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Bloggers are storytellers

**This post has been edited because version 1 was unclear.
Blog world is inhabited by different kinds of villagers, who have different voices and missions. Pew research recently found out more about us, publishing this.

Pew/Internet Bloggers: A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers, July 19 2006. Here is a link to the 33 page PDF.

I am one of those story tellers. It is also coincidential that in recent days I have been doing some research on how my internet story telling is faring. I’ll say more about this after I give you a little more about this very interesting (to me, at least) report.

The original news source, Marketing VOX is title linked above and illustrated with one of Pew’s tables. For my purposes I have italicized the ways this information applies to me in the following quote (their links),

About 34 percent of bloggers consider blogging as a form of journalism; 65 percent don’t, according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, reports Reuters. Some 77 percent of bloggers say they blog to express themselves creatively rather than get noticed or paid, according to Pew.
Some 37 percent of bloggers cite their life and experiences as their primary topic, followed by politics and government at 11 percent, entertainment at 7 percent, followed by sports (6 percent), news (5 percent), religion or spirituality (2 percent).

Comparing myself to this sample* – I read the study, looking for where I fit among the research respondents. I found that sometimes I am with a majority on a particular question; sometimes I am in the minority. Here’s what I learned, which illustrates a little about me as a blogger. Like 54% of the respondents, I have never formally published elsewhere. Here are the other categories into which I fit:

  • Blogging: 62% are first-time bloggers, 2% use Blogspot as I do. 30% have been blogging for 2-3 years, 17% have two blogs, 77% blog “for creative expression.” (S/SW is political and news, Southwest Blogger is more personal and creative)
  • Authors: 55% use pseudonym- I am “CarolGee.” 70% of blogs have single authors
  • For whom? 32% write for an audience, 14% blog for themselves and an audience equally
  • Reader traits: 17% have 10-99 “hits” per day. 60% say they have been noticed by other bloggers, 52% have been noticed also by family and friends. 10% received attention from public officials, political campaigns or politicians. 35% have readers they’ve never met (more males age 50+ than females), 14% had a combination of the above types of site visitors
  • Contents: 64% blog on different topics, 35% on a single topic. 5% focus on general news, or current events
  • Why write? Something from the news media inspires 55% to post, (more are Dems and Independents than Republicans). 54% were inspired to post by others’ blogs. 37% write about “my life & experiences.” 52% blog “for me.”
  • Frequency:10% spend 10+ hrs/week blogging. 13% post new material daily, viewing is as “journalism.” 13% say it is a “big part of my life”
  • News junkies: 72% of bloggers go online for news and info. 47% get news from a blog (26% on a typical day). 95% of bloggers say the internet is their news source. 85% read newspapers, 75% watch TV news on typical day. 64% are online from home several times a day (40% because getting the news off the internet is “more convenient”), 40% desire a “wider range of views,” “9% “want more in-depth news and views,” 18% a combination of the above
  • Non-personals: 11% of bloggers write about “politics & government.” 5% of bloggers say they write about general news & current events
  • Preferences: 45% of readers prefer news with no political point of view. 18% choose sources with a similar POV to their own
  • Blogger traits: 60% are white. 46% are women. 2% are age 65+. 51% are suburban, 79% have Broadband
  • Bloggers with a sense of “Community“: 87% allow comments, 41% carry a blogroll (29% have 10-49 on that list), 18% offer RSS feed, 46% are listed on someone else’s blogroll, 29% are linked back. 90% read others’ blogs; 16% at least 3-5/week. 82% post comments to others’ blogs
  • Why blog? We blog for: creative expression-52%; 48% to store information (more older bloggers do this); to share practical knowledge/skills 64% (applies to more older bloggers); to motivate others to action 61%; to influence others’ thinking 50% (more males have this motivation)
  • Blogging as journalism: 34% see it as such; therefore, 35% link to original sources, 35% fact-check, 15% quote directly (more are over age 30, and more educated, but fewer are women)
  • Creativity: 44% use creative materials from internet sources (80% text, 72% photos, 49% images), 77% shared their own creations
  • Blogger techies: 89% use cell phone, 56% have a laptop, 28% use a PDA.
  • Facts and figures from the survey: Medians: hrs/week=2; #on bloggroll=10; #blogs that link to me=13. In the Millions: internet users=147 mil, blog readers=57 mil, bloggers=12 mil. U.S. comparisons: 27% adults have a college degree, 37% of bloggers are degreed. 13% of adults are knowledge-based professionalss, 38% of bloggers are knowledge-based. 16% are students, 38% of bloggers are students

Regarding South by Southwest, I looked at the previous three months traffic on my site. These are the things that seemed to increase the number of visitors to my blog. The posts had a good number of accurate Technorati tags. Posting before 9:00 in the morning was effective. Topical posts, in sync with the big news of the day worked well. Few visitors also meant no comments. Strangely, during the period when I was not posting regularly because I was not well or I was on vacation, the number of visitors remained at an almost average level. I can only surmise that these folks were regular readers “stopping by my porch,” so to speak. Thanks for that.

*Note that the authors say that the low number of respondents is a significant limitation to this study.

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My “creative post” today at Southwest Blogger is about city mice vs. country mice.

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4 thoughts on “Bloggers are storytellers

  1. My instinct is to be a storyteller too.

    Thanks for posting – interesting to see the data.

    I think story is a great way to write a posting – it allows for others to find their place in the story and draw out their unique perspective or sense of relevance.

    In some ways I also think it encourages more comments.

    Thanks again for extending this conversation.

  2. My instinct is to be a storyteller too.

    Thanks for posting – interesting to see the data.

    I think story is a great way to write a posting – it allows for others to find their place in the story and draw out their unique perspective or sense of relevance.

    In some ways I also think it encourages more comments.

    Thanks again for extending this conversation.

  3. Michael, thanks for the comment. I see by your 7/21 blogpost (complete with illustration) that you, indeed are a good story teller. Not only that but you are a historian, as well. We forget history at our peril. The Irish/Roman parallel to today is chilling.
    By the way, I think you would enjoy this site that “sits at the intersection of Anthropology and Economics.”
    Thanks so much for entering the conversation.

  4. Michael, thanks for the comment. I see by your 7/21 blogpost (complete with illustration) that you, indeed are a good story teller. Not only that but you are a historian, as well. We forget history at our peril. The Irish/Roman parallel to today is chilling.
    By the way, I think you would enjoy this site that “sits at the intersection of Anthropology and Economics.”
    Thanks so much for entering the conversation.

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