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The Internet

Blog reading up 58% in U.S. 231

mshiltonj writes "Americans are becoming avid blog readers, with 32 million getting hooked in 2004, according to new research, showing that blog readership has shot up by 58% in the last year."
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Blog reading up 58% in U.S.

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    blog readership has shot up by 58% in the last year.

    And 90% of that is due to Slashdot posting Roland Piquepaille [slashdot.org] Blog Spam "Articles"!
    • I couldn't agree more!
    • by tambo ( 310170 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @10:34AM (#11253192)
      58%? That's it? I expected more like a 200% increase, this being "the year of the blog" and all. I think this quote from the article is more insightful: "Despite the explosive growth, more than 60% of online Americans have still never heard of blogs, the survey found."

      Don't get me wrong - I read about six blogs a day, and I truly believe they're the future portal of the Internet. Without blogs, the WWW is mostly comprised of organization websites (companies and universities being the top two), and frankly, that's hideously boring. Blogs are the spiritual successor to Netscape's "What's Cool?" feature, and due to the huge number of blogs, you can probably find two dozen that specifically cater to your interests.

      However, I believe that blogs run the risk of being a flash in the pan - of being a trend that seemed really promising, but just never achieved cultural critical mass. I posit that many of these new readers are people who latched onto the buzzword and wanted to jump on the zeitgeist bandwagon. When the next shiny thing comes along in twenty minutes, they'll hop off and scurry away. Basically, I'm wondering if many of those new readers will vanish in 2005, and may take with them some of the momentum that drives the community. Remember that many predicted in 1998 that VRML would revolutionize the Internet.

      As I see it, greater cultural (mainstream) adoption of blogs is hampered by two factors:

      • Absence of a central, well-known blog directory. It's difficult to find new blogs that cater to your interests. It's like an Internet without search engines - in 1995, finding new websites involved stumbling upon them via links from other sites. Imagine if we didn't have telephone books, and if ordering pizza usually involved asking your friends for the number of some good pizza places. That's pretty low-yield, but I feel that's how most need-a-new-blog scavenging missions go. Quite simply, this inefficiency loses readers.

        Now, yes, I am aware of sites like Blogwise, which offers some rudimentary blog indexes. My point is that they're not central pillars of the blog community - they're not well-known, indispensible resources. They're not the Google of the blog community. That niche is currently unfilled.

      • An overriding interest in new blog technologies that seem to appeal mostly to other bloggers. Seriously, guys. RSS is a good first-draft effort, but it feels extremly dinky and lightweight. I don't understand why bloggers are so enthralled with the concept of immediately receiving the first 50 characters of an update to another blog. For most of us, this is more trouble than it's worth. We'd love to have a service that grabbed entire articles and posts for offline reading, but no such mechanism exists. Similarly, all of the momentum around trackback/pingback is kind of baffling.

        I don't really mean to disparage the general interest in these new technologies. But there seems to be a disproportionate amount of attention paid to them, compared with their practical value, and that momentum could be redirected toward technologies that more of us find genuinely useful. :shrug:

      These comments are meant strictly as constructive criticism. For a few years, the Internet seemed like it was mostly an electronic storefront for the corporate world, which is pathetic. Blogs are the best hope for bringing life back to the net, and have admirably succeeded. But I want to see this trend continue, not fade away into obscurity.

      - David Stein

      • I really don't think the problem is with RSS itself, but with most RSS readers. They suck. And they are not very well integrated with the browsers. Even Firefox's live bookmark feature isn't very good (IMHO). Great, I can see the titles. Woop-te-do!

        RSS, Atom, and XML-RPC are very interesting technologies for other, more far reaching applications, rather than just syndication.

        • I really don't think the problem is with RSS itself, but with most RSS readers. They suck. And they are not very well integrated with the browsers. Even Firefox's live bookmark feature isn't very good (IMHO). Great, I can see the titles. Woop-te-do!

          Remember ICQ? ICQ ran like Windows 3.1 junkware - ads, dinky icons, reliability that can only be described as squidgy. Yet people still used it, in droves, until AOL came out with a client more suited to this decade. Ditto Netscape, by the way - I think Netsca

      • I don't see blogs as being significant scientifically, culturally or practically. At best a few blogs offer genuinely useful and accurate data, that is more helpful than university web pages. At worst they're a pseudo-political highly biased rant against "all them" that the author disagrees with.

        More commonly they are about what's happening on some lame teeny bop TV show or worse, trying to live some lame teeny bop TV show life and documenting it.

        I've never found a single good reason to read a blog. If, l
      • We'd love to have a service that grabbed entire articles and posts for offline reading, but no such mechanism exists.
        What is this "offline" you speak of?

        - RustyTaco
  • Blogs... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ReeprFlame ( 745959 ) <kc2lto@SOMETHINGgmail.com> on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:40AM (#11252863) Homepage
    Figures that most are teens too, like me. They are obsessed with each others lives. Oh well, what can I say? I guess it is interesting and others are technical and informative!
    • Re:Blogs... (Score:3, Informative)

      by krgallagher ( 743575 )
      " Figures that most are teens too, like me. "

      Actually according to the article "Blog creators were likely to be young, well-educated, net-savvy males with good incomes and college educations, the survey found." There are not that many teens out there that have "good incomes and college educations."

      Interestingly the survey also found that while most blogs are started by men, women are more likely to continue their blogging long term.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:40AM (#11252864)
    "Despite the explosive growth, more than 60% of online Americans have still never heard of blogs, the survey found."
  • But of course (Score:5, Interesting)

    by samael ( 12612 ) <Andrew@Ducker.org.uk> on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:41AM (#11252871) Homepage
    Blogs, journals, etc. have replaced mailing lists for my friends (aged 26-35) as the way of keeping up to date with each other and arranging social events. Sure, we still email for 1-1 conversation, but for broadcast blogs just seem more efficient.
    • Re:But of course (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NardofDoom ( 821951 )
      My wife's family has been reading my blog for the past year. My family is just getting into it. This, combined with our Gallery, lets me communicate with my family while satisfying my geek urges to do it electronically.
  • Reading? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:43AM (#11252880) Journal
    I wonder what's the case about -writing- blogs and how many blogs out there aren't read even once.

    Anyway, blogs definitely -should- have some kind of mark to help filter them off from Google. Sometimes they badly ruin search results.
    • Re:Reading? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Almond Paste ( 838493 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:48AM (#11252916)
      Sometimes they badly ruin search results.

      To boldly split the infinitive.
      • Re:Reading? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @10:48AM (#11253292) Homepage Journal
        1. Splitting the infinitive is fine. It's always been fine; the rule against it is a bit of Latin grammar arbitrarily and pointlessly wedged into English (a Germanic language) and modern language authorities are starting to recognize how absurd this is.

        2. GP poster didn't split the infinitive; splitting the infinitive is, by definition, inserting another word after the "to" in a verb of the form "to ___." Thus, "to boldly go" is a split infinitive, although a perfectly correct one; "they badly ruin" is not, and is correct by the standards of the most pedantic Latinophile.
    • I'm trying to help with the "blogs that nobody reads" situation with my site, The Long Tail [stevex.org]

      Unfortunately my data provider (http://ping.blo.gs [ping.blo.gs]), who has streaming interface to blog updates (telnet ping.blo.gs 9999) isn't providing any data at the moment so the updates are a little out of date..

  • by hazah ( 807503 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:43AM (#11252881)
    Interesting peice of information, but rather redundant. All this says is that people in the US are just that... people. Internet use is up, why is everyone always so surprized?
  • by ewanrg ( 446949 ) * <ewan DOT grantham AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:44AM (#11252890) Homepage
    Note that the readership has shot up by 58% not up to 58%. Otherwise you'll get confused later in the article where it states that 62% of Internet Users aren't sure what a blog is.

    Although part of that is due to the fact that some blogs don't appear to be blogs. You can use blog software to create sites that handle news and multiple users more easily without proclaiming themselves to be blogs.

    Oh, and if you want to see what my blog looks like, just check here [blogspot.com].

    My .02 worth...

  • Personality. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:45AM (#11252899)
    That's because America is a cult of personality. People love following other people and drooling all over them and knowing everything they do, including when they take a shit or all of the drama about how their doctor is switching them from xanax to klonopin and how they got wasted the night before with some dude they met at a club that had some percosets to share. Honestly, who cares?

    And nothing has changed, except that we have renamed "home pages" to "blogs". There is no difference between a blog and a person's home page, except that one usually is now automated (as far as having an interface to use for adding content) and the other is manually done by editing HTML files.

    This is like calling murder and rape a "misdemeanor" and claiming that "felonies are down!". No, they aren't. You're just calling them something else now.

    Personally, I dont' read ANY BLOGS, unless you count Slashdot. But slashdot is hardly a "blog". When friends or acquaintances offer me their livejournal (or other blog) urls, I tell them "I"m sorry, but I don't read livejournals". It's nothing intended as offense toward them. I just don't waste my time reading things that I don't care about .

    The thing that offense ME about blogs is that you should take the time to have a conversation with ME and tell ME about your life and what's up. Rather than plastering every daily event and thought to your blog that all of your real life and online buddies read hungrily like little cult followers, take the time to have a conversation with me one on one and tell me things that you want to share with me. Blogs are distant, impersonal and filled with crap. Filter out the crap and TALK WITH ME.
    • Re:Personality. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lonesome Squash ( 676652 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:51AM (#11252936)
      But because of their automation, blogs are different from typical home pages. Blogs (as their name suggests) are dynamic, ongoing threads, whereas home pages tended to be static. And it seems to me that the great majority of blogs are based on politics or (possibly highly specialized) current events. So although they will certainly reflect their author's viewpoint, they are not about their authors.

      We've gone from "My page about me!" to "My page about what I think about politics!" to "My political blog!" and the change is one of kind, as well as one of degree.

      • The other big change is that a lot of blogs are written by non-techies, as the automation of all the geeky stuff has allowed just about anyone to publish easily. Sure, anyone could get a geocities website before, but that doesn't mean they could throw together a useable website.

        And now that these people don't have to spend time figuring out webpages, they can spend their time figuring out politics, or video games, or popcorn, or whatever their blog was about.

        I remember teaching myself HTML back in the day
    • That's because America is a cult of personality. People love following other people and drooling all over them and knowing everything they do

      Thats how I think of England with the papparazi. Its not just Americans. Unfortunately its all over the world and we'll eventually have nothing left for entertainment except tabloids and reality shows.....ugh.

      • Blogs are entertaining. The highest rated blogs read like good news stories. For example, I love to read RiverBend's blog [htt] because she is a good writer who gets her point across.

        Blogs are autobiographies in progress. Most people's lives are dull and boring, but a few are interesting enough to become best sellers.

    • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @10:10AM (#11253032)
      Is saying "I don't read any blogs" going to become the new "I don't even own a TV"?
    • Re:Personality. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NardofDoom ( 821951 )
      What if your family is scattered all over the country? A blog is a cheap (read: free) way to publish events in your life and keep them in the know. It's better than email, because they don't need to be at their computer to read it, and you don't have to worry about making sure you have the right email address.

      Talking is great for people you see every day, but for long-distance friends and relatives, a blog is the perfect way to go.

    • That's a rather bitter attitude towards life. So basically, you could careless what other's are thinking about and only want them to talk to you, when its convient for you?

      What about sick / shut-ins / those that cannot talk? Any relatives that live across the country/world?

      "Filter out the crap and TALK WITH ME."

      With that attitude, why would anyone?
  • The downside... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lonesome Squash ( 676652 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:45AM (#11252900)
    is that it's easier than ever to get news and views that support your opinion without being exposed to those that challenge it.

    People have always done this, but the trend has gotten more pronounced. I sometimes imagine that we're going to end up as completely distinct logical entities that happen to share the same geological space. Imagine two countries with exactly the same borders, with different tax structures, different social benefits, different foreign policy.

    • The political blogs are largely just internet fantasy sites usually repleat with a dose of pure hatred. They have no connection to the actual world and just go on spiralling out into space with their own fantasies about how the world is and how it should be. (Easy to do when you're largely fuelled by hate and you have plenty of "friends" to back you up). Truly the world extremely complex, in comparison to the simplicity spouted out, it's random, yet these numerologists of economy and policy believe they'
  • I think that five years down the line, someone could compile a dictionary on the mutations of the word "blog".

    This is the only word that i refuse to pun about.

    Harrumph.
  • I'd Believe It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:45AM (#11252906) Homepage Journal
    This probably explains why so many more people seem to be talking about so many more topics these days, but have less to say than ever.
  • These days when searching for stuff you get a huge percentage of blog entries as opposed to legitimate* information. Not saying that blogs are bad, it's just that for a pure text based search it really raises the signal to noise ratio.

    Say something like video card doom3 - gets 600k hits, whereas
    video card doom3 -forums gets 333k

    Blogs are useful, but I'll be glad when google separates them from the normal search results.

    * as legitimate as is possible on the net anyway
    • Let's use the popular informal definition of blog.
      A web log maintained by only one person about something he likes.

      We should state the difference between blogs, forums and normal webpages... a blog has a log structure/layout, and is sorted by date. In contrast, /. is sorted by categories, and doesn't have a visible calendar to see the previous entries (you have to get inside the "archive").

      Now if we go to the /. users' journals, well we enter a fuzzy gray area.

      Regarding the signal/noise ratio, perhaps go
    • I often find useful information on forums myself....

      Besides, as another poster mentioned, forums != blogs
  • Blogs? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:48AM (#11252918)
    Never heard of 'em.
  • by SunPin ( 596554 ) <slashspam@cyberis t a . com> on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:49AM (#11252927) Homepage
    Four out of five people think the fifth one is an idiot.
  • by Henrik S. Hansen ( 775975 ) <hsh@member.fsf.org> on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:50AM (#11252930) Homepage
    It depends on the definition of blog. Is it a personal journal? Or is Slashdot a blog, too?

    If news sites like Slashdot are also counted as blogs, I'm not surprised the number is increasing.

    Personally, I don't read personal blogs much. Most are low quality.

    • by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @11:38AM (#11253724) Homepage
      'blog's are defined as whatever's convenient to show that readership in them is up 58% in this last year.

      I worked on Fark before I had even heard the term 'blog', and the nature of it has changed so much since then, that it's say if it's now more or less like a 'blog'. [hell, we even looked at advertising back then to offset the costs, and we got rejected because we didn't generate content, only linked to other people's content, of course, that was before readers could comment]

      Here are a few independant parameters that no one can seem to agree on in their definition:
      • Personal vs. Group Administered
      • Personal vs. Group Contributors
      • Frequency of Updates
      • Ability for Reader Comments
      • Type of Funding
      • Amount of Editorial Oversight
      • Broad / Narrow Subject Focus
      • Generated vs. Linked Content
      • Opinionated vs. 'Neutral'
      In the early days of the term, it seemed to be more of the 'online diary' type pages, but came to include sites that were collaborative efforts. I'd have listed anything that updated frequently, with a relatively narrow focus (even if that focus was 'things that Bob finds interesting'). Of course, that definiton would have included sites like AlertBox, ScoopThis, or The Onion.

      These days, the media seems to use the term to apply to any site that posts opinionated information without vetting, and updates on a semi-frequent basis, and in this case, I'm guessing it was whatever they needed to prove that it was a potential 'growth industry' to support whatever agenda they might have.
  • Last year 90% of Internet users just didn't know what they where viewing, until some jackass decided to call it a 'blog'. Now they have a term for what they read.

    .
  • by Democratus ( 832327 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:52AM (#11252939)
    Is anything more self-absorbed than blogging?

    That anyone would think their life is important enough for the world to read is the height of hubris!

    --

    Check me out on http://www.livejournal.com
    • snicker....nice sig in contrast to the post ;)
    • First, mods

      Check me out on http://www.livejournal.com

      mark the man funny for his subtle self deprecating humor :)

      Second, I think blogs are simply taking the place of diaries ("journals" to the yanks I believe), that they are public is merely an adaptation, I don't think the typical "blogger" expects (m)any people to read them, it's more an outlet for thier own conciousness.

      Of course this raises the question of what IS happening to the age-old art of diary/journal keeping, do teenage girls still keep di
    • Is anything more self-absorbed than blogging?


      yes Podcasting.

      there are some GREAT podcasts and I listen to them daily. but a HUGE majority of them are like blogs.. nothing but public masturbation.
  • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:52AM (#11252942) Homepage
    All right, I'm not a teen interested in talking to other teens on the "Dude, what's up?" level. That's just an experience thing, and I plead guilty to outgrowing that stage.

    But in general I have little use for personal blogs, blogs that are about someone. There are six billion people on this earth. Many of them have fascinating stories to tell. Once they have truly fascinating experiences, I'll be glad to read about it in a biography or autobiography. But until then, they can keep their day-to-days to themselves or others who like to pore over meaningless details. Want to know what I had for breakfast today? Dude, not even I am interested any more.

    I do like blogs that are news aggregating sites. That is really useful to me, so it's not as if I ignore all blogs. But blogs as "home pages"? I ignored those too back in the day. And by the way, for a while I tried running my site in parallel as a blog along with the regular URL. It was fun to get comments on the headlines, but it wasn't really blog material. Just felt out of place. So I dropped the blog.

    If blogs speak to you, that's wonderful. Have fun. I'll snooze this one out.

  • I'd rather read BLOBs [techtarget.com]
  • Personally, this, along with the phenomenon of people reading others' AIM away messages, seems like a new type of internet "voyeurism." You can "spy" into peoples' lives with total anonymity, yet it is people themselves that make this information available.

    Seems to encourage a hands-off type of socialization, while separating people by yet another degree doesn't it? I mean, how many people have others on their buddy lists just to "check away messages"?

  • it isn't a blog? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BobVila ( 592015 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:54AM (#11252958) Homepage
    The only thing that could have made this story funny is if it was a blog article being backed up by a web poll. I was kind of expecting the link to the article to go to some blog.
  • The heightened popularity of blogs can in large measure be attributed to two big stories this year: Dan Rather's use of the clumsily forged documents on President Bush's National Guard Service, and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

    In RatherGate, it was blogs like Little Green Footballs [littlegreenfootballs.com] and Powerline [powerlineblog.com] which actually broke the story, quickly determining that the RatherGate documents where not only frauds, but poor, obvious frauds at that. And it wasn't TV news "experts" who made the determination, but real experts out on the Internet chipping in their particular bits of knowledge about computer typographer, Air Force National Guard procedures, etc. Tens years ago, CBS probably would have gotten away with it. Now they can't.

    In the case of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth [swiftvets.com], here was a story the MSM didn't want to touch with a ten-foot poll because it went against the narrative the had already decided on ("John Kerry, War Hero Turned Protestor"). (Just imagine if there had been an organization with some 80-odd National Guard vets swearing that they witnessed Bush shirking his duty; there would have been an hour-long prime time special...) Since no media outlet was covering their ads, it was the blogsphere that carried information about the group. It's ironic that the Swift Boat Vets spent about 1/100th what Moveon.org did, and was still 100 times more effective.

    • In the case of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth [swiftvets.com], here was a story the MSM didn't want to touch with a ten-foot poll because it went against the narrative the had already decided on ("John Kerry, War Hero Turned Protestor").

      If the MSM committed any sins in the SBVfT situation (and they did), it was in giving their story credibility without backup. Nothing in the official record, or in the recollections of those on Kerry's boat, supported their version of the story, but the MSM gave them scads
    • In the case of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, here was a story the MSM didn't want to touch with a ten-foot poll because it went against the narrative the had already decided on ("John Kerry, War Hero Turned Protestor"). (Just imagine if there had been an organization with some 80-odd National Guard vets swearing that they witnessed Bush shirking his duty; there would have been an hour-long prime time special...) Since no media outlet was covering their ads, it was the blogsphere that carried information ab
      • If and when he ever signs a form 180 he might even get a break from some of the other vets in the military too. Until then, he's a coward, a political opportunist.

        Individuals such as yourself, don't have a clue as to what military tradition is. Or what actually constitutes a medal.
      • Nice spin -- have you considered applying for a job with Fox?

        But listen to yourself! You're spinning is far worse, mostly because it's whine-centric. The poster is correct: Despite orders of magnitude more money being spent by people like MoveOn.org, and with breathless and uncritical support from NPR, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, and on and on - the basic essence of the SBV's message resonated with people. Their point: not every Vietnam vet was buying Kerry's mythmaking, and many, many of them were deeply i
        • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @11:44AM (#11253794) Homepage Journal
          ... with breathless and uncritical support from NPR, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, and on and on ...

          This is the core of the myth that pisses me off so much. To say that the "MSM" sources you reel off gave "breathless and uncritical support" to Kerry, or the corollary claim that they tried to bury the SBV, is to deny reality. In fact, most TV and print media gave "breathless and uncritical support" to Bush's made-up war hero image, while treating Kerry with a kind of skeptical amusement from the beginning, and picked up the SBV slander with glee. The relentless right-wing hammering at the "liberal media" has reduced these once-respectable news sources to neutered lapdogs who uncritically report Karl Rove's talking points for fear of being charged with liberal bias.
          • To say that the "MSM" sources you reel off gave "breathless and uncritical support" to Kerry, or the corollary claim that they tried to bury the SBV, is to deny reality. In fact, most TV and print media gave "breathless and uncritical support" to Bush's made-up war hero image

            Honestly now, that last line is hogwash. The second, the absolute millisecond that plane landed on the carrier, paul begala et all raised holy hell about it. Likewise when Bush snuck into Iraq, and had the Turkey photo-op. I coul
            • Yeah, I know... "The media isn't biased! They cover 90% of the crap from one candidate and make up new crap and bury the retractions, but they're balanced because the cover the 10 most egregious percent of the crap from the other guy! How much more balanced do you need?"

              The only way, the only way to argue that media coverage is balanced is argument by anecdote, where you hold up an example or two of "balance" from the other side and consider the argument closed. Take a view of the whole, though, and it's c
    • A lie can be half way around the world while the truth is still putting on its sneakers.

      - Mark Twain
    • In the case of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, here was a story the MSM didn't want to touch with a ten-foot poll because it went against the narrative the had already decided on

      It also demonstrated the "blogosphere's" usefulness as an echo chamber. When influential conservatives and pundits produce a talking point, it soon spreads down the informal hierarchy of idealogically-aligned sites. When it hits enough front pages the media begins to notice and they thus feel obligated to cover the story, even t

  • Election (Score:4, Insightful)

    by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson@NoSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @09:57AM (#11252973)
    This stat is likely influenced by the massive numbers that went out and read political blogs during election time. I can't remember hearing about blogs on Hardball or Crossfire in 2000...
  • RSS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by barik ( 160226 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @10:04AM (#11253010) Homepage
    I think what's really made blogs (and now other outlets) take off is the use of RSS/ATOM feeds and RSS/ATOM readers. There's Straw [nongnu.org] for Linux, SharpReader [sharpreader.net] for Windows, and even online aggregators like Bloglines [bloglines.com] for those who are always on the run.

    It's easy to know when someone has updated without having to manually check every site. Reading content is also a breeze, by virtue of having a unified interface. Personally, a large number of my regular readers access my weblog through an RSS interface. And with big outlets like Yahoo News and BBC providing RSS feeds, it's not much more effort to simply add a personal blog to your daily reading list.
  • by BrK ( 39585 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @10:04AM (#11253011) Homepage
    32M is still a relatively small number compared to the overall American population (~300M).

    I find most blogs so bland and boring that I don't see the reward in trying to separate the wheat from the chaff in them. Sure, some are funny, or informed, or insightful, but SO many are just pointless ramblings mixed in with malformed thoughts and opinions.

    Blogs are one of those things that I am absolutely shocked have gotten so much attention.
    • Blogs are one of those things that I am absolutely shocked have gotten so much attention.

      I'm not.

      Beanie Babies
      Pet Rocks
      Tai Bo
      Atkins
      Cabbage Patch Kids
      Stop the insanity!

      As the current crop of bloggers age, and get real lives and no longer have the time to thrill us all with their daily goings on, this too shall fade.
      But remember...this is one of the core pillars of what the internet is all about. Bringing publishing down to the individual level. Everyone can publish, for all the world to see. Unfortunately,

  • Blogging (Score:2, Insightful)

    I, too, maintain a blog. For me, it's not a case of narcissism or that I want to communicate with others. It's just a place for me to vent and speculate, to post good articles on whatever topic and comment on them,

    My sister is at college in another state. I read hers (and she knows I do it...and she hasn't killed me yet) so I can keep track of what's bothering her.

    Seems to me that there's a greater percentage of simple journals/diaries rather than event or otherwise one-time use blogs. True, the latter

  • When traditional media in USA become more and more controlled by suspicious interests, blogs offer a unique free approach to journalism. But writing on a blog can cost you your job or even land you in the court [bbc.co.uk], as the BBC says. When blogs will become more popular, the media empires will understand that they are losing ground so they will try to attack the bloggers over various excuses such as "innappropriate images", "published sensitive information", "libel", "innappropriate use of trade marks" et cetera.
  • I keep up a blog and I write regularly in a journal too. My journal isn't online but my blog is and they are two different vehicles.

    I will usually put more personal or goal related information that's not important to anyone but me in my journal. Things I would just as soon not be out in public (sadly there is nothing really scandalous in my journal though).

    In my blog I post things I find interesting that I might want to reflect back on in the future. If it's interesting information to other people, s

  • by ViolentGreen ( 704134 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @10:29AM (#11253150)
    Misinformation in the US is up 58%.
  • Why Blogging Matters (Score:5, Informative)

    by WombatControl ( 74685 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @10:29AM (#11253151)

    It's interesting to see the reactions from people who still associate blogging with LiveJournals and angst-ridden teenagers. While 90% of blogs are crap, to borrow from Ted Sturgeon, 90% of everything is crap.

    Blogs offer a huge amount of valuable information. Blogs helped fuel the fire in the Trent Lott affair. Blogs debunked the CBS Bush-ANG memos hoax [rathergate.com]. There are blogs being written by Iraqis [iraqthemodel.com] that offer a perspective into Iraq that you would never get anywhere else. Blogs are proving their worth in the tsunami relief efforts as well.

    Blogs offer a level of immediacy that the media does not. Rather than allowing a few selected gatekeepers to control the flow of news, blogs offer a wide range of views in a system that acts as a kind of meritocracy. Bloggers tend to be voracious in taking ideas apart. Something like those crudely-forged Bush documents that Dan Rather flogged for weeks were almost immediately debunked by bloggers. Stories that don't have merit are filtered out and stories that wouldn't normally be widely disseminated get far more readership through blogs.

    Blogs are nothing less than a distributed form of newsgathering that is having a major effect on online journalism. They're much more than just vanity sites.

  • In a country where almost all my fellow citizens show more interest in watching The Simple Life or WHO'S YOUR DADDY than most other television programs I can't say I'm completely shocked at this statistic.
  • The article is misleading. First of all, a lot of people read aggregator sites like FARK, Slashdot, Metafilter, etc. I don't know if those count as blogs.

    But when they say "people are reading blogs", what does that really mean? I would never read a personal blog of someone I didn't know. But my friends? Yeah, I mean, I have a reasonable interest in the lives of my friends, so I would check out their blogs from time to time. I honestly think most blog-reading is just friends reading each others' xanga or
  • Most bloggers cant write and lead incredibly boring lives. However, a few good blogs have been around since the beginning of Web. Then they were called other names such as frelance journalism or web diaries. I read a few of those every week.
  • You Got Dooced! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by krgallagher ( 743575 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @10:46AM (#11253270) Homepage
    Here [bbc.co.uk] is a related article about people loosing their jobs because of what they have posted to blogs. It raises interesting questions about freedom of speech.
    • It raises interesting questions about freedom of speech.

      No. I raises interesting questions about why people would say and do things that would embarrass their employer, publish it on the Internet, then expect their employer not to find out about it.

      The article mentions a woman who was fired for publishing nude photos of herself. Is that substantially different than posing for a nudie magazine? Would many bosses be comfortable with the latter (especially given the hyper-paranoia about sexual harassmen

  • Dull (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CaptainBaz ( 621098 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @10:46AM (#11253273) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, but while people rave about "the blogging phenomenon", they generally forget to mention that most blogs are either dull as hell [wibsite.com] if they're lucky, or more likely just abandoned when the author got bored.

    Sure, there are the few excellent ones that stand out, but 75% are just dead livejournals or blogspots with
    Of course, I have one [h4xx0r.co.uk] myself, so I'm hardly entitled to comment... :o)
    • To be fair, I think it depends on who you read. Most bloggers talk about their own lives and unless you're a close friend, you don't care (at least I don't; sorry). I've had a blog for almost three years now and I try to post daily on topics of interest: news, tech, the arts, or whatever I'm obsessing about. It's pretty hit and miss, but once a week I put up something good. Or that's what my mom says.
  • by nighty5 ( 615965 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @10:55AM (#11253340)
    Can somebody list at least 5-10 * interesting * personalities that are news worthy? I use to "finger" a few gamers [wikipedia.org] over 10 years ago but not really anymore....
  • They're usually focused on a specific area that the author is interested in. Joel on Sofware [joelonsoftware.com], for example. Or Dan Bricklin's blog. Or the various Microsoft blogs by people working on .net. Or the Lambda [lambda-the-ultimate.org] programming languages weblog. Or any of the popular writers and musicians who have weblogs.

    This is what people read. Not teenybopper angst and love lore.
  • I used to think the blog wass little more than a packet-switched version of CB radio, destined to fade as rapidly as did that particular "gives the little man the same voice as the corporate man" phenomenon. However, I've come to realize that the internet generation has the power to engage in self-selection more than any of those that came before. Witness the rise and popularity of Fox News despite surveys demonstrating that the network frequently provides factually incorrect information. Not the interpr
  • How can Big Media make money off this phenomenon? And which laws will have to be changed to make it hard for everybody else?
  • by shaka999 ( 335100 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @11:31AM (#11253625)
    After a recent slashdot article I looked on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog). By this definition slashdot itself is indeed a blog.

    I find this ridiculous. By the definition on the site almost every site I look at is a blog. The base definition seems to say that any page that has some element of chronological order is a blog. This certainly doesn't fit my view of what a blog originally was.

    So, no wonder blog readership is up. The definition of a blog has been expanded by 58%!!
  • by vorpal22 ( 114901 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @12:03PM (#11253998) Homepage Journal
    I can think of all sorts of valid uses for blogs.

    Were it not for blogs, there are many song lyrics that I would have been unable to discover. People without the know-how to find webspace and design and create an entire website have sometimes painstakingly determined and written out lyrics to songs and then posted them to their blogs. These lyrics would have been otherwise unavailable, as the artists did not choose to release them. For example, a favourite group of mine, Metric, created an album "Grow Up and Blow Away" that was never released but is available for download in various locations. I spent an afternoon satisfying my own curiosity and determined the majority of the lyrics to the songs. After posting these to my LiveJournal, I've gotten tons of comments from people who either were able to contribute and help me fill in the gaps that I was not able to figure out myself, or messages of thanks from individuals who were interested in getting their hands on these.

    That's but one example of the use of blogs: providing information that may have limited scope of appeal, and that may not be otherwise available.

    Additionally, the idea of "community blogs" as offered by LiveJournal is tremendously useful. I don't know how many times asking a question on LiveJournal's mathematics community has saved me hours of googling and interpreting obscure definitions in order to answer a question.

    Thirdly, I've met many fascinating people through my blog, both online and in person. In fact, that's how I met my life partner.
  • LONG before some sick fuck decided to publicize this horrible term for a horrible practice, we *nix folk had .plan files. Need to know what joe is working on? finger joe@hisdomain. "Blogging" is not a new thing, folks.

    Blog = Brain Rot

  • darker subcontext (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wobblie ( 191824 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @01:25PM (#11254889)
    People are becoming more boring and vapid, and for some reason simply have to let everyone else know how boring they are.
  • Ah ha! Found the shirts.. :D

    http://www.cafepress.com/blogwhine

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