Monday, May 23, 2005

Blogs and buzz

This is an in-depth and fairly scientific paper, but if you are interested in understanding the impact of blogs it is something that you should read: blogs and buzz

From the article:
    Blogs are hot. Two Pew surveys conducted in early 2005 show that 16% of U.S. adults (32 million) are blog readers. After a 58% jump in readership in 2004, this number marks a leveling off within the survey’s margin of error. But the blogger audience now commands respect: it stands at 20% of the newspaper audience and 40% of the talk radio audience. Meanwhile, 6% of the entire U.S. adult population has created a blog. That’s 11 million people, or one out of every 17 American citizens. Technorati recorded the ten millionth blog in its worldwide tracking system this month.

    There is a current sense among communications elites that it is important to have a blog. A Business Week cover warns, “Blogs Will Change Your Business.” Syndicated columnist and former California gubernatorial candidate Arianna Huffington has unveiled a blog with celebrity contributors. Issue Dynamics, which in 1993 was the first K Street firm to set up a lobbying web site, has begun offering a new service to its clients in “Blogger Relations.” Recommendation #4 in The New York Times’s internal review of how to regain reader trust reads: "Consider creating a Times blog that promotes interaction with readers."

    To understand why blogs are hot, it helps to consider the concept of buzz. Buzz is the sound heard in public when a lot of people are talking about the same thing at the same time. Some buzz forms around trivial topics, as the Yahoo! “Buzz Index” illustrates in abundance. But buzz can alter social behavior and perceptions. It can embolden or embarrass its subjects. It can affect sales, donations, and campaign coffers. It can move issues up, down, and across institutional agendas (across being issue reconceptualization or re-framing). When these changes occur, buzz can shift the balance of forces arrayed in a political struggle, and so affect its outcome.


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