Friday, April 08, 2005

Hi, I'm Dave. Welcome to my Dark Pit of Irrelevance.

Editor and Publisher reports that — notwithstanding the wide press coverage devoted to bloggers since the summer of 2004 — most Americans have no idea what a blog actually is. According to the people at Gallup,
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, Gallup reports.

More than half, 56%, have no knowledge of them. And even among Internet users, only 32% are very or somewhat familiar with blogs.

There’s no question that blog popularity is spreading by leaps and bounds. But as of late February, when this poll was conducted, only 3% of Americans said they read blogs every day. Fewer than one in six, 15%, read blogs at least a few times a month.

Not surprisingly, there is an age gap here. About 21% of those 18 to 29 read blogs at least monthly, but only 7% of those over 65 do so.

Gallup found no gender gap but some political angle, as 24% of liberals say they read blogs at least monthly while only 15% of conservatives do.

In a separate question focusing on those who read blogs that cover “political issues,” Gallup found that 2% of all adults read them every day, 4% once a week, 6% once a month, and 11% less than that, with 48% never reading them.

Among all those prone to visit blogs in general, 7% said they visited poltical blogs once a day, 13% once a week, and 20% once a month.
At least now I know that my poor performance among over-65 Americans is structural, not personal. Then again, as an academic working at a small state university on the outskirts of civilization, I am one of the few people who can say that blogging has actually increased my readership. After all, I get seventy-five unique visitors each day here, which is probably fifteen times the number of people who have read any of my published articles. At this rate, it will only take me 45 years to catch up with hotshots like Michael Bérubé. Though I'd say the road is considerably more steep for this guy.