In researching background over the weekend for a presentation I’m making at a conference in Amsterdam on 16 September, I discovered two separate but connected sets of information.
Both clearly indicate that blogs as a major force of influence are beginning to be felt more strongly, and the growth in numbers of bloggers worldwide has now really taken off.
1. US political blogs are a credible competitor to cable news websites
Over the past month, the ten most popular US political blogs (Dailykos, Instapundit, Atrios, Josh Marshall, Little Green Footballs, Wonkette, Political Animal, Teagan Goddard, Captain’s Quarters and Real Clear Politics) totaled just over 28,000,000 unique visits.
This compares favourably with the website traffic of the three US cable news networks – FoxNews.com had 5.7 million unique users in May, compared with 22.3 million for CNN.com and 21.1 million for MSNBC.com.
Chris Bowers, the author of the commentary, predicts: “By 2006, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the top ten [US political] blogs have a combined traffic significantly greater than the three cable news networks combined.”
While all this relates to the picture primarily in the US, it’s just a matter of time before such influence effects will be felt comparatively in Europe, even with the different broadcasting climate (different countries, languages, cultures) and usage of related websites across the continent.
2. Weblog growth of 15,000 per day
Two months ago, Technorati – the real-time search engine that keeps track of what’s going on in the global blogosphere – tracked its 3 millionth blog. According to David Sifry, Technorati’s CEO, his fim is seeing anywhere from 8,000-17,000 new blogs created every single day. On an average weekday, over 15,000 new blogs are created per day.
This means that a new blog is created somewhere in the world every 5.8 seconds.
While the numbers might look good, they become even more impressive when you see how steep the growth curve is since the second quarter of 2003:
Sifry also says that the number of conversations is increasing: “We’re seeing over 275,000 individual posts every day. That means that on average, more than 3 blogs are updated every second. The median time from when someone posts something to their weblog to when it is indexed and available for searches on Technorati is 7 minutes.”
The above relates to stats at the beginning of July. Yesterday, the tracked blogs figure was 3,863,767 – an increase of nearly 30% in just two months.