Blogs See Rise in Use, Become More 'Mainstream'

iMedia Connection reports that blogs are becoming more mainstream and that a true "democratization" of content has ocurred, where what people hear as fact no longer comes from a few large media outlets.

Record numbers of people are now visiting blogs, proving that blog visitation is now part of mainstream online behavior for many internet users.

Once bastions for the tech elite, blogs are now as ubiquitous to the web as reality shows are to television. Blogs are redefining how people experience the web and, in many ways, have helped precipitate the shift towards user-generated content on the internet (otherwise known as the Web 2.0 movement).

The emergence of the blogosphere has marked the true democratization of the internet-- a paradigm shift that has taken users from merely having access to information to allowing them to engage in the free exchange of opinions and ideas. But how do we know whether this shift is truly occurring on a wide scale? comScore data show that record numbers of people are now visiting blogs, proving that blog visitation is now part of mainstream online behavior for many internet users.

* Visitation to blogs continues to grow rapidly, showing a 56-percent increase during the past year to 58.7 million visitors. This figure represents 34 percent of the total internet audience.

* The top blog network is Google-owned Blogger.com, garnering 20.8 million visitors in May 2006. MySpace Blogs ranked second with 14.4 million visitors (up 115 percent), while MSN Spaces ranked third with 9.6 million visitors (up 205 percent).

* The top special interest blog in May was TVSquad.com with more than two million visitors, followed by FreeRepublic.com (up seven percent to 1.6 million visitors) and Breitbart.com (1.6 million visitors).

* Visitation to the Blogs category skews toward younger internet users. People between the ages of 12 and 17 are 21 percent more likely than average to visit blogs, while those 18 to 34 are 14 percent more likely to do so.

* Blog visitation also shows slight skews to higher income households. Households with incomes of at least $75,000 are eight percent more likely than average to frequent blogs.