Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Who are the bloggers?

Blogs are a potential goldmine for historians, if they get preserved, if historians learn to take them seriously, if they get preserved, if they can be reasonably catalogued, if they get preserved – well, so much for that dead horse.

Setting aside the preservation issue, the first thing any historian wants to know about any document is who wrote it? The “why” behind the writing is a close second. So, who are the bloggers and why are they writing? Ok, it ain’t new, but I wasn’t blogging when the Pew Internet & American Life Project brought out their most recent survey of bloggers (PDF). Some of it is counterintuitive – bloggers are more racially and ethnically diverse than the larger population of internet users. Indeed, non-whites and English-speaking Hispanics are more likely to be bloggers than white Anglos. There’s a dissertation topic for some sociology grad student to figure out.

Bloggers skew young, with 54% under 30 – not a surprise, but I suspect that will change as the Myspace generation gets older – and they are evenly split on gender lines. There’s not much information in the Pew report about class, though the fact that half of bloggers live in the suburbs hints that they are strongly middle-class, which would match the broader population.

Who are the bloggers? Well, in the U.S., they seem to represent a good snapshot of Americans. For future historians seeking to study U.S. popular history in the early twenty-first century, this is great.

Next up – how Pew got had by its survey respondents.

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