Pew / Internet published a report looking into aspects of blogging. It is a US centred report, though it is likely that the UK would produce similar results. The data was gathered via telephone interviews, of those who had identified themselves as keeping a blog.
Of the data of interest, some 37% said that they were blogging about “life and experiences” – i.e. the diary type blog. Education was only mentioned by a few people – though I suppose that some educational bloggers would have fallen into the 5% who had business focussed blogs. US bloggers, at least, are generally younger than the online community as a whole (more than half the bloggers are under 30 as compared to 20% under 30 in the online community)
Some 52% are blogging primarily for themselves, as opposed to the 32% who blog mainly for their audience. Some 87% allow comments, though only 18% (knowingly) offer an RSS feed. The survey didn’t show if the number of comments (and commenters) was impacted by the presence or absence of an RSS feed, though clearly that would be useful information if we are looking at blogs as a means of community development.
While some 56% of bloggers said that they “Often/Sometimes” spend extra time trying to verify facts and about the same % include links to the original source material, given that many of this group of bloggers were personal, rather than work related bloggers, I’d like to think that students who blog – or rather “Edu-blog” would be more likely to verify facts and link to sources, in the same way as they should for other assessed work.
If anyone knows of similar surveys that have been done in the UK, it would be useful.