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What Brings Users to Blogs? 143

Billosaur writes "The Center for Citizen Media Blog has an interesting overview of the Collaborative News Survey 'Hype versus Reality', detailing the results of a study done by Hsing Wei from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government on why users are attracted to collaborative news, commenting and blogging sites. Among the conclusions of the study are that people who use these sites are 'mostly young and male, especially those who visit technology-related sites, looking for 'a fix of unique, informative fun,' and 'filling in the blanks' left by traditional news sources. Or is it just because it beats working?"
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What Brings Users to Blogs?

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  • by lecithin ( 745575 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:23PM (#15739331)
    Dark and lonely on a summer's night.

    Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.

    Watchdog barking. Do he bite?

    Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.

    Slip in his window. Break his neck.

    Then his house I start to wreck.

    Got no reason. What the heck?

    Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.

    C-I-L my land lord!

    -Tyrone Green
  • by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:27PM (#15739352) Homepage
    sure beats working! Plus I think a lot of people are attracted to sites that allow commenting because they like to argue.
  • by darcling ( 987237 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:29PM (#15739368) Homepage
    On a "big news site" they give you the information. Period.

    If they're wrong (in your opinion) or leave out important facts - too bad, they don't care about you. In a blog/comment arena you can interface directly with the author and flesh out the details, inaccuracies, or corroborate their work.

    Community = Good.
    • I also think: Boobs = Good, and it also fits with your reasoning. With boobs you can flesh out the details, innacuracies (different size of left vs right) and if your lucky you may collaborate with them as well.
    • Really? I come to /. for the dupes.
    • NAZI's were a community, skin head are a community.
      Communities are just a thing that can be manipulated by people with an agenda.
    • No, there are plenty of blogs out there which don't allow comments.
    • For christ's sake.

      I am SICK of hearing about blogs being a news source. SICK SICK SICK.

      It is not going to happen. Sorry. There will never be some golden age where an Internet fucking diary is the world's favourite news source. The idea, in my mind, is fundamentally retarded in so many different ways. I would really love to hear some decent reasons as to why the filtering of CNN through some 20-year-old's head like some shitty drip coffee (a.k.a. "the media of the people") is better than the BBC, who are at
    • Now the real question...
      What is it about tech-savvy people that gives the overpowering urge to correct the author's mistakes.

      (I believe if it's mostly male tech-savvy, it's safe to assume it's equally female tech-savvy.)
  • by PrescriptionWarning ( 932687 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:29PM (#15739372)
    You know, the kind of person that keeps on talking without really even thinking about what they are actually saying. It is my belief that the same kind of logic can apply to a digital format. Friends do not let friends blog.
    • by Anonymous Coward
    • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:40PM (#15739797) Homepage Journal
      Say what you want about blogging, but I've found it very useful to keep friends and family in touch with what I am doing. The fact that some people have found my blog content applicable to their interests says that others may find the content to be interesting. It has resulted invitations for me to speak at seminars, or ask me to consult or even to purchase pictures presented on my blog. Most times I've turned these offers down because of time constraints, but on some occasions I have accepted or granted permissions to reproduce articles/images.

      All in all I would say that the benefits of keeping a blog have exceeded the costs and if you maintain that friends do not let friends blog, then perhaps you are hanging out with the wrong crowd. I for one would not want to keep company with folks that prevent one from succeeding, but would rather have friends that encourage success.

    • Considering that the article is talking about collaborative "blogs" such as slashdot and not personal blogs, your comment is somewhat ironic.
  • []

    Thank you very much, I'm here all week.
  • Slashdot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PaulMorel ( 962396 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:33PM (#15739406)
    Slashdot brings users to blogs.

    After all, who needs reliable news outlets when you can get all your news pre-filtered by people just like you?

    • A: Slashdot is a Blog

      B: The "reliable" news outfits have become terrible lackeys for whoever it is that is hand-feeding them the story. ABC running stories about how great Pirates of the Carribean is. USA Today parroting lines about weapons of mass destruction without doing any actual investigation. CNN running company-sponsored fluff pieces about how great Enron is, shortly before it crashes and burns. Fox news reporting anti-war protests as "five or six thousand" people when the official estimates wer
  • Interesting Study (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Moqui ( 940533 )
    I would have guessed that more bloggers were female than male. That has been my experience, as a good number of my female friends have blogs, post on other blogs, or generally surf blogs, outnumbering my male friends.

    However, it could be that they are classifying blogs differently, ie. tech journals as blogs, or personal blogs, when they do their study.
    • It's probably cause blogs function a lot like diaries for most people, but they don't feel as silly.
      • I think it's more just the effect of socialization on males and females. Females are socialized to be caring. Males are socialized to.."fill in the blank here". Naturally on a blog where you confess your feelings or talk about whatever females would be more likely to respond with something nurturing and make you go "aww I have friends". While guys will go "crying? being said? weak.." Of course this doesn't fit in the emo, metrosexual, etc..etc.. But I haven't looked into any psychological or sociological
    • That's exactly why the VISITORS are typically male.
  • by c0d3h4x0r ( 604141 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:34PM (#15739415) Homepage Journal
    My suspicion is that most users of sites like Slashdot are attracted to the site not because of original news content but because it offers a competitive forum and an opportunity for basking in the public spotlight. Young males eat that shit up. Give them a chance to post comments to hopefully accumulate good reviews and karma, thus establishing on online reputation, and they'll go for it. Not really that different than MMORPGs, if you think about it.

    • Mod up is slightly sexually arousing...

      To be labeled "Insightful" is just plain tittilating : )

      -young, male, geek
    • *MrSquirrel challenges you to a duel*
      I cast... magic missile!
    • I think you have the right idea about that, but you're looking at it the wrong way. I don't read slashdot, or any other blogs, so that I can post to inflate my own ego, and I don't think the majority of Slashdoters do either. Rather, I go to slashdot because it (usually) has interesting content and, more importantly, *other people* comment on it. I don't usually comment on things I don't know much about, and it's wonderful to be able to read an article and then compare it to other people's knowlage and o
    • Young males eat that shit up. Give them a chance to post comments to hopefully accumulate good reviews and karma
      Wow, excellent and interesting post. +1 karma for you.
    • I agree, I'm one amongst many who read slashdot for the comments. Slashdot is no ordinary blog especially because of its comment moderation engine.

      I launched 9 months ago. Since we don't have enough participating users yet (even after over 1 million hits), geospatial professionals don't come to see us for the comments, but also for the story selection done by the "editors". Of course you can browse RSS feeds, but it's less time consuming when a bunch of folks decides for you what's worthed to b
      • Consider starting a Slashdot Journal if you want a blog that will be noticed here. I hope that increases my score.

        The Huffington Post blog [] has good story selection but comments are moderated. The moderators will not publish comments that they find unacceptable.

        Oddly, each and every comment that's published there is flagged abusive. Hundreds and hundreds of 'em. I don't know why. A bug, maybe. So there's a stigma even if your comment gets past the moderators.

        Slashdot could teach the Huffington Post a thin

    • I am a white male who is largely unconcerned with politics and I certainly know that I visit slashdot for the comments, not the news.

      It's not to bask in the public spotlight, not to build an online reputation (I would hate that), it's not even that I think the true insights are in the comments.

      I like the comments because I like to know what people think. I think it's far more interesting than most of the news. Opinions tend to cover a far greater field than media do. People's thoughts and opinions ult
  • by harmonica ( 29841 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:34PM (#15739418)
    What I like about the blogs I read:
    • Good, original content.
    • Certain language skills.
    • Regular updates.
    • A sense of humour.

    And for everything else there's Slashdot. ;-)
  • google brings me to blogs
  • My milkshake brings all the boys to my blog... and they're like, it's better than yours, damn right it's better than yours!
  • Young males go to blogs for free beer and free sex, finding neither.

  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:40PM (#15739464)
    ..... I think I'll quote them in my blog.
  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:41PM (#15739477)
    It depends on which blog you mean. I know what brings people to Roland Piquepaille's blog.
  • Slashdot's the only blog I read because without it how would I know incredibly important things like why young males are more likely to read blogs?! or the Netflix paradox of abundance!
  • Everybody wants to tell others about his success, happyness or important achievements and internet is the best place for that.
  • me. I like slashdot mostly because there is always somebody to dig the news for you ;) Ok thats lazy, but think about the hard part as reading the slashdotters comment and we'll see!
  • by rAiNsT0rm ( 877553 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:57PM (#15739567) Homepage
    I think it is the adding your own thoughts and having (semi)intelligent discussions on the news at hand. It is to the point now that I get a little angry when I read an inflamatory news article on CNN or the likes and can't add my two cents. I like the interactivity to sites like Slashdot, Digg, etc. Even though 99% of the time it ends in a flame fest or some lame latin ipso facto logic argument crap with some pseudo-intellectual in his mom's basement.
  • beats working (Score:3, Interesting)

    by militaunt ( 988730 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:02PM (#15739595)
    i'm 'systems support engineer' for a huge call center at one of the largest online travel booking companies... and i swear, i spend 6 out of 9 hours every day refreshing slashdot and drudge report. oh and irc'ing. sure beats working, not that i have any work to do in the first place. not til they send me for training for the phone switches and all that jazz.

    speaking of beating working... it's time to go home. an hour early, since there's nothing to do and i'm hungry. i love taking a 90 hour paycheck for 10-15 hours of work.
    • Re:beats working (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kfg ( 145172 ) *
      i love taking a 90 hour paycheck for 10-15 hours of work.

      That's why they pay you at 1/10 rate.

    • Re:beats working (Score:2, Insightful)

      by noidentity ( 188756 )
      Wow, it must be nice to waste your day away and get paid for it. You must feel a sense of accomplishment after a hard day's non-work. And no, I don't have a job, but I sure as hell wouldn't enjoy spending my days at home surfing the web or reading sites like Slashdot (I spend about 30 minutes a day here). I never understand why people brag about being paid to waste time at work. Now, it'd make more sense to me if they were bragging about having nothing official to do at work and spending that time working o
    • That's definitely something to be proud of.

      For the record my last role was as network manager for those "phone switches" you so casually mentioned. Not that you don't have plenty of spare time to get up to speed, why, being in a call centre and all where the most important component is... er... the phone switch

      Say hi to those Bangaloreans on your way out

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:04PM (#15739601)
    It forces you to come up with something insightful, witty or at least remotely funny to some arbitrary subject, not something you can pick. That's too easy.

    And it serves exactly the same purpose: The need to SAY something and have people read it, write lengthy diatribes about something nobody really cares about but still, people will read it.

    And unlike conventional blogs, I know people read that junk I write. They mod me down.
    • I just read the :junk you wrote". Not everything can be wrapped up in a nutshell as so many try to do. I like the articles sometimes and don't post much at all. I don't need to be heard or get a rating from anyone. ....umm....what were you saying?
  • Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:07PM (#15739614) Homepage Journal
    Blogs are an easy place to find people who agree with you.
    • Re:Simple (Score:3, Interesting)

      by killjoe ( 766577 )
      But maybe that's a good thing. One thing I appreaciated during the current hostilities in the middle east is hearing the arab perpective. If it wasn't for blogs I would not have any chance at all to hear those voices. Same with the iraqi bloggers. I for one really appreciate that ordinary people can report to us what is happening around them. We all know by now not to rely on any government or large news organization to deliver the truth or the whole story. That's not to say the bloggers don't have their
    • Or disagree with you, as the situation may be. ;)
    • No, they aren't.
  • by happy_place ( 632005 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:29PM (#15739729) Homepage
    I remember when folks got online to share information about challenging technological problems... they exchanged code... and shared configuration tips... wanted to hear what other folks were doing... back in the daze of Usenet, you could find all sorts of folks from experts to beginners, and there was no deep psychological basis for those who stuck around to help... we were just glad to have them online... a bunch of nerds... Nowadays, we'd probably call these guys sickos needed to substitute their lack of self-esteem... blah blah blah... Could it be that some folks still do that? --Ray
    • Could it be that some folks still do that?

      Absolutely. They're just web-based now.

      I certainly wouldn't consider blogs that type of place, but industry-specific portas seem to be where it's at right now.

      There are a couple decent ones in my industry - translation and interpretation. I'm sure that it's this way for the majority of industries where its workers at least feel that they work at a professional level, if not truly represented as such.

    • Could it be that some folks still do that?
      Look it up on google, n00b.
  • why visit a blog? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rucs_hack ( 784150 )
    1: because it covers a topic that interests me.

    2: Because it's run/written by someone I know personally or respect.

    Those reasons are, although (2) is evolved a bit, the exact same reasons why I would read a newspaper, a book, or a leaflet.

    The medium has changed, and analysts feel they need to redefine the same old impulses using new terminology. People don't change that fast. They barely change at all. All that changes is the world they live in.

    People like a constant supply of new 'content'. Not everyone r
  • Daily Kos statistics (Score:5, Informative)

    by coyote-san ( 38515 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:40PM (#15739792)
    I don't recall the exact details, but Daily Kos has been fighting that "young and male [and uninformed]" meme for some time. In the last survey the age profile was fairly flat, with a modest peak in the 40s (iirc), but with strong response well into the 60s and 70s. Young males, ironically, were underrepresented given their relative abundance and their prime candidacy for bearing the weight of current GOP misadventures on their draft-age shoulders.

    The other political blogs I'm on seem to have the same skew, if they report it at all. Technical blogs skew younger, but IIRC even slashdot has a sizeable over-30 and over-40 crowd.
  • Slashdot brings people to blogs []! :)

    -Tom Caudron []
  • First of all, kudos to the author. I haven't checked the numbers or the references, but it looks like a very well researched masters thesis. Certainly a lot better than the normal *expert* analysis.
    One minor gripe, though: Why can't anyone--not even Harvard--teach social scientists that if you rank averages from responses that range from 1 (agree strongly) to 7 (disagree strongly) by "best", 1 should be on the freaking top of the charts?
    Or even better, teach them to put the x-axes on the neutral answer and
  • Because you can find people who are passionate about the same things you are passionate about.
  • My theories (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gettingbraver ( 987276 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @06:04PM (#15739932)
    1) Some who blog are very good writers and enjoy writing.

    2) Some think they are good writers (and aren't) and enjoy writing.

    3) Some like to read and can differentiate between 1 and 2.

    4) Some who like to read can't differentiate between 1 and 2.

    5) Some enjoy the interraction.

    6) Some like to get obnoxious and argue with everyone. See 2.

    7) Some can learn something.

    8) Some think they know everything. See 6.

  • All blogs should be like the Dilbert Blog [], aka the personal blog of Scott Adams. It has everything that a blog needs, as outlined by a poster above. But I mostly like it because its damn funny, and offers a somewhat detached and alternative outlook on life.
  • 50.50% of my readers came to read the blog
    49.19% came for History of the Word Fuck
    (source [])

    Nuff said?
  • is actually just another blog, albeit with soem beefed up commenting system and such, no?
  • During the 90's the world got lost in the web and its, then virtually static existence. Young males who found it easier to read star wars character bios for hours than try and get a girl grew up missing something in their lives. A LIFE!!! So, they created Web 2.0 (doh! I said it). Now they've brought that LIFE to the Web (instead of going out and getting one), where they can, not only read Star Wars bios, but they can discuss the finer points of the character's psyche with other losers rather than conte
  • The only thing that ever brings me to a blog is when they leech off of a news site by trying to sit between the real article and the user.

Loose bits sink chips.