The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

6 October 2003

Damned lies and statistics

The research company Perseus has gazed upon the face of the blogosphere, and likes it not much.

The Perseus report, as described in The Register, says that over 90 percent of bloggers are under thirty, and more than half are teenagers. Which means the typical blog — well, read it yourself:

[It] is written by a teenage girl who uses it twice a month to update her friends and classmates on happenings in her life.

On reflection, apart from the update schedule, this sounds rather more like my site than I'd care to admit.

Of 2.7 million blogs surveyed, one million had but a single post and then were presumably abandoned; the average blog is updated every two weeks.

I have to wonder, though: if Perseus actually looked at 2.7 million blogs, and one of those blogs was InstaPundit, which is updated approximately every 53.6 seconds, the vast majority of personal sites must be even worse than they report.

Of course, no report from Perseus is complete without commentary from Medusa, but that will have to wait.

(Update, 2 pm: A summary of the Perseus report is available here. It states up front that the blogs evaluated were all hosted by services specializing in same — specifically, Blog-City, BlogSpot, Diaryland, LiveJournal, Pitas, TypePad, Weblogger and Xanga — which means that no blog on its own domain was included in the survey. No wonder the results seem skewed. See also Xrlq's comments below.)

Posted at 7:49 AM to Blogorrhea

TrackBack: 3:24 AM, 7 October 2003
» Wait No More, My Darling from Electric Venom
The only comment I have in this respect is thus: they can bite me where I pee. If blogging was entirely about updating one's loved ones, friends or classmates about the happenings (or lack thereof) in one's life, then snail mail would be adequate, now,......[read more]

TrackBack: 7:46 PM, 7 October 2003
» Linky Stuff from random ruminations
Sometimes The Venomnous One just cracks me up. I found this a scream. I needed something like this. Thanks, TVO..... :) (OABTW, if you haven't read her FA(S)Q, then do. But notice it's not for the faint-of-heart.......[read more]

"I have to wonder, though: if Perseus actually looked at 2.7 million blogs, and one of those blogs was InstaPundit, which is updated approximately every 53.6 seconds, the vast majority of personal sites must be even worse than they report."

Either that, or there just aren't enough Instapundit-like blogs out there to make up for all the personal sites.

Posted by: Xrlq at 10:41 AM on 6 October 2003

Surely there aren't. I am minded of a response by the Playboy Advisor (I think Chip Rowe was on the job at the time) regarding some frequency-of-sex survey, to the effect that "With Hef factored in, the national average is twice a day." Given the numbers quoted elsewhere in the piece, one is forced to conclude that HMH is doing the deed something like fourteen times a minute, which, even in the Age of Viagra, seems implausible. :)

I've stumbled across some teenage sites — have linked to a few at times — and by and large, they don't seem all that static. Then again, it seems reasonable that I might be more likely to stumble across a blog that's comparatively active than one that's lying fallow somewhere.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:18 AM on 6 October 2003

There's probably a bit of double-counting, as well. A lot of us, myself included, have defunct blogs still standing on hosts like Blog*Spot.

Posted by: Xrlq at 11:45 AM on 6 October 2003

I admit I hadn't even thought of that. (How long before BSpot closes down an inactive blog? One year? Two years? Or does it sit there forever, gathering microdust?)

Posted by: CGHill at 11:52 AM on 6 October 2003

I have a fallow "practice blog" laying around somewhere, too, and I'm inclined to think Xrlq is right about the survey including such "abandoned" blogs.

On the other hand... and I'm willing to believe it's just my "venomousness" coming out, for which I'll take my usual whipping... but I've never once thought of online diaries and blogs as being the same thing. Kissing cousins, perhaps, but distinctly different nevertheless.

Posted by: Venomous Kate at 3:30 AM on 7 October 2003

What makes a blog different is its reliance on outside links; you're pointing out stuff to your readers that they might otherwise have missed. This is not a feature of a diary or journal. Other than that, the line is blurry.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:31 AM on 7 October 2003

Right. But I suspect that Perseus - and the other studies purporting to analyze "the whole of the blogosphere" - don't draw that distinction.

Posted by: Venomous Kate at 12:41 PM on 7 October 2003

So they don't count my site as a blog. Or even Instapundit, come to think of it.


Kate, whether you think of them as blogs or not, online diaries qualify. Many of them, if not most of them, include links to their buddies' blogs. They're updated frequently. They have blogrolls.

There are a lot more of them than there are political blogs or tech blogs.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish at 11:51 PM on 7 October 2003