Thursday, July 20, 2006

Study challenges myths about bloggers

Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A popular notion about bloggers is that they're pajama-wearing partisan ranters living in Mommy's basement. There they wile away their under-employed time obsessing about the latest Connecticut Senate race poll, while fancying themselves a new type of journalist, independent of government's influence and free to make up facts.

The reality of the blogosphere is a lot less partisan, a lot more diverse and nearly half female, according to a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Many of the nation's estimated 12 million adult bloggers -- a three-fold increase in two years -- are like Christina Palsky.

The suburban Philadelphia resident is under 30, blogs as a creative outlet and does not fancy herself a journalist. And like most bloggers, she has never published before and is more interested in sharing her life with the world than ranting about politics or popular culture. Palsky's audience is in the hundreds and, like most bloggers, she is well-educated, gainfully employed and blogs fully clothed.

"This study does unpack a lot of myths we have about bloggers," said Amanda Lenhart, a Pew senior research specialist who co-authored the study. "What it shows is that the technology is bringing a lot more voices to the national conversation. No, they might not all have the most scintillating things to say, but they are bringing a greater diversity to the dialogue."

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