Thu, Nov 5, 2009 by Steve McAbee
Blogs, once thought to be mere vehicles of rants, random musings, and useless content, have now become one of the most influential components of the Internet. Technorati recently released their 2009 ‘State of the Blogosphere’, an “annual study (that) has followed the growth and trends in the blogosphere” since 2004. The study surveyed 2,828 bloggers from 50 countries (nearly half from the United States) between September 4 – 23, 2009.
What did we learn?
- Two-thirds are male
- 60% are in the 18 – 44 years old bracket
- Most are more affluent and educated than the general population
- More than half are married
- One in four has an annual household income of $100K+
Is this what you thought the average blogger would be?
Technorati also uncovered an interesting convergence between bloggers and traditional media. According to the survey, “Despite being perceived by some as enemies of the traditional media, bloggers actually carry a journalistic pedigree. 35 percent of all respondents have worked within the traditional media as a writer, reporter, producer, or on-air personality.” In fact, 27 percent of respondents who blog work in traditional media. Quite interesting considering the stigma bloggers endure that they are less credible than those in traditional media outlets.
On The Practitioner, Dan discussed one of these reasons, sponsored endorsements and reviews of products, and how the FTC has stepped in to monitor a blogger’s disclosure. More so though, I believe it’s the cache a media outlet’s name brings to a news story and the implied guidelines an article must follow that helps build its credibility. Blogs are assumed to not follow such standards and generally do not have a direct association with a media brand.
However, the gap between bloggers and journalists is closing. Some traditional media outlets have even initiated partnerships with blogs to create a media hybrid. The Seattle Times has teamed up with five neighborhood blogs and news sites, two of which were founded by veteran journalists with backgrounds in broadcast news, in order to offer the same quality of coverage as budgets continue to shrink. “Seattle has become a hotbed for neighborhood and niche blogs,” said Kathy Best, the Times‘ managing editor for digital news and innovation. “As we watched our own newsroom resources shrink, we began talking about how we could tap into that hyper-local community movement to create partnerships that would allow us to continue to offer quality coverage in key areas.”
What value do you place on blogs versus traditional media? Are you aggregating information from both media to form your own opinion, or do you rely solely on one or the other? What do you predict 2010 will hold for the convergence of information sources?
Steve is President of Wunderkind Public Relations. He regularly comments on public relations strategy, social media and trends impacting the communications industry. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.