2004: Big Year for Blogs

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Last year proved big for blogs and bloggers, according to data released from The Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Blog readership jumped 58 percent between February and November, and comprised 32 million U.S. citizens in 2004. More than 8 million U.S. citizens have created a Web-based diary, and one in 10, or around 14 million U.S. Internet users, has contributed thoughts or comments to a blog.

The figures released by the Pew Research Center are just the latest in a series of studies on the growth of blogs on the Internet, and show that the online diaries are becoming important sources of information for Internet users.

Despite gains in popularity, blogs are still the domain of Internet cognoscenti. More than 62 percent of those surveyed said they do not know what a blog is, Pew says in a statement.

Steady Growth

Pew began surveying Internet users about blogs in the spring of 2002, and has charted a steady growth in blog readership since 2003, from 11 percent of U.S. Internet users to 27 percent in November 2004.

Most of these readers, 57 percent, are male. Less than half of the surveyed blog readers, 48 percent, are under 30, and a whopping 82 percent are long-time Internet users, with more than six years experience online.

Internet users who were new to the medium, used the Internet less often or had less education were less likely to be bloggers or blog readers, the Pew study finds.

Technology used to read blogs is also beginning to take hold. The study found that 5 percent of Internet users received their news from RSS (Really Simple Syndication) aggregators, or XML (Extensible Markup Language) readers that pull information from blogs and other Web pages.

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