That’s one nugget I took from the latest Pew survey of bloggers.
Half of bloggers participating in the survey said they get “news” from other blogs, but that’s not the only way they feed their voracious appetites for information. The survey found that 85 percent of active bloggers also read newspapers.
Blogs are another platform for individual expression, and that’s what most people use them for — 76 percent “say that they blog to document their personal experiences and share them with others.”
Nine out of ten bloggers do so for fun or as a hobby, and just 13 percent say blogging is a big part of their life.
“Not surprisingly, those who say blogging is an important part of their life are more apt to update their blog frequently,” the report said. “This small group is also more likely to earn money from their blog, via advertisements, tip jars or paid content, and to consider their blog a form of journalism.”
This all makes me think we should spend more time thinking about blogs as a popular art form, and less time comparing them to the news media.
Blogs are a great way for people to communicate and share knowledge, especially groups of that have traditionally had less voice in the news media. They’ve also become another ingredient in the soup of news and information consumed by people who spend a lot of time online.
But as long as blogs are used mostly for individual expression, updated sporadically and written primarily for bloggers’ friends and families by people who still read newspapers, the dreaded mainstream media is safe.
Other tidbits from the survey:
— About half of bloggers use their blogs as information storage or memory devices. It’s interesting that people are willing to trade privacy for free, online archiving of their personal diaries and photos.
— Bloggers are less likely to be white than the average Internet user. The survey found that 60 percent of bloggers are white, compared with 74 percent for average Internet users. Is this because of the accessibility of blogging tools, or something about the medium?
— Bloggers also tend to be young suburbanites. Some 54 percent are under the age of 30, more than half live in suburbs and a third live in urban areas. Only 13 percent live in rural regions, where there are more things to do outdoors.
The survey is interesting but it’s not conclusive; it has a 7 percent margin of error, and was based on surveys of 233 bloggers, taken from Pew’s population sample of 7,012 people.