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Why Average Joes Don’t Blog

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Victor Keegan in the Guardian today says To the average Joe, blogs aren’t cutting it. His article is somewhat downbeat about the state of the blogosphere. He acknowledges that there’s quite a bit of activity.

This month’s state of the blogosphere survey by Technorati, the monitoring service, was greeted as if it were the online equivalent of the President’s State of the Union address. It undoubtedly reveals a fascinating array of statistics and confirms that blogging – the writing of online journals – is continuing to expand, albeit more slowly than before, and is still a force to be reckoned with.

According to Technorati, the number of weblogs has risen to 70m compared with 35m some 320 days ago. But interestingly, only a third of these are English-language blogs. This is a great tribute to the way other languages have populated the space, led by the Japanese with an astonishing 37% of all blogs.

Nevertheless Mr. Keegan feels it shows only a small fraction of the English-speaking world is actually writing blogs, even if they may be reading them. It’s all a somewhat ‘Glass Half-Empty’ kind of view. Perhaps it’s not surprising coming from a newspaper journalist.

For the ‘Glass Half-Full’ view, you should turn to the author of that Technorati Survey, Dave Sifry, as reflected in a blog post, The State of the Live Web, April 2007. There’s much to marvel at in what he writes but here’s a small taste:

Technorati is now tracking over 70 million weblogs, and we’re seeing about 120,000 new weblogs being created worldwide each day. That’s about 1.4 blogs created every second of every day.

So why such a difference in viewpoint. One key factor is that long tail nature of the Web. We’re not talking Mass markets here. Most people don’t blog so neither does the average Joe. But even a tiny percentage of people in a micro-niche of a market can make connections and interrelate in a meaningful and self-sustaining way. That tiny percentage when applied to a huge population perhaps spread over several continents can still amount to a sizeable audience. There’s the attraction in blogging. It works and that’s why it will continue to grow, particularly as it expands into the Mobile web opened up by that huge population of cellphones.

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