While it's understandable that many people don't really understand the power of weblogs (or "blogs") due to their novelty, it's not acceptable when professional researchers and newspaper columnists just don't see the situation clearly.
Take this USA Today column ("Once blogs change everything, fascination with them will chill") written by Kevin Maney, the article basically says that blogs are over-hyped and that no one will really care about them in the future. But Mr. Maney, who ironically is a Technology columnist, misses the point completely.
Blogs make publishing internet content easy. Period.
That is why there are now 50-75 million blogs in the world (or 60 million or more according to The Blog Herald). In fact, it's conceivable that there could be 250 million blogs by 2010. In either case, blogs have already caused "Rathergate" and gave a boost to Howard Dean in the last US presidential election.
Another misguided piece of work entitled "Buzz, blogs and beyond" was co-authored by professional market research companies Pew Internet and Buzz Metrics. The Blog Herald has written two excellent reviews on what has become known as the "Pew" article: "Guess how big the Pew sample was?" and "It's time to boycott Pew Internet". Basically, the research only considered 40 blogs. Let's see, 40 blogs is certainly less than the 50-75 million that exist in the world, certainly not enough to warrant sweeping conclusions about ALL blogs. As The Blog Herald eloquently and jokingly points out:
How about I visit Hicksville, USA, and poll the views of 40 locals and then put out a statement to say that the finding reflects all Americans. The results would read: Yes Guns, No Gays, Nuke Iraq, burn the Koran and Women in the Kitchen. Would it be fair if I did this? No, and neither is the rubbish being peddled by Pew and used by others as a means to attack the blogosphere.
On top of that, Pew is confusing spurious correlation for a cause-and-effect relationship.
I do have some suggestions for the USA Today and Pew Internet:
- Read lots of blogs, not just 40, but millions. No, make that tens of millions. And if you want to understand the analytics behind blogs, we recommend using a quality company like Intelliseek's BlogPulse (which has an excellent blog tracking tool called Trend Search).
- Explain to your audience why these tens of millions of people are investing their own time in maintaining blogs.
- Stop thinking like "old school" columnists and researchers. The paradigm is changing.
- Or, if you want ratings, continue writing stupid things and we'll be happy to blog about you.