By the numbers

Mike Mitchell sent me the link to a Gallup Poll about blogging published
today. The bottom-line can be summed up by one paragraph.

Gallup’s annual Lifestyle survey, conducted Dec. 5-8, 2005, finds only 9% of
Internet users saying they frequently read blogs, another 11% read them
occasionally, 13% say they rarely read them, while 66% never read them.

The tone of the article suggests that maybe blogs are a fad losing steam or
just not significant because the numbers aren’t terribly high. Maybe. On the
other hand, David Sifry of Technorati has some new data too.

..the truth is that the blogosphere continues to grow at a quickening pace.
Technorati currently tracks 27.2 Million weblogs, and the blogosphere we track
continues to double about every 5.5 months… The blogosphere is over 60 times
bigger than it was only 3 years ago.

What’s going on? Well, I think the overlooked thing about blogging is that it’s
not just about readership, it’s about writing, participating, and community.
Literally millions of people are using new tools of communication to
participate in the social idea process who weren’t part of it 10 years ago.

The longer I blog on FISpace–2.5 years now–the more I like the sense of
community from being part of a group of people who write to the blog or comment
on it. I have a feeling of belonging to a team, and I find that satisfying. I
think there is a small group of people who regularly follow what’s posted here
and, hopefully, it contributes to their thinking. That’s all FISpace was
started for.

The thrust of the net now (perhaps it always has been) is enabling people to
aggregate into communities large and small. It may be around blogs or Flickr
photos or the buffet of stuff on MySpace. What makes new media different from
old is that personal communication webs have more adhesive in them. The new
media enable people to stick to each other more. Blogs are not newspapers;
podcasts are not radio; vlogs will not be TV. IMHO, being able to perceive this
subtle difference is key to using the internet successfully for our kind of
social purposes.