Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Pew Report Charts Progress of Blogs into World of Mainstream Content : Are Professionals Catching Up or Ahead?

The Pew Internet & American Life Project reeport on "The State of Blogging" dishes up some interesting statistics: blog readership is up 58 percent in 2004, representing 27 percent of all Internet users, and seven percent of U.S. adults - more than 8 million people - have created a weblog or web-based diary. While more than 62 percent of Amercians do not know what a weblog is this represents significant penetration in a very short period of time, similar to the growth of Web usage in the 1990s but accelerated by the in-place availability of high quality data networks. In short, it's officially time to acknowledge that weblogs have become a thoroughly mainstream option for content consumers, in need of some maturity but definitely on the road to maturity and effective monetization. Still, only 5 percent of Internet users have used RSS news feed readers or XML readers to pump weblogs into their personal computers and handhelds: to most people, weblogs are just another form of Web-based content, not yet part of their personal content infrastructure.

XML feeds are one arena in which weblogs may be playing a larger role in professionally-oriented content than with consumer content, delivering both text and data to a wide variety of commercial and academic audiences. A great example that Shore team affiliate Russell Perkins uncovered is at The University of British Columbia (UBC)Bioinformatics Centre, a directory of curated links in an XML-based format that can be subscribed to as a weblog feed to update one's own Web site or databases. Being able to publish, update and deliver content of all kinds is easier than ever, including for those in the thick of professionally-oriented content. Consider weblogs a content medium whose time has come on many levels.
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