Posts from May 21, 2004

The state of things

The state of things

: Seth Goldstein says:

Yahoo is the AOL of today.

AOL is the ATT of today.

Microsoft is Microsoft.

[Oops. I credited this to the other Seth, Godin; now corrected; I blame the merlot.]

Connect me

Connect me
: Yahoo Maps shows wi-fi hotspots. Very nice [via MobileWhack]

Who are you?

Who are you?

: Major kudos and thanks to Blogads’ Henry Copeland for creating the first major survey of blog readers. Of course, the 17,159 who responded are not a scientific sample — and they spring from the bloggers who plugged it — but it is a large sample and thus the numbers yield some neat surprises. See Henry’s summary and the results here.

This survey shows that blog readers are older and more affluent than most optimistic guestimates: 61% of blog readers responding to the survey are over 30, and 75% make more than $45,000 a year.

Moreover, blog readers are more cyber-active than I’d hoped: 54% of their news consumption is online. 21% are themselves bloggers and 46% describe themselves as opinion makers. And, in the last six months:

50% have spent more than $50 online on books.

47% have spent more than $500 online for plane tickets.

50% have contributed more than $50 to a cause or candidate, and 5% have contributed more than $1000. (Only 25% of readers have contributed anything online in the last year.)

Blog readers are media-mavens: 21% subscribe to the New Yorker magazine, 15% to the Economist, 15% to Newsweek and 14% to the Atlantic Monthly….

[B]log readers are united in their apathy about traditional news sources: 82% of blog readers say that television is worthless or only somewhat useful as a source of news and opinion. 55% percent say the same about print newspapers. 54% say the same about print magazines.

Meanwhile, 86% say that blogs are either useful or extremely useful as sources of news or opinion. 80% say they read blogs for news they can’t find elsewhere. 78% read because the perspective is better. 66% value the faster news. 61% say that blogs are more honest. Divided on so much else, blog readers appear united in their dissatisfaction with conventional media and their rabid love of blogs.

A few more highlights:

: You’re well-to-do: 38.1 percent make more than $90k. From a biz perspective, that’s wonderful.

: You’re influencers (or think you are): only one quarter consider themselves “one of the guys/gals” while the rest are “a lone wolf” or “an opinion maker.”

: A plurality of the respondents, 40.2 percent, are Democrats. Now that’s affected by the blogs that plugged this but, still, it shows this isn’t necessarily the conservative/libertarian ghetto it’s often assumed to be.

: This is not just a world of bloggers talking to bloggers: 79.1 percent of the respondents do not blog themselves.

Thanks, Henry.

News for the mobile generation

News for the mobile generation

: If you want to reach young people with news — and you’ll hear news folks blather about that often — you need to go to them. The BBC is going to their mobile phones with headlines from its young-news show Newsround. [via Unmediated, PJnet]

Bill and blogs

Bill and blogs
: Well, Bill Gates embrace of blogs reminds me of his embrace of the Internet, which changed his products, his company, and his industry.

Don’t worry. I’m not about to launch into another spasm of blog triumphalism. Gates wasn’t talking about blogs as blather. He was talking about blogs as tools for personal and business publishing of any kind of information. And he was talking about RSS as a new means of communication and distribution.

This means that, of course, Microsoft will embrace blogs and RSS in its tools, from Word to IE. It also makes Google look smart for buying Blogger (without a strategy then).

Providing publishing tools and space will be an essential service in the near future — for businesses, for family shopping lists, for unlimited sorts of publishing — and the war to win that space is just beginning.

Forget giving me virtually unlimited free email space. Give me virtually unlimited blogspace (and bandwidth).

I’m not sure how this will shake out for companies. It’s easy to argue that blogging toolmakers should consider moving to Maine and opening a B&B (with or without selling to Microsoft) — but then again, as personal and business publishing gets more specialized, there may be opportunities in creating specialized tools. Wouldn’t it be great if the Microsoft Word blogging tool allowed plug-ins? Yeah, it would be great.

Years ago, I worked with a German startup that had a flexible toolset — an Internet platform — to allow developers to create, for example, that shopping-list module (which you could update from the web or mobile devices) and a calendar module and a photo module and so on. Today, the Northwestern students creating a community blog at are making me look at these tools in a new way (I just killed two development projects for hyperlocal content and plan to use specialized blog modules instead).

The smart way to look at Gates’ blessing is to think about blogging as a platform for any kind of publishing, communication, and distribution. Bill will.