Is blogging still a fringe activity?

According to Kevin Marks, there are now 10 million blogs being indexed by Technorati. If each blog is run by a different blogger (invalid assumption, but still), then that’s the equivalent to 1 in 6 Brits running a blog.

According to Jeremy Wright, there are now “10 times as many people blogging as own iPods [and] 50 times as many people reading blogs as purchasers at all online music stores combined”.

A lot of people still don’t know what blogging is, and many of those who do know don’t understand the implications or the wide variety of uses to which blogs can be put, so people feel that blogging is a fringe activity. Even those of us who should know better sometimes feel that blogging has still some way to go to mainstream acceptance, that we haven’t reached the tipping point.

But I think we have. Are iPods fringe? Is buying music online fringe? If these were fringe activities, then Apple wouldn’t be crowing over the iPod’s success, and those iPods wouldn’t be full of all the music they are full of.

Ten million is a lot of blogs. That makes blogging a mainstream activity. The only trouble is, it doesn’t look mainstream unless you’re slap bang in the middle of it, and even then the disconnection and contradiction between the simultaneously solitary and social nature of blogging obscures understanding of our position within both the blogosphere and the world at large. In reality, blogging is mainstream, but it still feels fringe.