CARMA's Research Suggests that Bloggers Aren't that Negative After All

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Conventional wisdom says that the blogosphere is a medium where negativity prevails. Few people blog about pleasant experiences, and only the aggrieved take the time to blog, so the thinking goes. But, new research from media analysis firm CARMA International (http://www.carma.com) suggests otherwise.

Blog Favorability

With blogging becoming mainstream over the last few years, we're seeing more and more that people are simply writing about their everyday lives. This means that people are writing not only about their bad shopping experiences, but also about the cool new gadget they bought at Target or Costco or how several store employees were helpful during a recent shopping excursion.

Conventional wisdom says that the blogosphere is a medium where negativity prevails. Few people blog about pleasant experiences, and only the aggrieved take the time to blog, so the thinking goes. But, new research from media analysis firm CARMA International (http://www.carma.com) suggests otherwise.

This spring, CARMA analyzed how consumer-written blogs portrayed 17 leading national retailers throughout the first two months of the year, compiling and examining more than 3,700 blog posts discussing one or more of the selected retailers and conducting in-depth research on a random sample of the posts. CARMA found that bloggers wrote favorably about the retail chains more often than they wrote unfavorably about the stores. Overall, 41 percent of the blog posts analyzed were favorable toward the retailers, while just 28 percent were negative toward them (the remaining 31 percent were neutral).

CARMA also compared the results from its study of blog coverage on the retail industry to the results from CARMA's analysis of more than 75,000 mainstream media stories appearing in late 2008 and early 2009 about major corporations, trade associations, and other leading organizations. This comparison revealed only minor differences in the favorability of coverage from mainstream media and consumer generated media. Overall, 44 percent of the mainstream media stories were favorable, compared to 41 percent of blog posts being favorable. Similarities also emerged for unfavorable attention as well, with mainstream outlets providing negative coverage 26 percent of the time versus 28 percent of the time for consumer generated media.

CARMA International Vice President Christopher Scully said, "With blogging becoming mainstream over the last few years, we're seeing more and more that people are simply writing about their everyday lives. This means that people are writing not only about their bad shopping experiences, but also about the cool new gadget they bought at Target or Costco or how several store employees were helpful during a recent shopping excursion."

CARMA also examined whether conventional wisdom is based on the intensity of negativity among bloggers, not on the frequency that negative coverage appears in the blogosphere. However, CARMA discovered that bloggers wrote intensely positive posts about the retailers as often as they wrote intensely negative posts.

"While our examination of this matter was just a two-month glimpse at one sector of the economy, we think that the results were significant enough to merit reconsideration of the conventional wisdom about the negativity of the blogosphere," Scully stated.

CARMA compiled the blog coverage analyzed for its study with media monitoring assistance from CyberAlert, Inc. (http://www.cyberalert.com), a leading web and social media monitoring company.

The full CARMA study can be found at:

http://www.carma.com/research/The_Negativity_of_the_Blogosphere.pdf.

About CARMA International, Inc.
CARMA International (http://www.carma.com), celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, stands apart as a world leader in media research with an emphasis on human analysis. Using state of the art, proprietary software, and specialized research methodologies, CARMA analysts translate traditional and non-traditional media metrics into strategic insights that inform communications programming and planning. CARMA is a privately held company headquartered in Washington, D.C. with offices in Hong Kong, London, New Delhi, Paris, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto. For more information about CARMA, visit http://www.carma.com.

About CyberAlert:
Founded in 1999, CyberAlert (http://www.cyberalert.com) is a worldwide press clipping, media monitoring, broadcast monitoring, and online word-of-mouth monitoring service. Its CyberAlert 4.0 worldwide news monitoring service monitors over 35,000 online news sources each day in 25+ languages in 169 countries. The company's TV broadcast news monitoring service monitors the closed caption text of over 2,100 news programs on over 600 TV stations in the Top 100 markets in the United States. To monitor consumer discussion (online word-of-mouth), its NetPinions™ service monitors over 100,000 Web message boards and UseNet news groups for consumer insight about companies, products, key issues and trends. Its BlogSquirrel™ service monitors over 5 million blog postings each day from a total of 50+ million blogs worldwide and its CyberAlert VDO service monitors 200+ video sharing sites.

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Sonia LaFountain-Ginyard

Christopher Scully