In what may be a commentary on the modern world, the state of the economy or both, a Wall Street Journal columnist believes more people make their living blogging than fighting fires.
Based on a review of a variety of sources, Mark Penn concluded that of more than 20 million bloggers, 1.7 million are “profiting from the work, and 452,000 of those us[e] blogging as their primary source of income.” In comparison, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2007, there were 555,770 Americans employed as lawyers, 498,090 as bartenders, 394,710 as computer programmers, 343,320 as hairdressers, and 289,710 as firefighters.
Penn cites part of Technorati’s 2008 State of the Blogosphere report. It concluded the average annual blogger revenue is more than $6,000, the top 1 percent earn $200,000 a year or more and, among active bloggers it surveyed, ” the average income was $75,000 for those who had 100,000 or more unique visitors per month,” although the median annual income for that group was $22,000. Penn makes a point that may be behind recent regulatory proposals by the Federal Trade Commission. “It is hard to think of another job category that has grown so quickly and become such a force in society without having any tests, degrees, or regulation of virtually any kind,” he wrote.
Even if those numbers are right, I see a couple issues. First, barely two percent of bloggers make a living from it. Even counting all those who somehow “profit” from blogging, it isn’t like there are many other “jobs” where four percent of the workforce is “employed” and the remaining 96 percent do the job just for fun. Likewise, since when has America required anyone — even politicians — to take a test or have a degree to express opinions or write?
On second thought, maybe this should all give me pause to reconsider my pledge not to accept advertising or other revenue on or via this blog. After all, that retirement fund ain’t been looking too shiny lately.
Your blog is what you say when there is nobody standing over your shoulder telling you what to do.
Joshua Porter, bokardo.com, April 19, 2007