Thursday, July 25, 2024

A Blog Only Media Diet

Something has been bugging me since I started this blog last year and I want to try to get to the root of it. The year 2004 was a major milestone for blogging.

Consider the following: bloggers had a key role in the Presidential campaign, the word “blog” was added to Webster’s dictionary, ABC named bloggers their “people of the year,” Microsoft launched a blogging platform and on and on and on. More importantly, the press has fallen in love with bloggers. Every day Google News turns up hundreds of articles that mention them.

Nevertheless, despite the buzz, Pew reports that 28% of online users read blogs. Now 28% is hardly anything to sneeze at. In fact, Pew also reports that blog readership rocketed up 58% last year. In addition, my regular readers know that I believe the bigger story here is about the influencers who are reading/writing blogs, not their actual reach.

Yet something is still bugging me. When I talk about blogs to people who aren’t heavy online users, they look at me with a blank stare like I have nine heads. My theory: there’s a gap between the media hype about blogs and the actual awareness of what they are.

To delve into this further I am going to conduct an experiment, similar to the one I did last year when I lived on a blog-only media diet for a week (more here). Next Wednesday, January 19, I am going to hit the streets of Manhattan for an hour or so to ask as many consumers as time allows three basic questions: 1) do you know what a blog is, 2) if yes, do you read blogs, and 3) which blogs, if any do you, read.

I’d like you to join me. If you live in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, LA, San Jose, Montreal, Springfield, Main Street USA or anywhere in between, please consider launching a similar experiment so that we can benchmark our experiences. This goes for my international readers as well. While this experiment is no way scientific, nor is it meant to undermine the work of the respected Pew Center,

I feel a need to gain some first-hand, rudimentary understanding for how many folks have heard of blogging and what they’re reaction is when they hear the word blog.

Who wants to join me? Does anyone have ideas to add here?

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

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