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Stefan Glänzer (Azeem Azhar / Max Niederhofer)
Does blogging suck?
Our paper examines behaviour of bloggers across several countries, the UK, US, France, Germany and Netherlands. These are bloggers using services on 20six. We use rich data sources (quantitative and qualitative) to examine the motivations, behaviour and typology of bloggers. 20six targets non-expert (or first time) bloggers who may not know people who blog (and certainly don't know Nick Denton/Anil Dash/etc etc!).
We will discuss demographics, motivations and behaviour from a quantitative approach. Additionally, we have done in depth analysis on group forming.
In particular, we noticed early on the rich-get-richer phenomenon where marginally more popular blogs garnered a disproportionate number of inbound links. We modelled this and created systems to try to provide a social redistribution so that our blogs were not as skewed (according to the distribution of inbound links) as they might have been without intervention. Our hypothesis was that inbound links and readers encourage bloggers to continue to blog, so by providing mechanisms where non-star bloggers could get readers we would encourage them to keep with it.
We also noticed differences in the evolution of the user base across our different country services. Some of these we established were cultural differences (e.g. rates of take-up). Others we established were a result of our choice of the initial bloggers used to seed the service. This led to different personalities (in aggregate) across our four key services (UK, De, Fr, NL).
Another phenomenon we shall discuss is that of churn. In common with other blogging and journalling services we have a high degree of churn. That is where users stop blogging after a few days. We saw something interesting with heavy users who decided to stop blogging. Rather than simply stop blogging, they often announced their intentions several days before they did. Then they would write their own epitaph before shutting down their blogs. We have a numebr of hypotheses for this.
We will also investigate moblogging as we have been running moblogging services for over a year we have substantial data to back this up.
Our conclusion is that blogging does suck for a number of people, but that we have found some large segments were it becomes invaluable (or sometimes just fun). We can explain these segments and differences between them.
Our main sources of data are regular user servers and web server log files. We will support this with the regular dialogues we have with heavy users as well as churning users.
last update: Friday, July 23, 2004 at 10:32:26 AM-----------------------