I've been meaning to comment on David Sifry's most recent "State of the Blogosphere" report, because it's compelled me to think about why people blog and what that means to Others Online. He's the CEO of Technorati (the leading blog search engine?), and has published some great information on the growth of the blogosphere, # of posts per day, etc. Key takeaways:
- Blogging is popular: the blogosphere has been doubling in size every 6 months since March 2003. Technorati now tracks over 37M blogs.
- Blogging is fairly sticky: over 55% of bloggers are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created.
A blog can be anything, but it's best described as an online personal journal. So why do people keep an online journal? Did it replace their paper-based diary? No, I don't think so. People can write anything anytime, they've always been able to. People blog because they love the idea that anyone can and will read what they're writing -- it's the thrill of knowing that you've instantly published something that any one of over 800M people could possibly look at, appreciate, and as a result connect with you.
I have a feeling that most of the 55% of bloggers still posting after 3 months are doing so because they noticed that someone else (a complete stranger) saw what they wrote, and that many of the 45% who quit wrote for a while and then stopped because only THEY were reading their posts. People need validation.
Attracting readers is a big problem for bloggers, just as it is for anyone with content on the Web. With every post, you're contributing to the 100's of billions of pages already on the Web (maybe a small exaggeration). So unless you're tied into a tightly-knit group of bloggers and can join their "network/club", it's currently next to impossible for people to find YOU and read your blog. Same old Web story -- >90% of pageviews on <10% of the pages.
Enter Others Online, a new way for people to find you and vice-versa. When you post a profile on Others Online, you indicate your blog URL and associate yourself to whatever tags you like (representing your interests, passions, hobbies, business, favorite products, neighborhood, etc.), things you usually blog about anyway I should think. Thereafter, anytime those tags come up in other users' browsing behaviors, searches, or tagclouds, your profile shows up along with your blog link. Bingo, they found you -- on your terms, their terms, and in context with multiple mutual interests. So much warmer than "results 1-20 of about 1.2B".