A lot people have been talking about the Pew Internet and American Life Project study of bloggers. For some POVs, see TechNews World, BuzzMachine and Neville Hobson. BottomLine: some good descriptive statistics demonstrating a very complex and growing enterprise (note to those in the early majority: it's passed being a fad).
What is another interesting form of social media are podcasts; interesting because while they may be 'social' in allowing more people to simply and inexpensively generate content that the world can tap into and take with them on their MP3 player, they are a creator-centric (command and control) media. Users cannot interact (yet) with the content - it's listen and learn. This property of podcasts is one reason why Federal government agencies have picked up on them (National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research, Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research) and not blogs (hint: turn off the comments to your blog and you've created a text version of a podcast).
Nielsen Analytics released a report on The Economics of Podcasting last week. Using their facility in Las Vegas (that introduces some unknown - to me anyway - set of biases to their sample), they surveyed 1,700 people about their podcast use. Some of the findings include:
- 6% describe themselves as regular podcast users (about 9 million)
- The more popular podcasts are being downloaded up to 2 million times a month
- The average length of a podcast is 44 minutes
- Among people who download podcasts, 72% download an average of 1-3 week while the heavy users (10%) download 8 or more/week.
The report also notes some of the uses podcasts are being applied to, including making class lectures available on college campuses [example]. For more information about podcasting try these sites for starters: Podcasting News, Podcasters Wiki and 20 Ideas for a Great Podcast at FrogBlog.