Despite the potential of turning every Internet user into a publisher, relatively few have created Web journals called blogs and even fewer do so with regularity, a new study finds.
Some bloggers indeed update their journals often, in some cases several times a day. But it's clearly a minority who are taking advantage of the blog and its potential to steer the online discourse with personal musings about news events and daily life.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project, in a study released Sunday, found that somewhere between 2 percent and 7 percent of adult Internet users in the United States actually keep their own blogs.
Of those, only about 10 percent update them daily, the majority doing so only once a week or less often.
"The impression out there is that a lot of the blog activity is very feverish," said Lee Rainie, the Pew project's director. "That's not the case. For most bloggers, it's not an all-consuming, all-the-time kind of experience."
The study was largely based on random telephone surveys of 1,555 Internet users taken from March 12 to May 20, 2003. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
That survey found only 2 percent of users keeping blogs, although a preliminary analysis of follow-up surveys from early 2004 showed the figure increasing to about 7 percent.
About 11 percent of Internet users report visiting blogs written by others. Most often, they were for blogs written by friends. But blog readers are more likely to go to journals kept by strangers rather than by family members.
Among other findings: 21 percent of Internet users have posted photos on Web sites, and 20 percent say they have allowed others to download video or music files from their computers. Seven percent have webcams that let others see live pictures of them over the Net.