Not just for teenagers sharing with friends

News24 has an article titled “Bloggers ‘exposed’” that discusses blogging and bloggers generally:

Washington – Bloggers are a predominantly young group of internet users who are novice storytellers, enjoy describing their own experiences and have a growing audience in the online world.

A glimpse of this group was put together by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The survey found that almost one in 10 internet users are bloggers and the audience for this group of online diarists is growing.

Almost four in 10 of the approximately 147 million adult internet users in the United States say they read blogs.

The people they are reading on the online blogs are a young, ethnically diverse group.

They are mostly newcomers to writing – often writing about their own experiences. More than half of bloggers are under age 30.

They were most likely to list their life and events as the most popular topic, followed by politics and entertainment.

The poll findings are based on a sample of 4 573 internet users and a sample from a separate survey of 233 bloggers.

While it is good to see blogging attracting more attention from mainstream media, this article (and many similar articles in mainstream media) doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the blogosphere and the bloggers who contribute to it. Blogs are often described as “online journals” or “online diaries” and while many people use their blogs to document their daily lives, blogs are increasingly being put to use as powerful business tools that facilitate meaningful conversations between businesses and their customers.

Many of the features of blogs that made them so popular as online diaries makes them particularly effective as business communication tools. They enable businesses to post content relevant to their products and services very quickly and to disseminate that content to literally millions of people worldwide. In a way the hype about the Internet in the late 1990s and now is not entirely incorrect. Having a presence on the Web is a way to reach an enormous audience of potential customers. Simply having a blog doesn’t automatically mean your blog will attract all those visitors, just as having a web presence in the 1990s didn’t always live up to the promise of a business in reach of millions online. To succeed you need more than just a blog. You need a service or product people need (just as you always did) and you must let all those potential customers that you have that product or service. A blog makes the latter part a little easier because of the way blogs connect to each other using features like trackbacks and hyperlinks.

Ultimately, if you use it correctly, a blog can become a remarkably effective business tool and not simply a fun thing for your kids to do if they want to show their friends photos of their puppy.

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