Check Technorati to see the frills and fluff associated with the Gartner folk announcing this damned near meaningless and short-sighted "Predict" as they call such. Consider:
- The BBC initiating its typical and uncritical opinion LITE.
- Bloggers huffing and puffing about where this is true, not or partially.
The short version from their news release includes:
Blogging and community contributors will peak in the first half of 2007. Given the trend in the average life span of a blogger and the current growth rate of blogs, there are already more than 200 million ex-bloggers. Consequently, the peak number of bloggers will be around 100 million at some point in the first half of 2007.If you want the detail, the best source at the moment seems to be the article on NewsFactor. Again, Gartner clearly has been reading the same Pew papers the rest of us see. It notes that bloggers tire after about three months and quit, the number of bloggers was doubling every six months and those who were likely to have done it, and even the ultra-light versions like MySpace and FaceBook have maxed out and are dropping. Gartner goes on to predict a drop to 100 million bloggers in 2007 and a core of maybe 30 million who just can't help themselves from posting.
Counterpoints come from folks like consultancy crayon that claims business blogging is just starting. So there.
With the, what, millions, of words spewed on this non-story, we're still waiting for hard research and meaningful questions. The most important is analysis of what effects the political blogs had in the past two-year election cycle.
We expect and at least hope that those studying politics have tried to measure how meaningful blogging was locally and nationally. The shameless self-promoting blogs would have us believe that we were the or at least a key factor in the Dems regaining Congress and in such local revolutions as Deval Patrick winning the governorship here.
Convince me. Show me. I gave up taking important issues on faith a long, long time ago.
Certainly the Pew type researchers can ask the public, which can give indications if not proof. If there's no money to be made in it, the Gartner sorts have no incentive to spend billable hours of consultants' time gathering and analyzing data.
Perhaps this will fall to the sloth-speed academicians. They can go where the races were tight, do content and hit analysis of the political blogs, compare blog comment with MSM articles and reader commentary, and try to find correlations between blog activity and race outcomes.
That would be several orders of magnitude more meaningful than whether America had 30 million or 100 million or 200 million bloggers. This is a quality/quantity thing. One Hummer manufacturer or Courtney Love is plenty, maybe too many. On the other hand, we in New England know we can't have too many ice-cream vendors or brew pubs.
I want to see some figures and numbers on how effective we bloggers were. Some of us can show our hit increases and where the visitors clicked in to see our stuff. We can point to how much money we raised and whether there was a meaningful attendance at a protest we promoted.
Unfortunately, having our new governor say we were important, recognizing us by face and name, and even using a couple of us as clerks in gathering ideas doesn't prove much of anything. Instead, let's hope folk are asking the right questions of enough people and looking at all the data they can to say how potent bloggers were.
Tags: massmarrier, bloggers, BBC, elections,Gartner, research