Although the concept of "blogging" didn't exist a decade ago, today the number of blogs doubles every five months. And a new blog is created almost every second — that's more than 80,000 every day, according to the blog tracking group Technorati.
"The tools to create blogs have become markedly easier and more accessible," Technorati Founder and CEO David L. Sifry told CBSNews.com. "If the numbers continue going the way that they are, you should expect to see close to 30 million blogs by March of next year and should be seeing 2 million posts a day."
Technorati uses search-engine sorting and update pings to keep tabs on the blogosphere — the name for the expanding universe of Weblogs. Blogs were once mostly personal journals and homepages, made popular by those wanting to share their thoughts immediately and free of cost. Today, many media outlets andas a means for quickly spreading news and ideas.
The August report, called State of the Blogosphere, points to the fast growth of cost-free blogging services, such as Blogger, LiveJournal and use of software such as WordPress and Movable Type as causes for the exponential growth of the blog world.
Sifry said that compared to other groups' statistics, Technorati's might appear low. That's because it uses a conservative definition of "blog," which excludes hosted information pages such as Friendster or Myspace.com.
Technorati's definition: A site that's created and updated using one of the 20 most popular blogging management systems. It must be at least partially public, but need not be regularly updated.
Despite expansion of services and hosts, bloggers' retention rate remains low, the report shows. Just thirteen percent of all blogs that Technorati tracks are updated weekly or more, said the report, and 55 percent of all new bloggers are still posting three months after they start. Some Web users contribute to multiple blogs, a phenomenon Technorati does not specifically track, but estimates that 4 percent of blogs aren't unique to one owner. One in 20 blogs are group blogs, Sifry estimates.
Extra-computer technology is contributing to the blogosphere's ballooning, the report says. Cell phones are used to blog on the go, or "moblog." The report says: "Moblogging sites ... have also been growing as well, as more people are blogging from their camera-enabled mobile phones. Growth has not only occurred in the US, but there has been a lot of blog growth in Japan, Korea, China, France, and Brazil."
"I frankly think that the potential blogging or user-generated content — the potential is the revitalization of civics," Sifry said. "There are tens of thousands of people who are writing about school boards and little league games and local politics. For the first time in recent history, people don't just feel like they are yelling back at their televisions."
highlights of the findings:
By Christine Lagorio