Why blogs endure: A study of recent college graduates and motivations for blog readership

  • Alison J. Head
  • Michele Van Hoeck Researcher, Project information Literacy, Dean of the Library, California State University Maritime Academy
  • Kirsten Hostetler Instruction and Outreach Faculty, Central Oregon Community College

Abstract

This paper reports the results from a mixed methods study of recent college graduates who were asked if and why they used blogs as sources for continued learning purposes. Findings are based on 1,651 online survey responses and 63 follow-up telephone interviews with young graduates from 10 U.S. colleges and universities. Despite the media’s declarations about the impending demise of the blogosphere, almost two-thirds of the respondents (62 percent) had read blogs to fulfill their learning needs during the past 12 months. Blogs were an affordable source of information to these readers, especially for acquiring additional knowledge and closing skill gaps in their personal lives after college. Results from a logistic regression analysis indicated respondents were more likely to have read blogs during the past 12 months if they needed step-by-step instructions for hobbies, do-it-yourself household repairs, or money management and creating a personal budget. Respondents who used blogs were also more likely to also use complementary sources, such as educational videos on YouTube, to meet their learning needs. The concept of shared utility is introduced as a basis for explaining reasons for use of the blog format, and conclusions are drawn about why blogs, an early Web form, are still useful to millennials as sources of continued learning.

Author Biographies

Alison J. Head

Founder and Director of Project Information Literacy (PIL), a Senior Researcher at the metaLAB (at) Harvard University, and a Visiting Research Scholar at Purdue University Libraries.

Michele Van Hoeck, Researcher, Project information Literacy, Dean of the Library, California State University Maritime Academy
Michele Van Hoeck is a researcher with Project Information Literacy well as the Dean of the Library at California State University Maritime Academy. She holds a Masters in Library and Information Studies from University of California Berkeley and an MA in English from Sonoma State University.
Kirsten Hostetler, Instruction and Outreach Faculty, Central Oregon Community College
Kirsten Hostetler is a researcher with Project Information Literacy as well as the Instruction and Outreach Librarian at Central Oregon Community College. She holds a MLIS from the University of Washington iSchool, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Instructional Design and Technology at Old Dominion University.
Published
2017-10-01
How to Cite
Head, A. J., Van Hoeck, M., & Hostetler, K. (2017). Why blogs endure: A study of recent college graduates and motivations for blog readership. First Monday, 22(10). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i10.8065