Social networks and microblogs have in recent years nudged blogging off the social media pedestal. For some consumers, who have more communication tools at their fingertips than they did a few years ago, Facebook and Twitter have supplanted blogging as life-streaming outlets.
But blogs continue to be important. eMarketer estimates that this year more than half of internet users will read blogs at least monthly. By 2014, readership will rise to more than 150 million Americans, or 60% of the internet population in the US. One reason for the rise in readership is that blogs have become an accepted part of the online media landscape.
“Trends in blog reading are expected to maintain an upward course as blogs continue to gain influence in the mainstream media,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “The Blogosphere: Colliding with Social and Mainstream Media.” “But there is a caveat to this forecast: Over time, blogs will continue to become indistinguishable from other media channels.”
Blog writing, by contrast, is a more niche activity. Just under 12% of the online population will update a blog at least monthly this year, eMarketer estimates. By 2014 that proportion will inch upward to 13.3%.
There are several factors driving the growth of blogging, including the ease of use of personal blogging platforms and the growing comfort level with blogs as a form of media. At the same time, social media like Twitter and Facebook are giving consumers an alternative, less-intensive way to communicate their thoughts to the world. Blogging is no longer a primary way for people to express themselves online.