Blogad survey and Gallup poll

Blogging as a medium is still in its infancy.  So just who reads blogs.  Henry Copeland who runs blogads conducted his second survey by mailing notices to the  top 100 bloggers who spread the word.

Those who responded are self-selected and more political than most Americans.  Democrats comprised 39.3% of those who responded; Republicans were 27.3% and Independents were 27.3%.

What Copeland found most interesting was just how many qualified as opinion-makers, having satisfied the qualifications for "influential" set by Roper ASW to identify those 10% who set the agenda and steer the opinions of the other 90%.  Just what percentage of blog readers qualify as influentials awaits further analysis;

The survey results are quite interesting, but remember these are self-selected responders from a particular subset.

  • 75% are over 30
  • 75% are men
  • One reader in five is a blogger
  • 43% have household income over $90k
  • Education is the most represented profession (14%); second is computers, software and tech at 10.5%; lawyers, third at  7.1%.
  • 50% (the highest for any media) rank blogs tops in usefulness for news and opinion

What I found most interesting is WHY people read blogs.

  • 75.3%  for news they can't read elsewhere
  • 74.6% for a better perspective
  • 60.6% for more honesty
  • 59.8% for faster news
  • 46.7% for more personality

So far, we see a picture of an actively involved, upscale, intelligent audience.  Readers of blogs also read Atlantic Monthly, the Economist, the New Yorker, National Geographic, the Nation, National Review, Newsweek and the Wall St Journal.

Now let's take a look at what the Gallup Organization found in its new survey on blogging, Bloggers Not Yet in the Big Leagues."   Alas, the survey results are behind a paid subscription, but the Mystery Pollster tells us a lot.  First he quotes from Gallup's introduction:

Relatively few Americans are generally familiar with the phenomenon of blogging...Three-quarters of the U.S. public uses the Internet at work, school, or home, but only one in four Americans are either very familiar or somewhat familiar with blogs...More to the point, fewer than one in six Americans (15%) read blogs regularly (at least a few times a month). Just 12% of Americans read blogs dealing specifically with politics this often.

Mystery Pollster then observes:

No, the collective reach of blogs is nowhere near that of television or print media, but focusing on the relatively small percentages misses the rapidly growing influence of the blog readership in absolute terms.  The 12% that say they read political blogs at least a few times a month amount to roughly 26 million Americans.  That may not make blogs a "dominant" news source, but one American in ten ads up to a lot of influence

The most remarkable finding is the pattern we would expect in blog readership by age that gets buried near the end of the report. According to Gallup, monthly readership of all blogs (not just political) is 15% overall, but much greater among younger Americans..
.The age gap in blog reading is particularly noteworthy because it is a complete reversal of the typical age pattern gap for news consumption.

Mickey Kaus points out, "If 12% of Americans really read political blogs, as Gallup reports, that's not a small number. It's an astonishingly large number." 

One commenter pointed out that the real lede was buried.

(a) blogs are this influential while still reaching such a small public  (b) blog readership and participation are still growing at explosive rates.    My conclusion is, we're just at the beginning.

I agree that we are just at the beginning.  We've not yet seen the impact of blogging tools on smaller online communities.  People going through traumatic life changes increasingly turn to the Internet as their primary source of information.  As communities begin to form around life changes, people can directly support and be supported by people who have been through the same life and have a lot of practical advice and tips to share.    I also believe that as people will increasingly depend on their "trusted bloggers" to filter from the ongoing information wave, the important information they care about. 

Posted by Jill Fallon on March 14, 2005 at 6:54 PM | Permalink | TrackBack
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