The Washington Post had an interesting summary of the Pew Internet & American Life Project blogging survey. In short, here is the typical profile of a blogger:
More than half are under 30
Only 15% blog to make money
They use blogs for creative expression
Motivation tends to be personal (keeping up with family / friends and meeting new people)
Here are a few choice quotes from the Washington Post article:
They consider themselves digital natives.
They’re young. They’re addicted to instant messaging and social networks. And they’re more apt to dish about the drama at last night’s party than the president’s latest faux pas.
“The average blogger is a 14-year-old girl writing about her cat,” said Alexander Halavais, an assistant professor of interactive communications at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.
Typical bloggers are not ranting about politics or trying to be hard-core journalists, he said. “The survey shows that blogging is really a community-based activity and a way of connecting with people.”
Apparently, the TechMeme crowd (those of us over 14, not blogging about our pets) appear to be in a minority. The beauty of the long tail is that we can blog about a variety of topics and find an audience of like-minded people who share our passion for a topic. A 14 year-old blogging about her cat will have readers who care about her or her cat, while people who are passionate about open culture would be likely to read my blog.
Open culture is a fairly specialized topic, and I will never have millions of readers on this blog, nor do I necessarily want millions of readers. I would rather have a few dozen readers who are passionate and knowledgeable about the topic. The point is that within the long tail, we can each find our niche, regardless of what the research finds about the “typical” blogger.