Pew Blogger Study


From Matthew Stibbe, I found out about this article in Salon about bloggers. The source document is a callback survey by Pew Internet that’s located here (how’s that for spreading link love?).

The Blogger Callback Survey, sponsored by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (PIAL), obtained telephone interviews with 233 self-identified bloggers from previous surveys conducted for PIAL. The interviews were conducted in English by Princeton Data Source, LLC from July 5, 2005 to February 17, 2006. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ±6.7%.

I found these stats particularly interesting:

  • Percentage who don’t use traditional sources for news or information: newspaper 17%; television 14%; magazine 34%; radio 24%.

  • 62% didn’t have a web site before they started blogging.

  • The median amount of hours spent working on one’s blog was two hours per week. (It takes me five hours to write an entry like The Wrong Tale—and that’s not counting the time it took to read the book.)

  • 52% said they blog for themselves as opposed to for their audience.

  • 55% use a pseudonym for blogging. (So people are blogging for themselves but using a pseudonym to hide their identities from themselves?)

  • 59% don’t provide an RSS feed. (If you’re blogging for yourself, you don’t really need an RSS feed.)

  • 84% say that their blog is a hobby or something they don’t spend a lot of time on. (This is how I approach my day job now that I’ve started blogging.)

  • 65% don’t consider their blog a form of journalism. (I’d say this about my blog too.)

There’s lots of interesting info in this study, so check it out.

By | 2016-10-24T14:25:34+00:00 July 20th, 2006|Categories: Blogging|17 Comments

About the Author:

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.


  1. Eddy Young July 20, 2006 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    I have been through different phases. At one point, I was blogging for others with editorial-style posts, then moved on to personal blogging, at which point my blog turned into an online diary. Now, I am trying to go back to writing for readers.

  2. Tomasz Korwel July 20, 2006 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Sometimes people use pseudonyms because they are better known under it than under their own names.
    Then I would say, many don’t provide RSS blog because they have no clue what is it or how to get it working unless it’s done automatically
    And finally, I think that everyone like to be admired. I won’t say what we are talking about you Guy, but believe me – event the strongest “I’m blogging for my self” blogger will be glad to hear that somebody read his blog.

  3. Tricia July 20, 2006 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    THANK YOU for revealing how long it took you to compose “The Wrong Tale” – I also have spent HOURS on some of my more detailed posts and was beginning to think there was something wrong with me – cognitively.
    Anyway, interesting stats and mostly in line with what I’d expect – though 84% calling it a hobby does seem high to me, and I actually think 55% using a pseudonym seems on the low side. I think people generally blog under pseudonyms either because they are trying to maintain some amount of anonymity (it’s ok if people read their posts as long as they can’t link it directly to them personally) or because they’re using their blog as an opportunity to just be creative and that includes coming up with a alter ego. I’ve definitely come across many blogs whose “about” profile is cryptic or missing.

  4. John Dodds July 21, 2006 at 6:10 am - Reply

    It was a fascinating survey but I was disappointed that they didn’t break down some of the findings by age.
    I intuitively think that a greater proportion of younger bloggers engage in the diary style of blogging and would like that confirmed. This may after all be the reason for the high percentage calling it a hobby.
    This also speaks to what I found to be an insightful result – “about half of bloggers (49%) believe that their blog readership is mostly made up of people they personally know. Another third of bloggers (35%) believe that their readers are mostly people they have never met. Female bloggers and younger bloggers (age 18-29) are more likely than men or other age groups to say that mostly people they know personally read their blog. People whose blogs are read mostly by strangers are generally male, age 50 or older, and live in higherincome households. ”

  5. Dan July 21, 2006 at 6:19 am - Reply

    I finally put statcounter on my blog and discovered I truly am blogging for myself!

  6. Michal Sobczyk July 21, 2006 at 6:27 am - Reply

    Guy, you’re not a typical blogger and your commitment to blogging shows great results. I’d say you’re Steve-Pavlina-type of blogger. Longer and valuable portions of info. I really enjoy it.
    But why don’t go video? Buy a camera and record speeches. I must say you’re an even better speaker than writer. Ten times!

  7. Mike Sansone July 21, 2006 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Funny editorial on the 2nd-to-last point. I wonder if this survey was conducted during business hours?
    One of the most important blogging tools? A kitchen timer!

  8. Kuanyin July 21, 2006 at 10:34 am - Reply

    I feel the blogosphere is changing, and that these stats are quickly becoming outdated as others discover the marketing potential of blogs. I have six blogs, and only one is quasi personal, although they all have ‘some’ personal qualities to them which attracts readership to some degree. This survey and your post will likely find its way into my humor blog, I’ve written on this subject matter in said blog and will again now that I have some more info. Mahalo!

  9. ALFONSO CEVOLA July 21, 2006 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Very Interesting….thanks for the info
    On the Wine Trail in Italy

  10. J.C. July 21, 2006 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    I blog for my work and I blog for personal sites, and while dreams of becoming the next Guy Kawasaki may be futile, I sure hope I’m not just blogging for myself, especially since there are many more efficient ways to document my life and learning for myself than logging onto a website.
    It takes me hours to write some posts, especially if I’m posting links and audio (which there is a lot of audio to put up for work), or if I’m writing original content after some research and checking multiple sources. I hope that my blogs are giving someone a little enjoyment or spreading a little knowledge, otherwise, I can just stick to notepads and paper journal and not care about handwriting and spell checking.

  11. ann michael July 21, 2006 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Guy – it’s nice to know that it takes you 5 hours to do some posts. I find that it takes me a while too.
    Dan – you made me laugh out loud! I’ll read your blog!!!

  12. Sports Guy July 21, 2006 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    62% didn’t have a web site before they started blogging.
    I thought that this number would be much higher. It seems like everyone and their mother has a blog now. 62% just looks really low.

  13. mstibbe July 22, 2006 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Thanks for the link.
    I come from a journalist background and I’m a professional writer so blogging is probably more like work for me than many bloggers. Certainly, I find it quite easy to write posts when I’m not drowning in deadlines.
    It came as a real (and very pleasant) surprise to find that I had readers. Initially, I thought my blog might be read occasionally by my customers and would be a useful alternative to a traditional brochureware site for people who were thinking of hiring me. However, it turns out that my visitors stats keep going up and people are emailing and commenting a lot. I find this utterly addictive and very rewarding.
    I enjoy writing posts I think readers might like (as with the ‘who blogs’ one you referenced). But I struggle with the desire to write posts that I think will generate a lot of transient traffic and give me a huge ego boost by bumping up my stats without really addressing the core purpose of my blog – to write about writing. I guess a bit of both works. No point having great content if no-one knows you’re there!

  14. Joe July 24, 2006 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    “55% use a pseudonym for blogging. (So people are blogging for themselves but using a pseudonym to hide their identities from themselves?)”
    That’s so their blog can’t be used against them when they are job hunting 😉
    A true blog is (was) a collection of links to other sites. That concept is dead. Then it transmogrified into personal diaries. Now, blogging is an easy way to have your own website, without knowing HTML (or CSS, JS, Ajax, etc), yet still have rich information. The term blog has certainly redefined itself over it’s short lifespan. My sister’s blog, is a business tool. Without a blog she would be able to devote the time to coding and updating a website. The blog allows her to focus on writing articles.

  15. Johan July 25, 2006 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    “52% said they blog for themselves as opposed to for their audience.
    55% use a pseudonym for blogging. (So people are blogging for themselves but using a pseudonym to hide their identities from themselves?)”
    Hmm… Not necessarily the same ~50% 😉

  16. Sarah Newton November 6, 2007 at 11:50 am - Reply

    I write for my audience although its difficult when writing about a specialist to keep the goal audience in focus. Some complain that the blog doesnt take into account the varying levels of knowledge about the subject while others think Im dumbing it down.

  17. Sarah Newton November 6, 2007 at 11:52 am - Reply
    This is my URL by the way! Whoops

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