Pew Internet released its “Generations Online 2010” survey results on how the Internet is now used by various age groups. While the gist of the coverage is saying “no one blogs anymore” I think it’s important to note the origin of blogging as a way to share information.
As noted briefly in the Mashable story, people have less need to create blogs now that there are other outlets for sharing, such as Facebook and Twitter. While “Read blogs” is relatively low on this list, I suspect that this is more a question of channel selection than “I don’t read blogs.” The content is often free from the origin. For example, my own and many other blogs distribute content through multiple channels (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, RSS feeds, etc.), so there is not always a need to get the information directly through the blog site itself. I see this item more as an affirmation that people consume the bulk of their content through other channels.
The lack of original content fits pretty neatly into the Forrester technographic profiles, with a small group of ‘creators’ (those who produce original content: blogging, video, etc.) at the very top of the profile ladder. These are the people who “make the social content consumed by others.” Producing original content for consumption by others demonstrates the creator’s leadership and creativity. So a key point of the survey findings is that there are fewer creators in the pool.
The top several categories are all consuming activities, getting news and information, searching, shopping, watching video, playing games, etc.
These findings create a great opportunity for anyone with a creative voice who can commit to the challenges of blogging (or maybe “independent online publishing”?). Pay attention especially to video (popularity: 80-89% ages 18-33, 60-69% 34-55, 50-59% 56-64). Also note that podcasts don’t penetrate more than 29% of any audience, so this is likely not the most rewarding direction.
The creators are the people who set the direction and begin the conversation for everyone else. They provide the raw material shared by everyone online. Blogs are a distribution channel. People may be receiving the information by different means, but are still searching (no. 2 activity across age groups) for something original and interesting. It’s the content that matters, only the channels have changed.