March 20, 2004

Blog Survey:
Expectations of Privacy and Accountability

Fernanda Viegas of sociable media group, MIT media laboratory has conducted the above titled blog survey in which I was one of the 486 participants. The period of the online survey was from January 14th to January 21st, 2004.

Some excerpts from the report:

- the great majority of bloggers identify themselves on their sites: 55% of respondents provide their real names on their blogs; another 20% provide some variant of the real name (first name only, first name and initial of surname, a pseudonym friends would know, etc.)

- 76% of bloggers do not limit access (i.e. readership) to their entries in any way

- 36% of respondents have gotten in trouble because of things they have written on their blogs

- 83% of respondents characterized their entries as personal ramblings whereas 20% said they mostly publish lists of useful/interesting links (respondents could check multiple options for this answer). This indicates that the nature of blogs might be changing from being mostly lists of links to becoming sites that contain more personal stories and commentaries.

- despite believing that they are liable for what they publish online (58% of respondents believed they were highly liable), in general, bloggers do not believe people could sue them for what they have written on their blogs.

The study also shows that bloggers usually have some idea of their �core� audience (readers who post comments on the site) without really knowing who the rest of their readers are � in many cases, this latter group makes up the majority of their readers.

75% of respondents said they have edited the contents of their entries in the past. Even though most respondents explained that they usually edit typos and grammatical errors, 35% of respondents said they had edited for content as well: entries they decided were too personal, entries they thought were �mean�, some respondents mentioned having gone back to entries to obfuscate names of people.

Read the whole report here.


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