State of the blogosphere

If there was ever any doubt about the popularity and staying power of blogging, a new report says there shouldn’t be.  Ten years after the launch of the first blog host, Open Diary, blogs have become a truly “global phenomenon that has hit the mainstream,” according to Technorati‘s annual “state of the blogosphere” report.

How big is the blogosphere?  It’s hard to tell.  Last year’s Technorati report used the figure 70 million; this year’s report doesn’t hazard a guess, but quotes Universal McCann’s estimate that 184 million people worldwide have started a blog (leaving open the question of how many of those blogs are are still active).

Who blogs?  Technorati surveyed bloggers in 66 countries across six continents and says most of them are male, 18-34 years old, and more affluent than the general population.  But there are far more women blogging in the United States than elsewhere in the world.  Forty-three percent of US bloggers are female, compared to 27% of European and Asian bloggers.

Why do people blog?  “Self expression and sharing expertise are the top reasons for blogging,” the report says. Most say they blog for fun and that they don’t make any money doing it.  But the majority have advertising on their blogs, and those who do come out ahead.

Among those with advertising, the mean annual investment in their blog is $1,800, but it’s paying off. The mean annual revenue is $6,000 with $75K+ in revenue for those with 100,000 or more unique visitors per month. Note: median investment and revenue (which is listed below) is significantly lower. They are also earning CPMs on par with large publishers.

So what’s the future of blogging? Depends on who you ask. Is it microblogging, using services like Twitter?  Video blogging on YouTube?  Jeremiah Owyang, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, tells Technorati that blogging will stop being a voluntary form of self-expression. “The future of blogging will be an auto-synching of our lives directly to the web —often a quiet recording in the background.”  That’s a little creepy, if you ask me.