In 2006, Technorati came out with the (then) startling statistic that there were over 70 million blogs in existance, with something like 10,000 more coming on line every day. Now Technorati says there are 113 million blogs, with 175,000 being started every day. Even with embarrassingly high abandonment rates, (7.5 million of these blogs are active) blogging was really taking off – 184 million bloggers create 570,000 per day.
We used that stat to show that blogs had arrived. It turns out we were wrong – because NOW they’ve arrived.
Here’s why: The timeline of blogs breaks down into three parts. The first one came around 2001, after the dot-bomb. A lot of out of work tech geeks started publishing just to have something to do.
The fad caught on, and after a while some companies even started getting attention for their own blogs. When they joined in, that’s when the second wave hit. People were only just learning what blogs were, and their understanding was that it was either a corporate communications device, or a place where emo kids in their second semester at college talk about rain and poetry and how they can’t get laid.
The third wave of blogging has hit just this year, though. This year, everyone seems to be blogging. People without tech jobs, who don’t work for someone else, have some blog or another. People I know who last year didn’t even know what The Twitter was are now publishing on their own. It’s fantastic.
I’m sure the reason for all these new blogs is somewhere in between the number of people out of work and the sheer ease of setting one up. When I started blogging in 2002, there was only LiveJournal. (And skinning it was, as now, a bear to do.) With WordPress and Blogger and Myspace and Tumblr, you can be up and running in as little as five minutes. If you want to buy a domain name for it as well, a day. (Unless you use GoDaddy, in which case go with God because there’s just no telling.)
What I love about all this is the variety of blog types. People aren’t satisfied to just write about their day. Those are great when you’re friends with the author, or, like LJ in the old days, you were blogging to a community that blogged back. That kind of “here’s what’s up with me today” publishing is handily taken care of by Facebook and Twitter, so there’s no need to create a blog just for that.
Which is another reason I think blogs are as big as they are today. Given the lifespan of all other Internet fads, they really should have imploded by now. But blogs can be about anything, going in any direction the author wants to go in.
This week I’m going to try to post about some of my favorite blogs. You probably haven’t heard of them, because for me blogging isn’t about being on top of the most popular posts or knowing what the cool kids know, it’s about hearing more from the people I want to hear more from.