Edelman/Technorati Blogging Study

I reviewed a recent report called Public RelationSHIPS: Communications in the Age of Personal Media. The methodology is a little suspect because people self-selected to participate, but a few interesting tidbits from the survey:

Why do bloggers blog? According to the survey:

34% = establish themselves as an authority in their field

32% = create a record of their thoughts [I’m surprised that a third of bloggers recognize this benefit–it often gets overlooked]

20% = “connecting with others”

Contacts with PR Agencies. “Nearly half of all bloggers (48%) reported never having contact with companies or their public relations representatives.” (A methodology note reflects some inter-question inconsistencies on this point, but in ways that don’t affect my comment). So, by inference, a majority of bloggers have been contacted by PR agencies…? If so, I’m shocked by how many bloggers are getting PR contacts–there are so many bloggers out there, and a lot of them don’t have a whole lot of traffic. It appears that buzz marketing is growing, and PR agencies are treating blogs–even relatively small blogs–as a major publicity enterprise.

How Bloggers Correct Errors. I think bloggers generally struggle with the best way to correct errors. According to the survey, bloggers correct errors as follows:

39% = strikethrough error and correct

25% = create new post with new information

24% = remove post

6% = leave error but add correction

5% = leave error but rely on comments to correct

2% = leave post as is

I never make errors, but if the inconceivable happened, I generally add updates to my post. If there were new developments, I may add an entirely new post as well (with cross-links between the posts).

Conclusion. The report’s conclusion: “The survey results and anecdotes demonstrate that online community members welcome involving company representatives into “the conversation,” as long as their interaction with them is truly participatory and honest—that it benefits both sides.”

I think that’s generally right. I always welcome emails about my blogs and suggestions of things I should look at, even if I blog on those suggestions fairly infrequently. If the person emailing me the tip has some skin in the game, I’d welcome the open disclosure of that–however, I don’t view such disclosures as essential because I’m skeptical about the motivations of all unsolicited email suggestions I get.