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Pew Blog Study Shows the Lure of Storytelling is High


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July 19, 2006

Pew Blog Study Shows the Lure of Storytelling is High

Heather Green

The Pew Internet and American Life Project has a new study out on blogging that finds that most people who blog do it to tell stories about their lives--not to write about politics, tech, or media.

One tidbit I found particularly interesting is that 55% of bloggers write using a pseudonym. This is much higher than I would have expected and I think shows that there likey unmet demand for blogging software like Six Apart's new Vox, which allows you to create filters to control who can read your blog.

Overall, Pew found that about 8%, or 12 million American adults, blog, while 39% of the population, or 57 million people, read blogs.

10:24 AM

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? Pew and Us from Changing Way

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has just released a new study, Bloggers: A portrait of the internet's new storytellers. Hey, that's us!

The report comprises six parts, sandwiched between a summary and an account of methodology. Here are the... [Read More]

Tracked on July 19, 2006 04:15 PM

? 39% of Americans reading blogs from LexBlog Blog

The Pew Internet and American Life Project's new blogging study finds 8%, or 12 million American adults, blog, while 39% of the population, or 57 million people, read blogs. That ain't chopped liver for something 99% of folks never heard... [Read More]

Tracked on July 19, 2006 04:56 PM

I'm a bit surprised the number of bloggers using pseduonyms isn't higher.

Given recent (and not so recent news) of employees losing their jobs and employers hunting for blogs / MySpace profile on potential employees I certainly wouldn't want my politics (or life storytelling as the survey would indicate), etc. to impact that decision.

I've also got concerns (and I could look up the answer to this one, but really) about how a 'blog' is being defined and what value does a survey have that doesn't measure what may be the largest blogging group - non-adults.

Posted by: Nathan B at July 19, 2006 11:55 AM

I'm not surprised at the findings, but I'm glad they're being published. Not all of us are frustrated couldn't-be journalists. Some of us just like to tell stories and have an audience.

I'm a little perplexed by all the buzz about Vox. It appears to be just another version of LiveJournal (another SixApart blogware service), which has been around for years. I suppose some intelligent product manager figured out there's some stigma associated with LJ in the blogger world. We get no respect at all!

Posted by: Lesley at July 19, 2006 01:05 PM

Hey Lesley,

It's a great point about Vox being like Live Journal and I think that that's exactly why Six Apart is doing Vox. After they bought LJ, they saw how powerful the filtering feature is and now they're doing it in a service that I think is targeted more at people who don't use LJ.

Posted by: Heather Green at July 19, 2006 01:30 PM

I use my blog to share some ideas/thoughts with the blogosphere under my real name , I see the advantage to mainstream press , as, that You can get instant feedback and also act as a discussion moderator.

Posted by: Henrique Pl?ger Abreu at July 20, 2006 05:15 AM

Don Valentine of Sequoia Capital, the legendary venture capitalist, whose seed investments include Apple Computer, Oracle, Cisco, Yahoo! and Google, sits through thousands of presentations year after year made by entrepreneurs seeking financing for their new business concepts. Don is continually shocked by the failure of most of these presentations to communicate effectively. He sums up the epidemic: “The problem is that nobody knows how to tell a story. What’s worse, nobody knows that they don’t know how to tell a story!”

That same problem has now fanned out beyond business and into the Internet where millions of people attempt to tell stories in their blogs. The study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that most people who blog do it to tell stories.

How do you tell a good story? The answer has been available to us ever since Aristotle. However, his simple requirements for a rhetorical beginning, middle, and end are all too often forgotten in stories that ramble off into the weeds. Heed the classical master. Begin with a brief attention-getting statement that will focus your readers on your main theme. Then follow your theme all the way through the middle of your story with a crystal clear flow that connects each part to the next in a logical progression. End with a clarion call to action on your theme.

If all those millions of bloggers were to do this, the Internet just could become the ultimate implementer of Aristotle…and it took us only 2300 years.

Posted by: Jerry Weissman at July 29, 2006 08:31 PM

Hey Lesley

If 57 Million Americans are 39% of "the population", the US must have decreased to 150 Millions. The PEW study says 39% of the ONLINE population reads blogs. Which, by the way, I find hard to believe.

Posted by: Peter at July 30, 2006 12:56 AM

Has anyone ever heard of urban storytelling? There’s this group in NYC called the Moth, and they put on storytelling events there. Right now, they’ve teamed up with the TV network TNT (we know drama) for some reason, and are doing a contest on Myspace called “What's Your Story?”. Basically, you submit a video of yourself telling the story of the most risky thing you’ve ever done, and you can win a trip to New York and other cool stuff. It's actually really interesting and I strongly suggest everyone check it out: www.myspace.com/mothstories . They show a few videos on the myspace page that are worth watching if you’re confused by what they do…

Posted by: Kelly at October 19, 2006 11:22 AM


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