Archive for February 29th, 2004

Pew study suggests many people create content on the web

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A new Pew study reports that many many individuals are putting content on the Internet.  The study released today suggests that there is major demand among individuals for ways to put content on the web.


In my view, this is bullish for mainstreaming personal publishing and blogging–that is, for “crossing the chasm.”


And wow, talk about the spin added by the mainstream media.  I just posted a note based on the AP summary of the study. The AP summary was titled “Study: Blogging Still Infrequent” but the actual Pew study emphasizes the amazing degree to which individuals contribute content to the web, and the many different ways that individuals do so. 


The Pew study is quite bullish on personal content publishing–which is the essence of the blogging movement.


Below, fyi, is a direct pointer to the Pew study on the Pew site, as well as the verbatim summary of the study as provided by Pew.


Content Creation Online: 44% of U.S. Internet users have contributed their thoughts and their files to the online world


February 29, 2004


Download the full report in Adobe PDF format: download



44% of Internet users have created content for the online world through building or posting to Web sites, creating blogs, and sharing files

In a national phone survey between March 12 and May 20, 2003, the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that more than 53 million American adults have used the Internet to publish their thoughts, respond to others, post pictures, share files and otherwise contribute to the explosion of content available online. Some 44% of the nation’s adult Internet users (those 18 and over) have done at least one of the following:



  • 21% of Internet users say they have posted photographs to Web sites.
  • 20% say they have allowed others to download music or video files from their computers.
  • 17% have posted written material on Web sites.
  • 13% maintain their own Web sites.
  • 10% have posted comments to an online newsgroup. A small fraction of them have posted files to a newsgroup such as video, audio, or photo files.
  • 8% have contributed material to Web sites run by their businesses.
  • 7% have contributed material to Web sites run by organizations to which they belong such as church or professional groups.
  • 7% have Web cams running on their computers that allow other Internet users to see live pictures of them and their surroundings.
  • 6% have posted artwork on Web sites.
  • 5% have contributed audio files to Web sites.
  • 4% have contributed material to Web sites created for their families.
  • 3% have contributed video files to Web sites.
  • 2% maintain Web diaries or Web blogs, according to respondents to this phone survey. In other phone surveys prior to this one, and one more recently fielded in early 2004, we have heard that between 2% and 7% of adult Internet users have created diaries or blogs. In this survey we found that 11% of Internet users have read the blogs or diaries of other Internet users. About a third of these blog visitors have posted material to the blog.

    Most of those who do contribute material are not constantly updating or freshening content. Rather, they occasionally add to the material they have posted, created, or shared. For instance, more than two thirds of those who have their own Web sites add new content only every few weeks or less often than that. There is a similar story related to the small proportion of Americans who have blogs.

    The most eager and productive content creators break into three distinct groups:


  • Power creators are the Internet users who are most enthusiastic about content-creating activities. They are young – their average age is 25 – and they are more likely than other kinds of creators do things like use instant messaging, play games, and download music. And they are the most likely group to be blogging.


  • Older creators have an average age of 58 and are experienced Internet users. They are highly educated, like sharing pictures, and are the most likely of the creator groups to have built their own Web sites. They are also the most likely to have used the Internet for genealogical research.


  • Content omnivores are among the heaviest overall users of the Internet. Most are employed. Most log on frequently and spend considerable time online doing a variety of activities. They are likely to have broadband connections at home. The average age of this group is 40.
  • New Pew Blogging study out today summarized by AP

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    A new Pew study of blogging, just out today and reviewed by the Associated Press here. The AP reporter emphasizes that the study shows that there are few folks blogging, but a direct look at the study indicates that it also shows that people are findging many ways to put content on the web–and that this is a major trend.


    Even the AP’s limited summary highlights some intriguing findings.  Most interesting is that it reports that somewhere between two and seven percent of Internet users have blogs.  As described in the AP story, the discrepancy between two and seven is that when the main polling was conducted, in late 2003, it found the two percent figure.  When follow-up polling was conducted in 2004, it found seven percent.  Perhaps blogging is rising fast?


    Second fascinating finding is that seven percent of people sampled reported that they had web-cams that let others watch them over the web.  Hmmm.  More have webcams than blogs?  Hmmm. If true, that is an interesting finding, indeed.  But it makes me wonder a bit about the Pew study..

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