Michelle Sullivan Communications

Survey of the day : Blogging goes mainstream in U.S.

Mainstream. The rebel in me isn’t thrilled by the idea, but the PR consultant in me certainly is.

According to a new survey by Synovate/Marketing Daily, blogging has officially gone mainstream. « 8 out of 10 Americans know what a blog is and almost half have visited blogs. » It would appear that what was once the purvey of a small subculture has hit the radar screen of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their 2.3 children in the midwest.

But let’s take a closer look at the stats, shall we?

80% of Americans have their own blogs

Huh? Was Tom Mularz, senior vice president at Synovate, misquoted? I’m really not buying this figure. Maybe 80% of lemmings want to sound like they hang with the cool kids, so say they have blogs. Maybe (and I’m stretching it) 80% of them stumbled on Blogger, chose and template, spent 2 minutes thinking about a title and typed test as a first (and last) entry. But there’s no way 80% of people in America have blogs. According to Internet World Stats, although the United States ranks first in Internet usage, it does so with only a 69.7% penetration rate. Sorry folks.

Hmm .. credibility crash. Let’s move on.

90% of those aged 25 to 34 know what a blog is

Was that a yes or no question? Or were they tested through a response? Still, this stat I can accept as semi-plausible.

65% of those aged 65 and over know what a blog is

This is presented as a negative. If it’s true, I’d say that’s not too bad, actually. Ten years ago, my then-55 year old mother (a.k.a. my barometer for this demographic) thought you hung up a cellphone by placing it upside down on the table, as it if the receiver were going into a cradle. That said, a decade later, she has a pretty good idea of what a blog is. Her profile? Urban, upper middle class, bilingual, educated, culturally and socially aware, reads the paper and watches the news nightly. Middle America? Maybe not so much.

78% of those aged 18 to 24 who are aware of blogs say they have visited a blog

Sounds right. The rest just think they know, I suppose.

45% of older Americans who are aware of blogs say they have visited a blog

Ibid.

46% of blog readers saying that they visit the same blogs regularly. 54% usually surf for new and different ones.

Which means, I suppose, that the majority of Americans are using blogs like they do the Internet : to surf. Google is God. RSS feeds need better PR.

More women than men are bloggers, with 20% of American women who have visited blogs having their own versus 14 % of men.

Now that’s interesting. Is this a Venus/Mars thing? With blogging being driven by the same impulse as journal recording was 20 or 100 years ago? When I look around, there are many more male PR bloggers than female ones, although women overwhelmingly dominate the industry. Is this typical across the board? Are women using blogs for personal expression, leaving men to occupy the ‘expert’ space? Gloria Steinem wouldn’t be pleased. I’m going to keep my eyes open.

Though the majority of blog readers (39%) view them less than once a month, another 28% visit them monthly, 15% visit them daily and 5% read them several times a day

There you go. That 39% probably visits a blog cited during an Oprah show or while googling some recipe for low-fat cranberry sauce. Do I sound like a geeky snob? Maybe. I’ll do some introspective analysis and let you know.

43% of blog visitors indicated that they had noticed advertisements on blog websites, rising to 61% among those aged 18 to 24. Almost one-third of consumers have clicked on an ad while reading a blog

Oh god. Save us all. (That’s the rebel in me speaking)

PR chick? She still maintains that good pr beats a pop-up ad any day.

13% of blog readers say they spend less time with other forms of media (newspapers, television, radio) since they’ve started following blogs

The conversation I had with a member of the Gazette staff the other day leads me to suspect that this figure is way higher in Canada.

When asked about the types of information they get from blogs, 65% said they get opinions, while 39% get news and 38% get entertainment. The main reason people read blogs? Almost half of those surveyed say it’s because they find blogs entertaining, and another 26% read them to learn about specific hobbies or other areas they’re interested in. 15% of blog readers say they do so for news

Perez Hilton is laughing all the way to the bank.

The study was conducted online with 1,000 adults in the US using Synovate eNation from July 30 to August 1 2007.

Ok well. There’s your answer right there. Key words : conducted online. Not to mention the small sample. My credibility meter has suddenly gone flat.

The sad thing is that these stats are going to show up on Good Morning America and USA Today for mass consumption without proper analysis. Just goes to show you can make stats say just about anything.

About Synovate

Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 5,700 staff in 118 cities across 52 countries. For more information on Synovate visit www.synovate.com.

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