Pew Research Center Study Examines Online Activities in 2010

[tweetmeme]A new study Generations Online in 2010 offers a wealth of information about how people across all age groups are participating in online activities like social networking sites, playing games, instant messaging and blogging, which was of most interest to me.

Information Needs Differ

Writing blogs is only up slightly, by 4% since in the last two years, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.  Only half as many people read blogs as visit social networking sites.  But this doesn’t bother me.  Why?  Because various online activities are filling different information needs. You may visit Facebook to post your vacation photos, or Twitter to follow trends, but you’ll visit a blog for information about a product or service.

Oh, and one other thing, the study doesn’t distinguish between blogs and websites.  If you ask someone if they read a blog regularly, they will give a very different answer than if you ask them if they read blogs and websites.  Because, dear readers, many blogs are masquerading as websites.  You are now on my website, which is actually blog technology.  Click on “blog” in the navigation bar and you will find my articles about social media, employee engagement and branding.  So I think a lot more people are reading blogs than the Pew research study reports.

We all read studies and then interpret the results so they support our points of view.  Be honest, don’t you?  That’s why I glommed on to the blogging stats so that I can make the point that a combined 77% of the demographic groups that consumer products companies most want to reach – ages 18 to 45 – are reading blogs.

Blogs as a CEO Platform

As I wrote in my article Blogging as the Centerpiece of a Company’s Social Media Strategy, companies are using blogs as a platform for the CEO to get out the company’s views on a variety of subjects and to disseminate information quickly during a crisis.  Blogs can be distributed with the click of a button to dozens of social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.  That’s where the study says a majority of people are congregating online.  So, again, it’s information from a blog they’re reading, but studies can’t dig that deep.  A study can’t distinguish where the information is coming from.

So take a look at the study and come to your own conclusions that support your points of view!

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Comments

  1. Hi Jeannette
    Very interesting information about the split of visiting blogs and Social Networking.
    Agree with you about many “normal” websites having a blog section. I chose my WordPress theme because it had exactly that functionality.

  2. This post certainly makes me think. While it is easy to post our blogs to different sites, I do become concerned about readership and the PEW statistic of an only 4% rise. Are people reading anymore?? Whether I’m on a plane or other places in public, it seems that people are either social networking, or catching up on TV shows and movies. I don’t see parents insisting on books, magazines, or informative blogs for their kids… partly because the parents aren’t reading either. Okay,… don’t mean to be a negative nellie, but I do think we bloggers have our work cut out for us to make our titles and content extremely compelling.

  3. I really liked your comment about this being a blog masquerading as a web site. What truly is the difference to most people? What is important is that people are moving more and more online.

    Rob

  4. Great insights Jeannette. I especially like your point about how people interpret results of surveys. I am always a little weary of studies because many don’t use the proper controls and analysis required to determine what is actually statistically significant (remnants of my college statistic course days) so they are always open to question and various interpretations.

  5. Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Keyuri, to your point about making our blogs compelling, couldn’t agree more. Twitter and Facebook are great for updates, but I still think readers turn to blogs when they want commentary and opinion. Re studies, in general I find them to be very helpful, but they are open to interpretation.

  6. Thanks, Pat. I actually have a draft of a blog on this Hubspot study and I’ll be publishing this week. The more we know the better we get — hopefully!