Updated: 6/23/2005; 11:51:33 AM.


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  Saturday, May 10, 2003

  BlogTalk paper: early adopters

Sylvie asks

Also, do you know if there is a number of the % of bloggers? I read somewhere that it was ridiculously small, but didn't note the reference. This suggests that all bloggers are early adopters who of course have different characteristics from the majority of users.

Reading BlogTalk paper by Jose Luis Orihuela I came across this citation from The Internet and the Iraq war (.pdf):

There has been much early discussion about the role of blogs or Web diaries in shaping opinion about the war and allowing Internet users to gain new perspectives and sources of information about the war. Our first soundings on the subject show that blogs are gaining a following among a small number of Internet users, but they are not yet a source of news and commentary for the majority of Internet users. Some 4% of online Americans report going to blogs for information and opinions. The overall number of blog users is so small that it is not possible to draw statistically meaningful conclusions about who uses blogs. The early data suggest that the most active Internet users, especially those with broadband connections are the most likely to have found blogs they like. In addition, blogs seem to be catching on with younger Internet users - those under age 30 - at a greater pace than with older Internet users.

Some other pointers to statistics on Webloggers (especially Blogcount).

Coming back to the suggestion. I would not make a conclusion about "early adopters" based on numbers: at the end we don't know how many people need weblogs at all and counting % from the general population could be not a good idea. I would rather look for more qualitative characteristics.

In the BlogTalk paper I made a conclusion based on blogging motivation. To make it stronger I need more in-depth reading on it. I think about two sources:

I'm quite familiar with educational resources on change and the book is on my reading list...

Crossing the chasm review by Brian Marick (worth reading in full):

The technology enthusiasts are the sort of people who jigger the microwave so they can cook their hands to "see what it feels like". (I know someone who did that. He said it feels weird.) Visionaries are less oriented to exploration, more to exploitation. They are people who see breakthrough potential in some technology and are willing to brave hell and high water to realize that potential. From the vendor's point of view, the nice thing about both groups is that they're not too bothered by the fact that the product doesn't work. They're willing to make it work.

Pragmatists want a product that works. They are not interested in debugging it. They want to be able to hire people who've used it. They want to find books about it in the bookstore. If there's customization that's needed, they want to find third parties who can do it. Better yet, they want to buy third-party packages written for people just like them. In short, they don't just want a product. They want a 100% solution to their business problem. If they get the 80% that delighted the visionary, they feel cheated, and they tell their pragmatist friends.

Conservatives buy products because they really have no choice. They want products that are cheap and do their job as unobtrusively as possible. They are not reassured by the existence of books about the product, because it implies the product isn't simple enough to use.

Skeptics are not going to buy, though they may talk other people out of buying.

[...]The problem dealt with in Crossing the Chasm is that the visionaries aren't in fact good references for the pragmatists. They provide tales of heroics - not stories of smooth, predictable adoption. Pragmatists want references from other pragmatists.

I would say that the study participants fit mainly technology enthusiasts and visionaries categories.

  BlogTalk paper: missing questions

Somehow I missed Research on Blogging post by Sylvie Noël:

Lilia Efimova at Mathemagenic has been reporting on a little study she did on bloggers and would-be bloggers.

I wish she had added some demographic questions. I would have been curious to see the distribution of men and women bloggers as well as age distribution.

Other questions I would have liked to see: "do you use your blog for a single subject (eg work-related, strictly cinema, book reviews) or for several subjects?" and "do you use your blog to support your work or for personal reasons?"

Sylvie made many relevant comments on the paper and helped me a lot with finding a better way to write. I agree with her comments: especially last two questions would be very valuable for the analysis.

I'm only learning to be a good researcher :)

Silvie also comments on the final version:

Other "future research" you might add in your conclusion: (1) exploring why bloggers cease to blog; (2) interviewing Web users who are not interested in blogging (but who are aware of the phenomenon). For ex., do bloggers cease because of technical reasons (points to problem with software) or because blogging is not meeting their needs or becaues they no longer have time (personal reasons).

In both cases there is a need for more elaborate strategy to find respondents. The one I used (mainly via my weblog) will not work. For someone who wants to study the first question I would suggest to start from weblog cemetery.

More on: BlogTalk paper 

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

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