Ed Driscoll

THE PRE-TIMES UNIT ROLLS INTO

THE PRE-TIMES UNIT ROLLS INTO ACTION: It’s rare to Fisk an article even before it’s written. But thanks to a piece I wrote in March, I’m able to do just that. The Brothers Judd link to an article in today’s the New York Times that says:

The number of bloggers has grown quickly, thanks to sites like blogger.com, which makes it easy to set up a blog. Technorati, a blog-tracking service, has counted some 2.5 million blogs.

Of course, most of those millions are abandoned or, at best, maintained infrequently. For many bloggers, the novelty soon wears off and their persistence fades.

Sometimes, too, the realization that no one is reading sets in. A few blogs have thousands of readers, but never have so many people written so much to be read by so few. By Jupiter Research’s estimate, only 4 percent of online users read blogs.

And how many people is four percent of online users? As I wrote in my March Tech Central Station article about a similar piece that appeared on CNN’s Website, according to one study, there are 146 million adult Internet users in the US alone. If we assume that only four percent of online users are reading them, that’s 5,840,000 readers:

Scott Ott, the humorist whose Scrappleface Website is a Blogosphere favorite (in January of 2003, Ott coined the brilliant “Axis of Weasels” meme that later graced the cover of The New York Post), puts things into sharp perspective. In one of his typically satiric news articles, he wrote that if only about two percent of Internet users actually write Weblogs, it means that there are more bloggers writing, than people reading USA Today (whose circulation is 2.6 million), The New York Times (1.6 million) or The New York Daily News (805,000).

Ott doesn’t mention CNN, but since the article most prominently appeared on CNN’s Website, it’s probably worth noting that in the US, CNN’s typically daily viewership is only about 450,000 viewers. (The Fox News Channel, the cable news ratings leader, gets an average of 799,000 viewers during their broadcasting day.)

Of course, if I were CNN, I’d be worried about having, in a manner of speaking, all of my viewers, and then some, owning Weblogs.

That goes double for the Times, where Bloggers had a field day with Howell Raines, Jayson Blair and Maureen Dowd. (And naturally, there’s no mention of Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds or Mickey Kaus, who used their Blogs to pummel The Times last year at the height of the Blair scandal).

…and stories like this one, which find the one blogger on the planet who doesn’t know what his stats package says:

Mr. Wiggins, 48, a senior information technologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing, does not know how many readers he has; he suspects it’s not many. But that does not seem to bother him.

“I’m just getting something off my chest,” he said.

It then concludes, “Indeed, if a blog is likened to a conversation between a writer and readers, bloggers like Mr. Wiggins are having conversations largely with themselves.”

Oh sure, that never happens at The Times.

UPDATE: What did others in the Blogosphere think of the story? Ask Memeorandum!

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