in one of its
more problematical estimates, claimed
that 11% of online US adults used Twitter or a similar
microblogging service as of December 2008, up from 9%
in November 2008 and 6% in May 2008. The overreporting
appears to reflect conflation of microblogging and social
network service (eg Facebook) activity.
Perseus's 2003 The Blogging Iceberg report
you say "blog" most people think of the most
popular weblogs, which are often updated multiple times
a day and which by definition have tens of thousands
of daily readers. These make up the tip of a very deep
iceberg: prominently visible, but not characteristic
of the iceberg as a whole.
What is below the water line are the literally millions
of blogs that are rarely pointed to by others, since
they are only of interest to the family, friends, fellow
students and co-workers of their teenage and 20-something
bloggers. Think of them as blogs for nanoaudiences.
Nanoaudiences are the logical outcome of continued growth
in blogs. Assume for a moment that one day 100 million
people regularly read blogs and that they each read
50 other peoples' blogs. That translates into 5 billion
subscriptions (50 X 100 million). Now assume on that
same day there are 20 million active bloggers. That
translates into 250 readers per blog (5 billion / 20
million) - far smaller audiences than any traditional
one-to-many communication method. And this is just an
average; in practice many blogs have no more than two
executive Nick Denton commented in 2004 that
Everyone has this illusion that Web logs have taken
the world by storm, but Web logs have probably only
reached 10 percent of the Internet population. Our goal
is to reach the remainder.
huh. A September 2004 survey by advertising giant DDB
found that much of the UK had not written, read or even
heard of a blog.
That led Lester Haines in The Register to comment
is some very refreshing news today for those who live
outside the rarified atmosphere of the internet world,
and indeed for many of us struggling for breath within
it - most people don't have a bloody clue what net buzzwords
mean but can evidently function perfectly well in society
despite this handicap. Indeed, a survey of taxi drivers,
pub landlords and hairdressers ("often seen as
barometers of popular trends" according to Reuters,
though God alone knows when hairdressers became barometers
of anything), by ad outfit DDB London showed that 90
per cent of barometers have not the foggiest idea what
a podcast is, and an impressive 70 per cent live in
blissful ignorance of blogging. ...
A shaken DDB London planning director, Sarah Carter,
admitted: "Our research not only shows that there
is no buzz about blogging and podcasting outside of
our media industry bubble, but also that people have
no understanding of what the words mean. It's a real
UK figure is consistent with independent surveys. The
June 2005 Pew Internet & American Life study reported
that "the average American Internet user is not sure
what podcasting is or what an RSS feed does". As
late as January 2004 Pew found that 68% of online people
in the US supposedly did not know what a blog was.
In April 2006 the British Market Research Bureau's quarterly
survey claimed that 70% of respondents had heard of blogging
but that only 2% of UK internet users publish blogs and
10% view a weblog once a month or more.
Two months later a separate survey, by newspaper publishers
Metro and Telegraph Media, claimed that only 13% of those
surveyed in the UK had read an individual's blog in the
preceding week, compared with 40% in the US, 25% in France
and 12% in Denmark. 12% of UK readers had read a newspaper
blog in that week, compared with 24% in the US, 10% in
France and 9% in Denmark. 95% of those surveyed in the
US said they had used a website for news in the past week,
compared with 89% in Britain, 81% in France and 78% in
Blog narcissism was evident in the lowest levels of response
- those from people who had had a personal blog - 3% in
Britain and Denmark, 7% in the US and 8% in France.
Estimates of the demographics vary.
In July 2003 BlogCensus suggested that there were 701,150
"sites we think are weblogs", of which 380,657
appeared to be in English. It claimed that Portuguese,
(with 54,496 blogs), Polish (42,677) and Farsi (27,002)
were the next most popular languages - well ahead of French
(a mere 10,381) and German (7,736). On a per capita basis
the language with highest blog penetration appeared to
be Icelandic, with 3,542 blogs.
In July 2006 Médiamétrie, dismissing claims
that 10% of French population "have blogs",
claimed that there were just over three million active
French blogs. UK market researcher Synovate claimed in
June 2007 that only 10% of British 18 to 24-year-olds
have ever blogged.
'Language Networks on LiveJournal', a 2007 paper
by Susan Herring, John Paolillo et al in 40th Annual
Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
examined language use in 1,000 randomly-selected and 5,025
crawled LiveJournals to determine the overall language
demographics and the robustness of four non-English language
networks on LiveJournal.com. The findings indicate that
English dominates globally but not locally, network robustness
is determined mostly by population size, and journals
that bridge between languages are written by multicultural,
multilingual individuals, or else they have broadly accessible
The metrics enthusiasts at Jupiter Research claim that
57% of bloggers have a household income of under US$60,000
per year, a figure that is presumably consistent with
concentration of blogging under Anglo college students.
Jupiter's examination of the entrails - eye of newt, ear
of bat - resulted in claims that there is no gender divide
in the blogosphere, that around 73% of bloggers have been
online for 5 years and that "only 4% of the online
community read them", presumably a disappointment
for the industrious scribes of Reykjavik.
If Jupiter's figures are to believed, blogs are primarily
be read by men (60% vs 40% women) and in households where
the total income is over US$60,000 per year (61%, the
difference from authorship figures reflecting doting mums
Perseus' The Blogging Iceberg commented that
is many things, yet the typical blog is written by a
teenage girl who uses it twice a month to update her
friends and classmates on happenings in her life. It
will be written very informally (often in "unicase":
long stretches of lowercase with ALL CAPS used for emphasis)
with slang spellings, yet will not be as informal as
instant messaging conversations (which are riddled with
typos and abbreviations). ...
Teenagers have created the majority of blogs. Blogs
are currently the province of the young, with 92.4%
of blogs created by people under the age of 30. Half
of bloggers are between the ages of 13 and 19. Following
this age group, 39.6% of bloggers are between the ages
of 20 and 29.
suggests that males were more likely than females to abandon
blogs, with 46.4% of abandoned blogs created by males
(versus 40.7% of active blogs created by males).
Abandonment rates did not vary based on age. Those who
abandoned blogs supposedly tended to write posts that
were only 58% as long as those bloggers who continued
to publish, "which simply indicates that those who
enjoy writing stick with blogs longer".
Leigh Philips sniffed
in 2003 that blogging
the dominion of geeks, wittier-than-thou twenty-to-thirtysomethings
in Manhattan and angry gay Republicans.
February 2005 Lee Rainie of the Pew Internet & American
Life Project was claiming that eight million US adults
had created a blog, with supposedly 10% to 20% of US blogs
being "related to religion".
So much for angry digital log cabin boys. Médiamétrie
claimed that 80% of French bloggers were 24 or younger;
over 50% were female.
The 2004 paper
Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction
of Weblogs by Susan Herring, Lois Ann Scheidt and
co-authors argues that apparent gender/age bias in media
and academic coverage of blogs arises
in part as a result of focus on a particular blog type,
the so-called 'filter' blog, which is produced mostly
by adult males. We argue that by privileging filter
blogs and thereby implicitly evaluating the activities
of adult males as more interesting, important and/or
newsworthy than those of other blog authors, public
discourses about weblogs: 1) marginalize the activities
of women and teen bloggers, 2) misrepresent the fundamental
nature of the weblog phenomenon, and 3) indirectly reproduce
societal sexism and ageism.
bias might, of course, also reflect the vapidity of much
The 2004 view is consistent with that of Dustin Harp &
Mark Tremayne's 2006 'The Gendered Blogo sphere: Examining
Inequality Using Network and Feminist Theory' in Journalism
& Mass Communication Quarterly, Sarah Pedersen's
'Women users motivations for establishing and interacting
with blogs (web logs)' in 3 International Journal
of the Book 2, Scott Nowson & Jon Oberlander's
The Identity of Bloggers: Openness and gender in personal
Effects of Age and Gender on Blogging (PDF)
by Jonathan Schler, Moshe Koppel, Shlomo Argamon &
James Pennebaker, Gender Classification of Weblog
by Xiang Yan and Susan Herring & John Paolillo's 2006
'Gender and Genre Variation in Weblogs' in 10 Journal
of Sociolinguistics 4.
Sarah Pedersen & Caroline Macafee's article
'Gender Differences in British Blogging' in 12 Journal
of Computer-Mediated Communication 4 (2007) draws
on a 48 person [!] sample in concluding that "men
and women find the same range of satisfactions in blogging.
However, more women use blogging as an outlet for creative
work, whether as a hobby or as a livelihood".
so, so yesterday?
Blogging has attracted true believers and businesses that
have a vested interest in boosting blogs as a cure for
various social ills, a mechanism for personal growth,
a way of making money or merely something for journalists
to write about. Suggestions that many people abandon blogging
altogether after a handful of posts, post sporadically
or simply never blog thus have attracted vehement criticism.
There has been little research into why people don't blog
and into suggestions that many people under 25 blogged
once or twice before moving on to other social
media because blogging - to use the words of one 19
year old contact - was "so, so yesterday and all
my friends are on Facebook" and because the blogosphere
has been polluted by sploggers.
The blog phenomenon in the English-speaking world has
peaked and - as forecast in an earlier version of this
page - most blogs are being stored in the part of cyberspace
dedicated to hula hoops, pogo sticks and other fashions
that reached their use-by date.
That does not mean people will stop blogging altogether.
Novices will try blogging (particularly as a rite of passage);
some will post passionately and regularly rather than
"getting over it, just like zits" and other
teenage disorders. Blogging is not going to disappear.
Entrepreneurs will still be able to make money guiding
CEOs or celebrities or knowledge managers in best-practice
blogging at an individual or corporate level. Some people
will continue to find fulfilment through blogs that reach
an audience of one or an audience of one million.
We should however be realistic: the 'blogging revolution'
collided with human nature and human nature won. Most
people do not like writing, even if they have something
to write about. Many people do not have time to blog on
an ongoing basis in a way that attracts a substantial
audience. Some people will continue to write offline diaries,
commonplace books and criticism - including work that
relies on a pen or pencil rather than a keyboard. Others
will flow with the latest fad.
Robert Scoble thus sniffed
in 2007 that
there's a bigger trend I'm seeing: people who used to
enjoy blogging their lives are now moving to Twitter.
Andrew Parker punctuates that trend with a post "Twitter
is ruining my blogging". I find that to be the
case too and when I talked about this on Twitter a raft
of people chimed in and agreed that they are blogging
a lot less now that Twitter is here.
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