Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Only 8% of Americans read blogs says Dave Poltrack

I found this quote from my cousin in the Sacramento Bee (link no longer available):

"One of the things that's probably overstated by the press is how many people are visiting online blogs," Poltrack said in a presentation to TV critics. "I think you all blog each other, but I'm not sure the rest of the world is joining in the process that much."
In a conversation later, Poltrack said he would guess the majority of people who do read blogs are bloggers themselves.
"That does not leave a whole lot of real people who spend their time with blogs," he said.

Hmm, interesting observation Dave. I know a number of "real" people that may not read blogs but use variants of them. There is nothing new and revolutionary about Blogs.... they have a long history. The term "blog" is a shortcut for "web blog". It's such a silly word that produces fun spin-offs like "blogger" and "blog-o-sphere". Ouch!

In the olden days of the 70's when I worked at DEC we used to depend upon notes conferences to do our job. Along with the notes about VAXes and operating systems, there were the personal interest notes conferences like "Archery", "Beer Making" and one of my favorites "UFO's". There was even a conference named "ASKENET" (aka ask the enet), which the user could post a question and presumably someone would know the answer. DEC developers came up with Alta Vista, the first searchable full-text database on the web (think Google precurser).

What does any of the this have to do with those real people who are not reading blogs? They are being replaced by search engines like Google who do read blogs. For example a Google search of poltrack will find about 19,100 hits, many quoting Dave's words, many of these hits are from blogs. I find this interesting and ironical that Google is doing all this reading that real people can't find time for.

I suspect a number of people (maybe exceeding the 8% blog-readers) read customer reviews when they purchase items online. Customer reviews are not technically blogs but they have similar characteristics. A site such as has many of these. I always read reviews of products BEFORE I buy them. Most of the reviews are written by real people who are not shy about telling you the truth before you make your purchase.

What I appreciate about the internet is it's egalitarianism. Individual postings and web sites exist with the same public access as corporate giants such as CBS and Texaco. There was no cost involved with creating this blog, the web sites or the picture gallery except the internet access cost. I suspect that in the future corporate interest will push to create a tiered structure which will give faster connectivity to folks who are willing to pay big $$, but currently it is fairly equal so blog away gentle readers, blog away.