Readership of blogs and RSS news feeds in the United States is growing rapidly, according to a hot-off-the-presses study. I predict that blogs and RSS will continue to be hot Internet trends in 2005.
The just-released Pew Internet and American Life survey profiles this astonishingly fast growth. The survey was conducted in November of 2004, and the following quotes from the survey summarize the results:
- 7% of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the internet say they have created a blog or web-based diary. That represents more than 8 million people.
- 27% of internet users say they read blogs, a 58% jump from the 17% who told us they were blog readers in February. This means that by the end of 2004 32 million Americans were blog readers.
- 5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators to get the news and other information delivered from blogs. This is a first-time measurement … and is an indicator that this application is gaining an impressive foothold.
- The interactive features of many blogs are also catching on: 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs.
- At the same time, for all the excitement about blogs and the media coverage of them, blogs have not yet become recognized by a majority of internet users. Only 38% of all internet users know what a blog is. The rest are not sure what the term “blog” means.
By now anyone reading blogs knows they are becoming more popular by the day. What’s so surprising about this report, to me, is just how popular they are becoming so quickly. They’re like a juggernaut.
The data about RSS feeds is what I expected, also. RSS is the future of how readers will access content-rich websites.
However, only the tech-savvy are using RSS today.
Eventually RSS feeds could replace e-zines and newsletters. But it will be at least two years before significant numbers of people use RSS. Meanwhile, businesses have lots of time to make the transition.