The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

State of the Female Blogosphere

Posted by Mel Campbell on October 1, 2008

Blogging poobah Technorati has just released its State of the Blogosphere 2008 report, a kind of online State of the Nation that reveals the ways blogging is being used, the shifting formats and technological changes (particularly the rise of blog advertising and the blurring of blogs and so-called “mainstream media”), and who is blogging these days.

This year, for the first time, Technorati got bloggers to fill out a survey (previous States of the Blogosphere were based on the stats Technorati collected itself). The survey was in English, and 72% of respondents stated their blog was also in that language. 48% of blogger respondents were based in North America, 27% in Europe, 13% in Asia, 7% in South America, 3% in Australia, and less than 1% in Africa. 66% of bloggers worldwide were still male, and here’s a further snapshot of bloggers by gender:

We all know those dumb stereotypes of women blogging about kids, crafts and cats (ie, the “home blogger”) while men tackle hard-hitting politics, business or geek topics (ie, the “work blogger”). Of course that’s crap – think of Perez Hilton making a killing from the traditional “women’s territory” of celebrity gossip, or Wonkette being a key voice in American politics and policy. And of course, I Can Has Cheezburger ‘ought’ to be a “women’s blog”, but has a vast audience among both genders.

Still, Technorati found what they call “expected truths”. Women were more likely than men to maintain personal blogs than professional or corporate ones (83% compared to 76% of men). Women favoured personal musings (66% vs 47% of men) and family updates (36% vs 16% of men), and their blog style was more likely to be conversational (75% vs 59% of men). Women also stated that they blogged to keep friends and family updated (45% vs 25% of men) and to interact with like-minded people (69% vs 58% of men).

But it’s the financials that gave Technorati pause – and should probably give women bloggers pause too. Technorati found that women were twice as likely as men to use a blog network for their ads (16% vs 7%), and more likely to swap advertising with affiliates (41% vs 32%). Men, meanwhile, were more into contextual ads (automated, link-based ads such as Google Ads). Perhaps women are better at negotiating the networking aspects of blogging: women were more likely to participate in blogrolls, link to other blogs, list themselves in blog directories and produce content for other blogs.

Still, while men and women had ads on their blogs in almost equal proportions, men earned twice as much from blogging as women.

It’s hard to avoid speculating on this. Women are clearly competent at converting business leads from their blogs (36% vs 27% of men) – could the issue be that they get fewer leads than men in the first place? Could women be more likely to consider blogging a hobby and be prepared to do it for free? Or are the topics favoured by women bloggers not as attractive to advertisers, or as lucrative from advertising, as those favoured by men bloggers?

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