A new study from 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 nationís 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.
A related article on the study, Blogging Still Infrequent by the AP, says “It’s clearly a minority who are taking advantage of the blog and its potential to steer the online discourse with personal musings about news events and daily life. ....somewhere between 2 percent and 7 percent of adult Internet users in the United States actually keep their own blogs. Of those, only about 10 percent update them daily, the majority doing so only once a week or less often.”
In Jonathan Dube’s post on the survey, he notes: “But while only a small number of Net users write blogs, a slightly larger number of Net users — 11 percent — say they visit blogs written by others. And of these readers, a third report posting to or commenting on the blog entries that they have read — an encouraging sign for weblogs’ ability to foster online community.
“Imagine 30 percent of newspaper readers responding to articles they’ve read. No other media form in history has created so much feedback and interactivity with its audience.”
• Dan Gillmor: “What’s important about this report is the basic theme: People are becoming writers on the Net, not only readers from it. Content, in other words, is as much about what we do for ourselves as what Hollywood tries to sell us.”
• Jim Moore: In my view, this is bullish for mainstreaming personal publishing and blogging--that is, for “crossing the chasm.”
• Steve Yelvington: “should be a wake-up call (for newspapers).”
• Jeff Jarvis: “Citizens media is becoming an industry. ...Put it in TV terms: weblogs have an 11 percent share (13 million viewers); not bad especially for something that is so new and that has absolutely no marketing behind it.
Compare the number of weblog writers to the number of writers in major media: between 2.4 and 8.4 million. That’s an explosion of content from the people. Look at the demographics in the Pew study; they are also impressive. Who ever expected more than a percent of America to want to write and communicate with a public? Who expected a tenth of America to be reading these niche products of citizens’ media?”