There once was a “Robert’s Ramblings”

Who Blogs? And How Careful Are They? Mostly men (63 percent) who are Caucasian (79 percent), between the ages of 21 and 40 (75 percent), have a college or advanced degree (85 percent), and have been blogging for a year or more (67 percent). That’s according to survey results reported recently by Fernanda Viégas, a doctoral student in the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Lab.

In January, Viégas ran an online survey focused on the tension between the chatty, uninhibited nature of most blogs and the social and legal accountability many bloggers are facing as they evolve into full-fledged Web publishers. She collected responses from 486 bloggers. Viégas found that most bloggers seem to be wary of slandering, libeling, or even offending someone through their blogs. About 80 percent of respondents said they are either somewhat, very, or extremely liable for what they write in their blogs, and 36 percent said they had experienced that liability first-hand at least once by getting into trouble with friends, family, or the law over something they’d written in their blogs.

The most common category respondents identified for their blogs: “Personal ramblings.“

MIT Technology Review

From the survey:

The findings in this survey suggest that blogging is a world in flux where social norms are starting to flourish. For instance, many bloggers reveal the names of companies and products when they blog about them, except when they write about a company for which they currently work or have worked in the past. More bloggers are becoming sensitive about revealing the full names of friends on postings as well. But for all of the careful publishing guidelines that are starting to evolve, bloggers still do not feel like they know their audience. For the most part, they have no control over who reads their postings. The study also shows that bloggers usually have some idea of their “core” audience (readers who post comments on the site) without really knowing who the rest of their readers are – in many cases, this latter group makes up the majority of their readers.

Fernanda Viegas

We have been categorized and pigeonholed, but it rings true.

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