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Study: Blogging Still Infrequent

A study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project says few Internet users have created the Web journals and even fewer update them regularly.
The phenomenon of self-publishing on the Internet was supposed to bring the power of the people to the world. To some extent it has, according to a new survey, but only from a surprisingly small percentage of Web users.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that Web users, in general, have posted personal content in a haphazard manner--uploading some photos here, some written material there.

"[We] found that more than 53 million American adults have used the Internet to publish their thoughts, respond to others, post pictures, share files and otherwise contribute to the explosion of content online," the Pew report stated. "Most of those who do contribute material are not constantly updating or freshening content.

"For instance, more than two-thirds of those who have their own Web sites add new content only every few weeks or less often than that."

The study, released Sunday, said that less than 5% of those with blogs--the personal pages created by Internet users--update them daily.

The study gives some insight into the phenomenon of file sharing and music swapping. Pew said about 20% of the Web users it polled "have allowed others to download music or video files from their computers." The study also found that 5% contributed audio files to Web sites and 3% delivered video files.

The study, based on phone surveys of 1,555 Internet users last spring, established that students made up a disproportionate number of content creators—20%. (Only 14% of Americans identify themselves as students.) "It's not surprising that students are so well represented among content creators," according to the report, "given that many universities offer extremely high bandwidth facilities to their students and may make creating online content a part of the required coursework for a student."

The most popular material posted to the Web was photos--about 21% posted pictures of one sort or another. The report broke down individual Web content providers into three main categories:

* Young, power creators are more sophisticated Internet users, averaging about 25 years old and are the most likely to blog. * Older content creators, averaging around 58 years old, tend to share photos and also to use the Internet for genealogical research. * Content omnivores, averaging around 40 years old, are the heaviest users of the Web, usually at work. At home they usually have broadband connections.