Bloggers and internet pundits are exerting a "disproportionately large influence" on society, according to a report by a technology research company. Its study suggests that although "active" web users make up only a small proportion of Europe's online population, they are increasingly dominating public conversations and creating business trends.
"We're seeing this growing," said Julian Smith, an online advertising analyst with Jupiter Research and author of the report. "The strongest part of their influence is on the media: if something online suddenly becomes a story in the local press, then it matters."
Although unprompted contributors are generally younger and more vocal than the wider online population, they are increasingly important as opinion formers and trend-setters. Mr Smith says businesses, media organisations and advertisers reading blogs should be wary of making assumptions about their wider significance, but that their muscle cannot be ignored.
"They're not representative of the larger audience, but what they're saying does matter," he said. "It's a good straw poll - a snapshot of the verbal conversations going on that we can't measure."
"That's exactly right," said Glenn Reynolds, author of An Army of Davids, which explores the explosion in web punditry. "Bloggers and blog-readers are 'influentials' - the minority that pays attention to events outside of political and news cycles. They also tend on average to be better off, better educated and, more importantly, employed."
Apparently there are over 35 million (!) blogs out there. Of course, not everyone can be Glenn Reynolds....but it is nice to know that a person can make a difference.
So, if you want to win friends (and enemies) and influence people--join the army. An Army of Davids!