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Survey of the Blogosphere

Today's New York Times has an article that I imagine would be of interest to most of you: "Survey of the Blogosphere Finds 12 Million Voices" by Felicia R. Lee. To summarize, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released a report yesterday noting that about 12 million American adults keep blogs and 57 million American adults read blogs.

Much of what's in the report seems rather expected. The plurality of bloggers use their blogs as personal journals, and the majority of bloggers are under the age of 30. Interestingly enough, bloggers are more diverse than the general Internet population. The article notes that 74% of Internet users are white, but only 60% of bloggers are.

But it's more the use of a blog as a personal journal that I find interesting. According to the report, most bloggers have never been published elsewhere, which makes sense given their relative youth. But the majority of people aren't viewing their blogging as a way to publish their work. They view their blogging as a way to share the details of their personal lives.

In some ways, I imagine that it makes it harder to compose a personal letter once a year updating friends and family about one's life. If they're already keeping up with your blog, what new information would you have to share?

The reason the survey fascinates me, however, is that it reminds me that what I see every day on the blogosphere is not the standard thing others see.

My own F-list aggregator tends to give a skewed view of the blogosphere. I tend to read the blogs of the people who chose to read mine. Consequently, although I see the blogs of a self-selected group of friends -- that is, those friends who have chosen to blog -- I also see a lot of blogs of aspiring and working science fiction and fantasy writers. As a result, sometimes I go through the day thinking that everyone out there is or wants to be a writer. And the currently published writers use their blogs partly as a personal journal, but also as a way to promote their published work.

In the end, however, for the vast majority of people blogging isn't just setting up a soapbox from which to pontificate. It's a way to stay in touch with friends and family, with more immediacy than we've ever had before.

The survey does make me curious, though, about the people who are reading here, so for those who would like to participate, feel free to vote in the non-scientific poll in my next post.

Copyright © Michael Burstein

Comments

Cute!

I take it that's today's strip? Is there a permalink of sorts to find that particular one later?
Why are you pointing me to something where the first thing I read is how annoying someone found my story? I'd rather you not do that.
I won't do so in the future. Sorry, I had good intentions.
I accept your apology, but what "good intentions" are you talking about? You chose to point me towards someone telling me how annoying they found my story. What were your intentions, exactly?
First I operated under the assumption that any publicity was good publicity. I thought you'd be interested in what people thought about your stories. Secondly, she explained what she didn't like about the story - so I thought the feedback might have been useful. Admittedly, her criticism doesn't provide any pointers to how to improve things in the future, but I didn't think things through that deeply.

Again, I won't direct your attention to negative comments about your work in the future. Upsetting or depressing you was not a goal I was trying to achieve.
You know, I do look for useful critique when I'm writing my stories, and I do appreciate good feedback, but I think you're missing part of what happened here.

In reply to my post about blogging, you bring up a relevant topic (and one that I actually have found of interest in the past) for two paragraphs, but then say, "On an entirely different note, have you seen this?" where the word "this" is a direct link to the words, "I just read Michael Burstein's Telepresence, and it's adequately written but seriously annoying." You give me no warning, no lead-in, nothing like, "This may interest you, but the person starts with some criticism, so if you're having a bad day you might want to ignore the link" -- just a blank link with no clue that I'm about to walk into something that's going to throw me into a mood.

Also, my LiveJournal is something like a public parlor space that I run, which means that you've posted the link here for anyone reading who is curious about it. So it's like coming into my home, where I'm having a bunch of people over, and bringing a magazine that contains a bad review of one of my stories, and showing it around. If you came across a piece of criticism that you thought was helpful, and your serious goal was that you wanted to help me improve my writing, surely an email would have worked just as well.
That is a completely valid and quite different criticism from what I originally apologized for,
so I'll apologize again. I did intend to send you a personal email, but when I couldn't find
your address in ny work email and I could only find the email to Julie on your web site,
I took the lazy way out, and then compounded the laziness by not properly introducing what I was pointing to.

I have deleted my original post - I hope that was the right thing to do.

Larry
I mostly blog because, given my absolute hatred of telephones and inability to get to the post office, it's a way of reassuring my friends and family that I am, in fact, not dead.

Otherwise I get hundreds of messages on my answering machine, which I never check, but the blinky red light is so accusing. 'Miserable excuse for a daughter, your mum thinks you're dead.' it says. (Sort of.) So... personal-life blogging as preventative measures?
My wife started blogging because she was often too busy to respond to email. So a friend gave her a LiveJournal code and told her just to post at least once a week that she wasn't dead. And look where it's lead...
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