Technorati logoThis is the second of two posts prompted by Technorati’s invitation to bloggers to participate in the State of the Blogosphere Survey 2010.

In my previous post on the subject, published yesterday, I wrote about the surveys from 2004 to 2007, produced by the then CEO of Technorati, Dave Sifry.

Today I focus on the surveys from 2008 to the present.

The Post Sifry Phase: Back to “State of the Blogosphere” – 2008-2010 – including asking the Bloggers

For 2008, the title of the report was back to “State of the Blogosphere”. The report was produced in August 2009 and appeared on the Technorati site, unlike the previous reports which had been on Dave Sifry’s site. (Sifry had stepped down as CEO and left Technorati in August of the previous year). The Introduction referred somewhat confusingly to previous “annual” Technorati reports on the subject (Sifry referred in his April 2007 report to Technorati being “known widely for its quarterly State of the Blogosphere reports”).

The report declared that for 2008 a decision had been made to “go beyond the numbers of the Technorati Index to deliver even deeper insights into the blogging mind”. The report had drawn, evidently for the first time, on a direct survey of bloggers, “about the role of blogging in their lives, the tools, time, and resources used to produce their blogs, and how blogging has impacted them personally, professionally, and financially”.

As to the numbers, the report includes a graphic which shows 133 million “blog records indexed by Technorati since 2002”. The survey of bloggers is reported as having drawn responses from 66 countries across 6 continents.

Following the posting of the Introduction to the 2008 report on Aug 21, 2009, the more detailed report appeared as five segments, which were to be released in “five separate daily segments” and which all appear to have been published on the one day, October 13, 2009 (with headings, Day 1 to Day 5). (I include these publication date details not to be nitpicking, but to save anyone else researching these reports some of the head-scratching I’ve been doing today).

The State of the Blogosphere 2009 report was published on the Technorati site, in sections over several days, in October of that year, i.e. only two months after the publication of the 2008 report. The focus was explicitly on “professional bloggers” and attention was given specifically to:

  • professional blogging activities
  • brands in the blogosphere
  • monetization
  • twitter & micro-blogging and
  • bloggers’ impact on US and world events

As with all the previous reports, there is valuable information in the report, especially for anyone in business or government. Take for example this summary of some socio-economic data from the “Who Are the Bloggers?” section of the report:

Overall, bloggers are a highly educated and affluent group. Nearly half of all bloggers we surveyed have earned a graduate degree, and the majority have a household income of $75,000 per year or higher. As blogging is now firmly a part of the mainstream, we see that the average blogger has three or more blogs and has been blogging for two or more years. We are also noticing an ever-increasing overlap between blogging and mainstream media.

The report saw professional bloggers growing “more prolific, and influential, every year”, with Twitter and other social media representing one of the most important trends.

A note on use of content in the reports

As mentioned above I have in past years used material at times from State of the Blogosphere reports, including graphs as well as data.

For what it’s worth – and I am no expert on copyright, let alone Creative Commons, I note that, as the 2008 and 2009 reports are on Technorati’s site, they appear to come under the Creative Commons licence (Attribution, NonCommercial 3.0) there, which is more restrictive than the simple, generic Attribution 1.0 Generic licence on Sifry’s site: it should be noted however that Sifry asked also that anyone using the charts or data “please keep the Technorati logo and links to the original reports in any use of the charts or data”. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable on these issues could shed some light on any implications that might have, say for those of us who might like to use for instance, a graph from one of the more recent reports in a presentation. Anyone?

Completing the 2010 survey

I found completing the latest survey an interesting exercise. In what I guess is a not uncommon reaction with surveys, I found there were questions where I thought there was room for at least one more option, others where I thought the choices too constrained, but with less obvious scope than I could see to add in clarifying notes (I know they are a nuisance for the “quant” folks, but I always think it’s useful to have such spaces, for the benefit of the responder and potentially also for the benefit of researchers).

I was also uncomfortable with having to answer some questions in terms of one blog, even though in an earlier question I had indicated I had more than one. To illustrate how that became problematic, there was a series of questions about revenue-generation from one’s blog, with specific reference to advertising. Up till then I had been answering pretty much with this Des Walsh dot Com blog in mind and with hindsight I think some of my answers were more about another blog. I’m not sure how that problem could be overcome, but no doubt it is not beyond the collective wits of the research company to solve it.

All that being said, I did very much appreciate the opportunity to participate and I believe other bloggers would find it at least interesting to do so. I also think it’s important that the researchers get a mix of responders, from “pro” bloggers through niche bloggers (e.g. travel, health, celeb-watching) to people keeping a blog more as a personal journal.

In that vein, and unlike the previous year’s report with its focus on professional bloggers, the 2010 survey seems to be casting a wider net, going for instance by the email inviting me and others to participate:

The survey includes questions like how, when and why you blog. Is this a side business, full time job or something you do for fun?

And now, in accordance with the emailed encouragement to me to share the link to the survey, here is where you can participate.

I’d be interested of course to hear about others’ experience with the survey.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).