Huh… blogging isn’t a hobby?

Blogging is not a hobby?
Either the SmarterChild AIM bot seems to disagree with me or its programmer didn’t figure it out earlier.

The latest PEW Report entitled “Bloggers: A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers” revealed how the United States had 8% of internet users who actually wrote blogs, while 39% of them read blogs. The study also show how most people blog about their personal lives more so than to treat blogging as a form of journalism (i.e. covering politics, media, technology).

As seen in earlier studies (e.g. Why We Blog, 2004), people keep blogs largely for a variety of reasons. Alex Halavais points out some of the highlights:

  • The most popular reason for keeping a blog was creative expression and sharing a document of your life.
  • Half of bloggers saw this as the major reason for blogging, and 78% were driven by personal experiences to blog.
  • A large proportion saw blogging as a way to stay in touch with friends or family (37% major reason), or network and meet new people (34% minor reason).
  • Only 15% thought of it as a way of making money.
  • Of particular interest to some of the work I’m doing now, 34% saw “sharing practical knowledge or skills” as a major reason for blogging, and 30% found it a minor reason.

Now what do you make of this?
One thing I found particularly “disturbing” was how a majority of the survey respondents were self-identified Livejournal users (13%). While the true majority didn’t know what blog platform they were on (38%), I still think having more Livejournal users in the survey might have skewed the results since I find Livejournal having more social features than other existing blog systems (e.g. friends page, password-protected blogs). I don’t think I’m discriminating bloggers by saying that different blogging platforms provide for different social affordances. I’d love your thoughts on this!

Regardless of my personal critique, there are other interesting bits of information found in this survey. Anyone who’s an academic or educator in this field would benefit from the full report and survey results available online.