Bloggers often get a bad rap. They are nerdy types without friends. Loud mouth know-it-alls lounging at home in their pajamas. White. Young. Male. Too liberal--or too conservative. No real job other than "talk, type, tag, text & Twitter." (Or worse, like this.)
But the reality is different (surprise!). A study released this week busts some myths, confirms some hunches, and generally sheds some light on just who blogs. (And by the way, when I'm talking about bloggers here, I'm not necessarily referring to the folks who contribute at HuffPo, but rather those who say what they think in various places, all around the blogosphere.)
"Bloggers are a diverse group and not who you would expect," says Gary Drenik, President of BIGresearch, which conducted the poll of 15,727 people.
Just over a quarter (26%) of the population blogs, according to the study. And of them, it says, 53.7% are male, nearly half (44.7%) are married, 1 in 10 (10.4%) are students, and 28.4% hold a professional or managerial position.
As a group, they are slightly better educated (14.3 years of education vs. 14.2). Though they tend to be younger, they aren't kids: They have an average age of 37.6, compared with 44.8 for the US adult population.
At the same time, ethnic minorities are highly represented among bloggers:
• 12.2% of bloggers are African American/Black (compared with 11.4% of the general population)
• 20% are Hispanic (vs. 14.8%).
• 3.7% are Asian (vs. 2.0%).
White/Caucasians are 76.1% of all adults, but among those who blog regularly or occasionally, 69.7% are white.
There are also a lot of Libertarians blogging. Of all registered voters, 24.6% say they regularly or occasionally blog. Of these:
• 37.6% are Libertarians.
• 26.9% are Democrats.
• 25.7% are Independents.
• 22.9% are Republicans.
And, if all those numbers begin to blur and make your head spin... just remember that bloggers are, more and more, like the rest of us. As Erik Ringmar wirtes here today, "Blogging is the best chance we have had in a while to overturn old hierarchies, giving voices to the voiceless and empowering the powerless."