Today I encountered a recent report from the Pew foundation on a phone survey of over 200 American bloggers. It provided statistics that support the necessity of my types of blogs schema. According to their survey, the majority of bloggers do so in the diary or Christmas card style. 52% of bloggers blog “for themselves” and an additional 14% said they blog for both themselves and an audience. In addition, only 35% of bloggers believe their readership is mostly people they don’t know, meaning most bloggers believe that their primary audience is people they know, or a mixture of the two. Most blogs have a small audience, with 90% claiming to receive less than 100 hits a day (I would be among that 90%, incidentally).
The study puts my previous contention into stark relief: the political and popular blogs that get the most media and scholarly attention are a small percentage of the blogosphere; the majority of bloggers are kids and twenty-somethings talking about their lives on their livejournal. What does this mean for the Public Sphere, and the ability of blogs to be a tool for citizen journalism and discussion? For one thing, I think it points to the desire in our culture (and perhaps any) to assert the importance of the everyday and the personal. I think it also underscores our cultural obsession with therapeutic forms – the confessional mode of diary blogs, reality tv, and art like postsecret seem to point to a desire to excise our interior lives, and to find others like us (or unlike us) to make us all feel better about ourselves. This, perhaps, is also a function of blogs as public space that those who focus on news and political blogs overlook.