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28 September 2005

Blog Boom or Bust

A Reuters article entitled "Has the blog phenomenon been blown out of proportion?" (via Adpulp) seems to take a dim view of blog infiltration into the wider UK population. It claims that "in a survey of British taxi drivers, pub landlords and hairdressers nearly 90% had no idea what a podcast is and more than 70% had never heard of blogging." These professions are often seen as a barometer of popular trends and even economic activity, which should make this survey highly relevant? Well not quite.
Whilst this offers an interesting perspective, there are a few points to bear in mind:
1. Yes there is always a habit of getting ahead of ourselves when a new technology appears. The internet and the subsequent bubble is a case in point. The fact that the internet is still here and has revolutionised the world is a compelling paralell to blogging, even if they maybe of a different magnitude.
2. The survey fails to recognise that there may well be an unseen osmosis of information from customer to service provider. For instance, I was in a taxi only yesterday and the driver happened to ask me my opinion of the new ipod nano he had just purchased, I nodded in admiration but mentioned reading various worrying reviews. The taxi driver did not ask where I had gleaned this information from, taking my words at face value. In fact, I recalled later in the day that the reviews I had seen were in fact from blogs. This is obviously a microcosm, but how many others are relaying information about products or services in the same way? This is where the survey completely misses the point.
3. Interestingly the survey was conducted by the DDB agency a unit of New York based advertising group Omnicom. Coincidentally they specialise in conventional mass media, so absolutely no hidden agenda there whatsoever!!


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