Blogging Headed for the Slow Lane, Suggests Report

Blogging has taken the Internet by storm over the past few years as part of the social networking phenomenon, but Gartner analysts predict that the number of community contributors will peak in the first half of 2007.

Less than 2 percent of all Internet users are frequent content contributors, according to Gartner. Between 10 and 15 percent contribute occasionally, while more than 50 percent are reading or watching what the communities are discussing.

“Given the trend in the average life span of a blogger and the current growth rate of blogs, there are already more than 200 million ex-bloggers. Consequently, the peak number of bloggers will be around 100 million at some point in the first half of 2007,” Gartner said it its report.

Technorati’s Confirmation

There has been a slowdown in the growth of the blogging population, Technorati’s Dave Sifry’s October “State of the Blogosphere” report reveals. However, Sifry pointed to a decline in the number of spam blogs, or “splogs.”

Technorati tracked 100,000 new blogs indexed daily in the third quarter. While that number is down from a peak of 160,000 in June 2006, the difference may or may not relate to lackluster blog growth, the firm said.

Taking into account improvements in dealing with spam, Sifry wrote in his October report, it’s likely that the blogosphere is growing at a steady, though slower, pace — at least, that’s his “gut feeling.”

With yet more data that confirms Gartner’s predictions, however, Technorati shows a leveling off of total posting volume in the blogosphere, with about 1.3 million postings per day in the third quarter. That’s a little slower than what the firm reported in the second quarter, but still about double the volume of the year-ago period.

What Is a Measurable Blog?

“The number of people who thought they could just start blogging and suddenly become rich and famous as a result has peaked, because that’s not how it works,” B.L. Ochman, avid blogger and president of WhatsNextOnline, told TechNewsWorld. “But the blog as a form of communication is here to stay.”

Despite this apparent leveling off, bloggers are earning a voice in the mainstream media. The November elections saw major networks reporting on what bloggers were saying about the election results, and many newspapers have added blogs to their sites, adding credibility to a medium that has been widely adopted by young people on social networks.

There are some established bloggers who have built a following, but there are many others who abandon blogging after two weeks. This latter group can hardly be defined as bloggers, Ochman said.

“There has to be some standard for what constitutes a measurable blog. Someone has to blog on a regular basis before they can be considered a regular blogger,” she explained. “Someone who stopped posting on their blog for two weeks was somebody who never got into it and didn’t become well-versed in using the tools. Blogging is a labor of love.”

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