Why do I still blog?

In July 2004, I was part of Global PR Blog Week 1.0, an online event featuring PR bloggers from around the world, who discussed blogging and communications. Back then, I was fairly new to blogging and found it incredibly fun and valuable to be able to get together with likeminded from other countries and share thoughts and ideas about how new media would influence public relations. I can’t believe it’s been six years since Constantin Basturea brought the group together to create this week of blogging.

Anyway, John Cass who was one of the participants, blogged last week about fact that most of the PR bloggers from 2004 were still blogging.

“I’d like to ask the PR Blog Week Alumni from 2004 why they still blog, and what keeps them motivated? These old timers in blogging have been around a long time. Is blogs a thing of the past, or are we seeing a return to the glory days?”

I think for most people, blogging serves as a channel for self-expression. It’s a great tool for sharing your thoughts about just about anything, and to be able to actually get some kind of response. For the last five years I have asked Swedish bloggers about why they blog, or more specifically, why they started blogging. The series of surveys is probably the longest running annual blog survey in the world and the latest version called BlogSweden 5 (soon translated to English) revealed that the main reason why people begin to blog remains the same. People blog because they like to write, to express opinions and share what’s on their minds. But also for the social aspects. They network, get feedback and keep in touch with friends and family.

why do you blog

Table: from BlogSweden 5, a survey of 2,251 Swedish blog readers, out of which 94% had a blog.

In the report from my BlogSweden 3 survey in 2008, I tried to illustrate the answers from respondents (1,000 Swedish blog readers, of which 806 were bloggers) about what motivates them to use social media. This is not by any means a statistically proven model, but more my view of what drives people to blog, read blogs and participate in social networks. As you see in the image below, many factors motivate users, but some are more related to specific activities.


For me personally, blogging has always been a combination of things. First of all, it is a way to push myself to think deeper about a subject and to learn more. When you are forced to articulate your own opinion about a topic, you do more research and it seems to stick better in your memory. Then there is the social aspect. By writing a blog, I engage in a conversation with smart people and that is always a lot of fun. It is also a great way to build a good network. But perhaps most of all, my blogging has always been fuelled by the reactions from other people, who link to or comment about my content. The more (positive) reactions you get, the more fun it is to blog. And that’s where I have a real problem to motivate myself to blog these days. It seems that many people don’t have as much time to blog today as they used to, before Facebook and Twitter grew popular.

Below is a comparison between how much time Swedish bloggers spent reading blogs in 2009 vs 2010. Data is from my surveys BlogSweden 4 and BlogSweden 5. As you see below, it seems that the time spent reading blogs has decreased. Other data from the surveys suggest that bloggers still update their blogs as often as they used to, but updates are possibly not as time consuming as they used to be. For example, many bloggers now auto-update their blogs with shared links from Google Reader or Delicious, instead of writing their own original content.

5 bswe5 bswe4

I have also noticed that previously you could get several bloggers that linked to your content, while today that happens more seldom. Instead, people are keen on retweeting your blog links on Twitter, so traffic to the blog from other sources is still good, but maybe Twitter has increased in importance. If your post doesn’t get traction on Twitter, you don’t get a lot of readers.

So I don’t think that we are seeing a return to the glory days of blogging. Instead, maybe we are seeing a divided blogosphere between the bloggers that find value in creating original content and the bloggers that don’t want to spend as much time blogging but instead just share links with a short comment.

If you have been blogging for several years, what’s your motivation for still maintaining your blog?

BlogSweden 4 – a survey of more than 1,000 bloggers

Here is the translation of the results from my fourth annual blog survey, BlogSweden 4, possibly the longest running annual blog survey in the world.

A total of 1,500 blog readers responded to an online survey in February 2009. Out of these respondents, 1,065 had at least one blog and the results of their responses are included in this presentation. According to the survey, young women continue to dominate the Swedish blogosphere.

The typical Swedish blogger in the survey is:
• female
• 16 – 20 years old
• reads 6 – 10 blogs daily
• spends 6 – 10 hours per week reading blogs
• often read blogs in the evening (6PM to 12 PM)
• likes to read blogs about everyday life experiences
• reads blogs to be entertained
• has clicked on an ad on a blog
• is a member of one or more social networks in order to stay in touch with friends
• has during the last 12 months shared a negative AND a positive experience online about a company, product or service
• does not publish on a mirco blog
• does not think that social media such as blogs, micro blogs and social networks will influence what party she will vote for in the next election
• blogs because she likes to write
• updates her blog every day
• does not mind being contacted by businesses in her role as a blogger
• is not anonymous
• does not have ads

BlogSweden 4http://static.slidesharecdn.com/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=cdocumentsandsettingskullinhminadokumentprivatbloggsverige4blogsweden4-090511112258-phpapp02&stripped_title=blogsweden-4

View more presentations from Hans Kullin.

The most popular topics continue to be everyday life experiences and fashion & design. Many respondents also say they mostly read friends blogs.

Female bloggers read:
• Fashion and design 60.0%
• Every day life experiences 58.2%
• Phot and art 48.6%

Male bloggers read:
• IT and blogging 63.7%
• Journalism and media 56.8%
• Politics and society 50.0%

More graphs and links will be added shortly. Previous reports can be found in the right sidebar.

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BloggSverige 4 – ny bloggundersökning

[In Swedish only]

Uppdaterad: Enkäten är nu stängd. 1500 personer har svarat på enkäten.

I maj 2005 genomförde jag den första stora svenska undersökningen av bloggare och bloggläsare, BloggSverige 1.0. Den följdes av en ny enkät 2006 och en i januari 2008 (rapporterna finns för nedladdning i högermarginalen på denna blogg). Nu är det dags för den fjärde enkäten om bloggar och sociala medier.

Därför skulle jag vilja be så många som möjligt att:

1) fylla i enkäten genom att klicka på följande länk:
Klicka här för att fylla i enkäten.

2) om du har en egen blogg, lägga upp en text på din blogg i stil med följande:
Bloggen Media Culpa genomför sin fjärde årliga undersökning av svenska bloggare och bloggläsare. Svara på enkäten genom att klicka på länken och uppmana gärna fler att delta: http://cli.gs/ZHRnQn

Enkäten tar bara ett par minuter och är helt anonym. Resultaten presenteras här inom kort. Är du inte redan prenumerant på Media Culpa så passa på att lägga till mitt RSS-flöde till dina prenumerationer, så att du inte missar när resultaten publiceras.

Lägg gärna till etiketten till eventuella blogginlägg som rör enkäten.

Tack på förhand.

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BlogSweden 3 – third annual Swedish blog survey

Between January 1 and 2, 2008, a total of 1,000 Swedish blog readers responded to an online survey about blogs and social media. Of these respondents, 806 are bloggers and it is mainly their answers that are being presented in this report. The report, BlogSweden 3, is a follow up to BlogSweden 1 and 2 from May 2005 and June 2006.

In the survey, three out of four bloggers are women. Here are some more key findings.

Bloggers: The typical Swedish blogger in the survey is:

• Female
• 16-20 years old
• reads 1-5 blogs daily
• spends 1 hour per week reading blogs
• often reads blogs in the evening (6 PM to 12 PM)
• never uses an RSS reader to read blogs
• likes to read blogs about everyday life experiences
• reads blogs to be entertained
• has never clicked on an advertisement on a blog
• is a member of a social network in order to stay in touch with friends
• has during the last 12 months; downloaded video online, listened to radio online or downloaded podcasts, viewed or downloaded video online, have made photos accessible to others online, and has tagged information online.
• has not during the last 12 months; made videos accessible online, saved links via social bookmarking sites or visited virtual worlds.
• blogs because she likes to write
• updates her blog every day
• has nothing against being contacted by companies in her role as a blogger
• is not anonymous
• does not have ads on her blog, from which she gets part of the revenue

In fact, as many as 76.2% of the bloggers in the survey are female.


There are still some major differences between the way male and female bloggers behave:

• Women more often blog anonymously than men (49.2% compared to 34.0%).
• Male bloggers blog to a higher extent than female bloggers to market a product or a service, to influence others, to strengthen their brand, to create an archive of information and because there is a need for more voices in the public debate.
• Female bloggers blog to a higher extent than male bloggers to get in touch with others and to stay in touch with friends and family.
• 66.5% of all bloggers update their blog every day. Female bloggers update their blogs more often than male bloggers (74.1% at least once a day, compared to 42.6% of male bloggers).
• Male bloggers more often than female bloggers have ads on their blogs (14.3% compared to 7.4%).

When a blogger forms an opinion about a company, she thinks that “a person like me or a peer” is the most trustworthy spokesperson. “A blogger” is as trustworthy as the company CEO, according to bloggers.

One in three bloggers have bought a product after reading about it on a blog. An equally high proportion of bloggers have refrained from buying a product after reading information or opinions on a blog. One in three have, after reading information on a blog, acted in order to influence a company or a politician on an important topic.


There are also significant differences between how female and male blog readers behave (all respondents in the survey):

Female blog readers prefer reading blogs about:
• Fashion and design (53.0%)
• Everyday life experiences (51.6%)
• Photography and art (26.6%)
• Parenthood and children (24.3%)
• Music (22%)
• Literature and writing (17.2%)
• Movies and tv (16.9%)
• Journalism and media (16.7%)
• Sex and dating (16.5%)
• Politics and society (14.4%)

Male blog readers prefer reading blogs about:
• Politics and society (49.2%)
• IT and blogging (45.8%)
• Journalism and media (45.3%)
• Everyday life experiences (39.4%)
• Advertising and PR (25.8%)
• Movies and tv (25.4%)
• Music (23.7%)
• Photography and art (19.5%)
• Literature and writing (18.6%)
• Economy and entrepreneurship (15.7%)

Over all, the favorite topics of blog readers are blogs about:

• Everyday life experiences (48.6%)
• Fashion and design (44%)
• Photography and art (24.9%)
• Journalism and media (23.8%)
• Politics and society (23%)

Here is a table of the most popular blog categories among bloggers:


The report BlogSweden 3 is free to download under a Creative Commons license and if you would like to discuss the findings you can join Media Culpa on Facebook or find me on Twitter. More graphs can be found at Flickr.

Footnote: The respondents were chosen through a convenience sample which means that the results from this survey is only representative to the respondents of the survey and not necessarily reflect the profile of all Swedish bloggers and blog readers.

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BloggSverige 3 – grafer för bloggare

Med anledning av rapporten BloggSverige 3 som jag skrev om igår, så vill jag tipsa om att det går att ta del av graferna via ett Flickr set här. Du får använda dem icke-kommersiellt, men du måste hänvisa till källan (dvs hit) då bilderna är licensierade enligt Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

De bilder jag lagt upp visar svaren från bloggare i enkäten.

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BloggSverige 3 – unga kvinnor tar över

Mellan den 1 och 2 januari genomförde jag en online-enkät där 1000 svenska bloggläsare och bloggare svarade på frågor kring bloggar och sociala medier. Rapporten BloggSverige 3 är den tredje i ordningen och en uppföljning på BloggSverige 1 och 2 från 2005 och 2006.

Här redovisas nu svaren från de personer som själva har minst en egen blogg (totalt 806 personer).

Den typiska svenska bloggaren i enkäten är:
• kvinna
• 16-20 år gammal
• läser 1-5 bloggar dagligen
• spenderar 1 timma per vecka med att läsa bloggar
• läser oftast bloggar på kvällstid (ca 18-24)
• använder aldrig en RSS-läsare för att läsa bloggar
• läser helst bloggar om vardagsbetraktelser
• läser bloggar för att bli underhållen
• har aldrig klickat på en annons på en blogg
• är medlem i ett socialt nätverk för att hålla kontakt med kompisar
• har de senaste 12 månaderna laddat ner musik från internet, lyssnat på radio eller podcast på internet, tittat på eller laddat ner video från internet, har gjort bilder tillgängliga för andra på internet, har kategoriserat innehåll på internet
• har de senaste 12 månaderna inte gjort videofilmer tillgängliga på internet, sparat länkar med hjälp av bokmärkessajter eller besökt virtuella världar
• bloggar för att hon gillar att skriva
• uppdaterar sin blogg varje dag
• har inget emot att bli kontaktad av företag i sin egenskap av bloggare
• är inte anonym
• har inte egna annonser på sin blogg

Kvinnorna är nu i klar majoritet bland bloggarna.


När bloggare bildar sig en uppfattning om ett företag så anser de att ”en person som jag själv eller en vän” är den mest trovärdiga talespersonen. En annan bloggare anses lika trovärdig som företagets egna vd.

En av tre bloggare har köpt en vara som en följd av rekommendationer på en blogg. Lika stor andel har avstått från att köpa en vara. En av tre har efter att ha läst information på en blogg vidtagit en åtgärd i syfte att påverka ett företag eller en politiker i en viktig fråga.

Vardagsbetraktelser är fortfarande den typ av bloggar som flest är intresserade av, men modebloggarna har gått starkt framåt och är den klart mest populära kategorin bland kvinnliga bloggare och bloggläsare.


Rapporten BloggSverige 3 finns att ladda ner i pdf-format här. Diskutera gärna de olika frågeställningarna i Media Culpas grupp på Facebook, där även en del bilder redan ligger uppe.

Fotnot: Lägg gärna till etiketten “bloggsverige3” till eventuella blogginlägg som rör enkäten.

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