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Weblog search engine Technorati says it is now tracking over three million weblogs, with 8,000-17,000 new blogs created every single day. That means that a new weblog is created somewhere in the world every 5.8 seconds. Of these, a reported 36 per cent irritate friends or family with their twitterings, while a staggering 12 per cent attract the attention of lawyers with their biting commentary.

Among the less eye-catching stats is the revelation that about 45 per cent of the weblogs have not had a post in over three months, but a significant portion of people are still posting each day. The number of conversations are increasing to over 275,000 individual posts a day. On average, more than 3 blogs are updated every second.

According to a survey by MIT conducted earlier this year, the great majority of bloggers identify themselves on their sites: 55 per cent of respondents provide their real names, while another 20 per cent provide some variant of the real name: first name only, first name and initial of surname, or just a pseudonym friends would know.

If the figures are to be believed, then anonymity would appear to be the way to go. Keeping schtum as to your real identity would protect you from becoming one of the 360,000 people per year who allegedly receive subpoenas as a result of their blogging. It would also protect the 1,080,000 bloggers who annually piss off their loved ones and acquaintances. Of course - the stats may be misleading. It's entirely possible that a large percentage of subpoenas come from enraged relatives or chums, which brings the figures down to a more plausible level.

Litigation and rage aside, the emphasis of blogs seems to be shifting from links to personal stories and commentaries. About 83 per cent of respondents characterise their entries as personal ramblings, whereas 20 per cent still publish lists of useful or interesting links. Whether or not a large percentage of said links are to family counselling groups or firms of cut-price lawyers is not noted. ®

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