Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Impact of Green Blogs

Do you ever wonder… What impact do blogs have anyway? Aren’t they really just the rantings of a few socially insecure people who sit in their basement with nothing better to do? Aren’t they just for tweenies who don’t have a car yet? It’s not like bloggers are real reporters, I mean, it’s not like they provide real news like the New York Times.

I don’t think the NYT will go away (though, don’t quote me on that), but I do think we’re starting to get pretty savvy in figuring out how this world wide web thing really works. Whereas you cannot predict what the NYT will write, blogs, blogrolling and blog feeds allow users the ultimate customization of their information access. Good bloggers become known and read because their stories are legitimate, well researched and relevant (and many of them are reporters too). Major media outlets scroll through favorite blogs every day to find stories and ideas from blogs they trust.

This Pew Foundation study is a year old, but gives a good breakdown of the folks writing and reading news and stories through the blogosphere. As of 2006, eight percent of internet users, or about 12 million American adults, keep a blog. Thirty-nine percent of internet users, or about 57 million American adults, read blogs. About 54% of all blog users are under 30 – this is the group that everyone is busy recruiting.

But how much blog content is out there related to real estate, buildings, sustainability, etc? We hear a lot about those crazy political blogs, but what do they have to do with our industry? I did some analysis recently and used a Google analytical tool. This tool tracks key words and tells you how many times your word has been referenced on a blog (not just the internet at large). Take the word LEED. In 2005, there were 8,200 blog entries mentioning LEED, in 2006 there were 17,000 and in 2007 over 52,000. For the first three months this year, there were 18,000 mentions of the word LEED (extrapolating out for 2008, that’s 72,000+). Too specific and trendy you say? Then try the words “green buildings.” 2006= 1,700 mentions; 2007=6,000 mentions, 2008, just Q1 = 10,700 mentions. Still not convinced? Try “General Services Administration.” 2006=3,000 mentions; 2007=8,500 mentions; 2008 just Q1 = 15,000 mentions.

From what I can see, the building industry has taking to blogging like fish on water and blogs have become a very legitimate form of news. We can find out the latest in design, technology and building techniques almost as soon as they are invented. With global reach, trusted blogs can be extremely powerful resources.

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