I wish I had the data for this, and I’m sure somebody out there does. There’s a gap between the blogger as writer and the blogger as reader, a gap I’m sure is common to any production media. Do anchors watch TV? Do film-makers watch movies? Do musicians even listen to a ton of music? The answer to that one would depend, of course. But I bet the gap is biggest among the new and highly participatory media, the ones like this one in which the barrier to entry is extremely low.
When the barrier to produce, to speak, to record, to post, to share, to present, to link, to rate, to vote, to bookmark, to blog, to comment, to download, upload, and offload is that low, participation becomes a matter of simply doing it. Not a matter of obligation to community, or of reciprocation of a gesture, or even of response to a hello. Media in which the barrier to expression is low must show a much greater gap between producer and consumer, writer and reader, photographer and viewer.
I wish we had data for this, but we don’t and I suspect it would be difficult even to obtain. We’d have to know not only whether blogs were hit, but whether they were actually read. We’ve all become so good at distilling information from text that even “reading” might be divided into shades of attention (from the exegetical close reading to the summary provided by Google’s search results). I’d like to know what the data is simply because the medium’s silent. And most of us who blog don’t intend to just talk to ourselves out loud. Even though most of us (and I speak for myself particularly!) may be doing just that!