I knew that blogs were sucking up a great deal of my time, but it turns out that they’re becoming a major way for people with actual jobs and bosses to shirk their duties.
According to this Advertising Age story:
"35 million workers — one in four people in the labor force — visit blogs and on average spend 3.5 hours, or 9%, of the work week engaged with them."
This is equivalent to 2.3 million jobs. Much hand wringing to ensue, I’m sure. But what’s rarely considered in these calculations is what, exactly, the blog-reading time is replacing. The conceit is that it’s replacing productive work, but I think it’s probably not. (To be fair, this story nods at this possibility.) For me, the time I spent reading blogs was time that I once spent reading online message boards. So, that’s not a huge difference in my productivity. (Of course, I can argue that reading blogs is part of my job as a writer. I can also argue that about watching television.) My theory is that most people only have between three and four productive hours of work in them each day anyway, and the rest of the time is taken up with either looking busy or plain old goofing off. Which is why contract workers make so much sense, from a business perspective, and why it would make sense from a social perspective if we had a meaningful social safety net for freelancers.
Another stat that I want to call out in this piece: According to Technorati, "there are 19.6 million blogs, a number that has doubled about every five months for the past three years. If that growth were to continue, all 6.7 billion people on the planet will have a blog by April 2009." God, I hate it when writers use the "all the people on the planet" bit. It’s just beyond stupid. The growth rate is not going to continue at that pace. All the people on the planet are never going to have a blog, not the least of which because all the people on the planet don’t have electricity. Ad Age is still cutting its teeth on statistical stories like this, I hope that they’ll learn to edit out idiotic comparisons like this soonest.
(Ouch, why am I being so snarky? Because Ad Age is the entity that bought –and folded–American Demographics, and I’m still annoyed about it.)