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Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Blogosphere is falling

According to research company Gartner, Inc., as reported by the Associated Press, blogging is so 2006. Or, at least it will be soon:

Could blogging be near the peak of its popularity? The technology gurus at Gartner Inc. believe so. One of the research company's top 10 predictions for 2007 is that the number of bloggers will level off in the first half of next year at roughly 100 million worldwide.

The reason: Most people who would ever dabble with Web journals already have. Those who love it are committed to keeping it up, while others have gotten bored and moved on, said Daryl Plummer, chief Gartner fellow.

"A lot of people have been in and out of this thing," Plummer said. "Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they're put on stage and asked to say it."

I'm curious to see whether this pans out as Gartner expects, but they may well be right. As Technorati frequently reports, only a fraction of blogs are regularly updated. Technorati estimates that 55 percent of the 57-million-plus blogs it measures are "active," meaning that they have been updated within the past three months. I hardly consider one post within three months active. Only about three percent of blogs update daily, though that's a pretty high standard of activity. Weekly seems like a better balance to me, or at least monthly.

I think the point above about not having something to say is accurate. In searching for available blog names, I was amazed (and frustrated) by how many good names were taken by blogs that had not been updated in years. So many of them had one or just a few posts before the silence began.

I'm curious to see what this means for blogging in general. Even if the number of new blogs and bloggers plateaus as predicted, will blogging recede from our collective consciousness. It's awfully mainstream at this point. It seems like nearly everyone I know is at least familiar with blogging and have visited at least one or two. Many people I know are read blogs fairly often, so I don't know that the blogosphere is about to implode under its own weight or anything. Of course, Gartner isn't really predicting that, but their prognostications do leave me wondering where all of this is heading. I guess we'll see.

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