Blown To Bits

Blogs Are Great, but Is Anyone Reading Them?

Sunday, April 20th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

The New York Times reports this morning that When the Ex Blogs, the Dirtiest Laundry Is Aired. Divorced people are using their personal blogs to let the world know what creeps their former spouses are.

There is nothing really surprising about this. For years people have been worried about the mean, nasty stuff young people say about each other on Facebook, in MySpace, and on blogs. Adults are just catching up to youth culture. It’s also true that teenagers were walking around with MP3 players and earbuds a few years before middle-aged men with briefcases were doing it. One of the women quoted isn’t worried about the impact on her children for exactly that reason. As the Times reports, “It is a generational issue …. We think it will be a big deal, but it won’t be to them. By the time they are old enough to read it, they will have spent their entire life online. It will be like, ‘Oh yeah, I expected that.’ ”

Yet I find the article interesting in several ways, beyond the head-shaking instinct. Why is it apparently mostly women doing this? Is it really a healthy form of catharsis, as a number of those posting comments have suggested?But perhaps most surprising is the statement that 10% of adult Internet users have created their own blogs. I tracked down that number, and it is understated: The actual percentage, from this table, is 12%. Is that level sustainable? The same report says that only 39% of adult Internet users read other people’s blogs! One imagines a strange world in which millions of people are writing blogs about intimate personal matters, and almost no one is reading most of them.

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