October 11, 2004

Oct 2004 State of the Blogosphere: 4.6 posts per second

This is part 2 of a series of posts describing the growth of blogging during 2003-2004 that is an expansion of the talk I gave at last week's excellent Web 2.0 conference. You can view Part 1, which covers the overall size of the blogosphere.

With the tremendous growth in the number of weblogs also comes an increase in the number of posts per day, also known as posting volume. This is an excellent proxy for the amount of time spent on blogging, because greater posting frequency means that more people are posting more often, and it also tends to validate the increased number of blogs that are out there. As of October 6, 2004, there are approximately 400,000 posts created every day in the blogosphere, which averages out to about 4.6 posts per second, or over 16,000 posts per hour. What is also interesting are the spikes in weblog posting, and the reasons for the spikes, as shown in the graph below (click on the graph for a larger view):

Slide5

Many of the volume increases were due to political events. Large spikes occurred around the Iowa Caucuses (the Howard Dean scream), the time of the Nick Berg beheading, when both conservative and liberal bloggers posted prolifically on the new form of terrorist threat, and around both major American political conventions, where bloggers were feted as well.

However, other noteworthy spikes occurred around non-political news events as well. The blogosphere was abuzz around the discovery of a flaw in the basic mechanism of high-end Kryptonite locks, which made them vulnerable to picking with a dime-store plastic pen, and that news flew around the blogosphere for 5 days before mainstream media picked it up, which caused a second spike, as shown by a secondary spike in posting volume, as bloggers discussed the implications. A side note: I wonder how much Kryptonite could have done if their executives were keeping track of the blogosphere on a regular basis - it certainly could have helped to avert a major PR problem if they had reacted quickly and offered a recall or a fix before the news had broken in mainstream media. The story broke on 9/12/04 on a bicycle forum, but quickly spread throughout the blogosphere, with major mentions in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and others.

Tomorrow, I'll look at the level of authority and influence that various blogs are attaining, and compare that with many traditional media sites.

Posted by dsifry at October 11, 2004 08:44 PM | Other blogs commenting on this post | TrackBack
Comments

David, fascinating numbers. I think that trend tracking of bursts related to events is really cool.

Do you think its possible to predict a burst of activity? Like maybe looking at certain influential blogs and their influence on what stories break and get huge?

Posted by: Pat at October 12, 2004 06:44 AM

Dave -Superb analysis about influential media - the blogs, am sure you would also publish regionwise/continentwise/topic/themwise analysis as well and perhaps an ageing analysis of blogsites would make this perspective fully rounded and may be you can update these data on a monthly/quarterly basis.

Posted by: sadagopan at October 12, 2004 07:47 AM

Love the graphs and the data. One question: at Web2.0 you mentioned that only something like 30 or 40% of blogs have RSS feeds. Made me wonder how many blogs are not "known" by Technorati, i.e., no pings received by those blogs. Any estimate?

Posted by: Brian Dear at October 13, 2004 09:36 AM

Brian,

Great question, I'll be talking more about RSS feeds later this week. As for unknown blogs, we think we're catching over 95% of all weblogs out there that are public (i.e. not behind a firewall, not password protected). We've been working really hard with all the blog tool vendors to make sure that we get notifications of new posts, and we have a number of private relationships with hosting providers as well. This is why the RSS numbers were so low in fact - there's a lot of weblogs out there that don't yet have RSS feeds - but clearly RSS (and Atom) is a growing trend.

Dave

Posted by: David Sifry at October 13, 2004 09:51 AM

It would be fascinating to see those stats as based on the recent debates as places like Daily Kos were posting on it AS it was occuring. i.e. the speed from Bush to mention he never said he wasn't concerned about Bin Laden to the speed at which Kos found the video/transcript that said he did.

Posted by: B.K. DeLong at October 14, 2004 09:56 AM

Well that was one case where I didn't need a blogger to dig up an archived video; I simply remembered the day of that press conference where GWB said it. Making it all the more astounding that he could lie so blatantly in the debate, imho.

Posted by: Brian Dear at October 14, 2004 06:00 PM
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