Blogging to Peak in 2007

The number of bloggers will likely level off next year, according to one tech consulting company.

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.”

That’s no knock on blogging. Plummer noted that this leveling-off dynamic plays out all the time, though it often comes as a bit of a surprise when it hits things that had achieved quick popularity.

While I don’t know anything about Gartner or Plummer, their prognostication here strikes me as plausible.

Maintaining a decent blog requires a lot of effort and the return on that investment is small, indeed, for most people. Unless one derives a lot of pleasure from researching and writing, which relatively few people do, then the rewards of blogging come from ego–having people read and respond to one’s work–and financial. With millions of blogs out there competing for readers, though, it is exceedingly hard to build up a significant readership. And few of those blogs, even, will make even minimum wage for the hours invested.

Blogging as a medium will continue to flourish in the years to come. Blogging as a participatory social trend will likely level off and diminish.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    One justification for blogging is recorded in Nietzsche, avant la lettre of course:

    “I shall see myself, I shall read myself, I shall go into ecstasies, and I shall say: is it possible that I should have had so much ésprit?”

    Where “ésprit” of course means “wit,” roughly. N. is being nasty about what he calls the “literary female,” but when ya recognize yourself, ya recognize yourself.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Anderson: My guess is that most people who start blogs and quickly cease updating them discover precisely how little ésprit they possess.

  3. Anderson says:

    There is another relevant quote:

    This is your enemy: a perfectly empty sheet of paper. Nothing will ever happen here except what you make happen. If you are stupid, what happens will be like a signed confession of that fact. If you are unfunny, a humorless patch of words will grow here. If you lack imagination, your reader will know you immediately and forever as the slug you are. Or let me put it to you this way – and you may want to tattoo this somewhere on your bodies – BLANK PAPER IS GOD’S WAY OF TELLING US THAT IT’S NOT SO EASY TO BE GOD.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Yep. A good piece.

    Writing is a craft and one can learn to do it. Teachers can help, I think: By assigning lots of writing and then critiquing he hell out of it. But that’s damned hard work and most teachers won’t do it. Indeed, while I started with good intentions in that regard, I stopped requiring much writing in my survey courses and saved the writing requirements for the majors.

  5. Of course blogging will level off at some point. If the number of blogs continued to increase at its past rate, we would soon have more blogs than people.

  6. John Burgess says:

    Many people have more than one blog already. Even James’ OTB is associated with three.