Fast Company

State of the Blogosphere: Blogs Growing Up, Overlapping Mainstream, Embracing Brands

blogosphere

Blogging is growing up as a career, and its practitioners are growing up, too, according to Technorati's new "State of the Blogosphere" report. Blogging is also overlapping mainstream media in consumer's minds and embracing brands.

Among the slew of data generated by surveying bloggers from 24 nations, come a bunch of headline figures about bloggers as a species: Two thirds of bloggers are male, and 65% are age 18-44 years old. 81% have been blogging for more than two years, and professionals blog an average of over 10 hours a week. Interestingly, the blogger demographic is "more affluent and educated than the general population," with 79% having college degrees and 43% possessing graduate degrees, too.

Measuring how blogging is growing up as a career, the survey data revealed that part-time, corporate, and self-employed bloggers are blogging much more than they did in 2009, while hobbyist bloggers are updating their publications much less frequently.

Reflecting a trend for increased digital publishing of all types, and acting as a nice demonstration of how digital publishing is overtaking print publishing in places like the newspaper world, a full 33% of bloggers said they used to work in traditional mainstream media. Among "corporate" bloggers, this figure rises to 49%, or nearly one in two--indicating, perhaps, that companies are beginning to favor promotion of their goods and services using digital media rather than print or broadcast.

The enmity between blogging and traditional media is still alive and well, however, and it seems that while blogging is indeed getting more professional, that message hasn't spread throughout all of the marketing and PR industries: 64% of bloggers noted they are treated "less professionally" by "brand representatives" than typically for traditional media representatives.

And here's a measure of how staple journalistic practices aren't necessarily being lost in the new medium (a common statement trotted out by folk irked at the decline of the print industry): 59% of bloggers who knew about the FTC ruling on "brand endorsements" said it hadn't had any effect on their blogging activities, and 42% of all bloggers said they wrote about brands they both love and hate.

This brand awareness is also being demonstrated in the consumer survey that Technorati's also undertaken, for the first time, in parallel to the Blogosphere report. The question responses here revealed a trend that will be of vital importance to the marketing world: "While the blogosphere has not replaced traditional media, it is becoming more firmly entrenched as an information source, and consumer trust in traditional media is dropping." Furthermore, it looks like blogs and social media are outstripping "many traditional media" in terms of "generating consumer recommendations and purchases."

purchasing survey results

There's plenty more data in there, but the headline summary would seem to be that blogging is rapidly becoming more professional, and it's challenging the mainstream media in terms of influence over consumer spending habits. Newspaper moguls the world over: The writing is on the (status update) wall, and your paywall strategies may have to change.

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