I swear, if I read one more quote in mainstream media about people whose blogs are about their cats, I’m gonna scream.
Read Kim Hart’s Washington Post story about the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s new study on bloggers here. You can read the study, “Bloggers: a portrait of the internet’s new storytellers” here . Hart quotes me out of context to fit her view of bloggers. It’ll be email interviews for me from now on!
The entire study is based on phone calls to only 233 of the world’s 43.5 million bloggers. That could be a viable number if the sample was less random. The report includes a disclaimer:
“THE LOW NUMBER OF RESPONDENTS IS A SIGNIFICANT LIMITATION TO THIS STUDY”
Hart quotes me:
“Of all the bloggers out there, there are only about 10,000 that have an audience beyond their friends and families,” said B.L. Ochman, a business blogger who tracks online trends. …”It astounds me that people are willing to do this stuff without getting paid,” Ochman said. “I come from a generation that gets paid for our work.”
Yes I said that. But then I also explained that
“the reason so many of us give away our ideas is that blogging is about much more than making money. Blogging is about connection, about being heard, and also about establishing and maintaining one’s reputation as an expert in their field.”
None of that made it into the story because that apparently didn’t fit Hart’s point of view.
As the study notes: “Some observers have suggested that blogging is nothing more than the next step in a burgeoning culture of narcissism and exhibitionism spurred by reality TV and other elements in the modern media environment. But others contest that blogging promises a democratization of voices that can now bypass the institutional gatekeepers of mainstream media. This democratization is thought to have implications for the practice and business of journalism as well as the future of civic and political discourse.”
When MSM thinks of making money, they think of advertising. Sure, there are bloggers making hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad revenues, like Steve Hall at adrants and Tig Tillinghast at MarketingVox. But most successful bloggers make their money from the consulting assignments generated by their blogs.
I make a few sheckels from ads on my blogs, but I make a very good living because my blog is read by Fortune 500 companies, and mainstream media who follow what I write. Consulting, speaking, and other opportunities flow through my blog, as they do for many other successful bloggers.
Many in mainstream still media don’t want to accept that bloggers are doing something more than wasting time. And the more they put down blogging, the farther away from the sea change it has spearheaded and the conversation that has bypassed them. While the Pew report did say that the 233 bloggers it surveyed mostly blog as a hobby, it also noted more interesting and germane information:
– 27 % blog to influence what others think
– 7 % blog to make money (but that’s a flawed premise because they don’t define what “making money” means in this context)
– 34 % blog to share practical knowledge or skills with others,
– 29% blog to motivate other people to action
– 52% blog to express themselves creatively
Add up those numbers, and you see that bloggers freely share information with the hope of motivating people to action and influencing what others think, and that, in a nutshell, is how the conversation began and why it has grown to such epic proportions.
(And before you tell me that I blog about my dog, :>) let me note that this blog is not about Benny Bix.)