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01/04/2005 Archived Entry: "Year of the Blog"

2005 will be the Year of The Blog...

Last year proved to be a big one for blogs and bloggers, according to data released from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Blog readership jumped 58% between February and November and included 32 million U.S. citizens in 2004. More than 8 million U.S. citizens have created a Web-based diary, and one in 10, or around 14 million U.S. Internet users, has contributed thoughts or comments to a blog." (To access .pdf of the report "The state of blogging, click here.)

Blogging has evolved from an amorphous and somewhat shameful hobby pursued by egotistical ne'er-do-wells who, at least, were off the streets into a well-defined and (dare I say it) respected pursuit. Memogate, through which bloggers almost immediately exposed Dan Rather's "forged" memo on Bush's non-service in the National Guard, is what earned the pursuit real respect. A great deal of credit also goes to the millions of bloggers who take pride in their sites and to the analysts who have worked to define/refine the activity. One of the best of them is Jon Garfunkel who offers a wonderful definition of a blog as well as continuing analysis of how blogs are evolving.

Businesses are expressing interest in tracking blogs, as RatherBiased notes, "New York Times business correspondent Nat Ives has a thought-provoking article on how the internet has given small, independent critics the power to influence the public image of multi-billion dollar companies. Previously, critics had to rely on slower and more expensive media like books (Ralph Nader's "Unsafe at Any Speed" being the best example) or newspaper ad campaigns. The power a small actor can have in the internet age has caught the attention of a company called BuzzMetrics which has developed software that helps clients determine their public image by analyzing forum posts, blogs, and mailing lists."

And even Dan Rather, who reportedly hates blogs which were the vehicle of his downfall, recently quoted an internet message board as a source of news. Yep. The Year of The Blog.

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