[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 September 2005, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Blogging v dogging
Hi-tech obsessions of a few?
More people know what dogging is than blogging, according to a survey which suggests that Brits are not as tech-savvy as might be expected.

Most metrosexuals will know that blogging about their podcasting is perhaps a bit passť, while flashmobbing is decidedly retro.

Happy slapping a chav who is indulging in a bit of dogging, however, might be the way to go.

Whatever advertisers, journalists and residents of the internet community might like to think, much of the country finds hi-tech antics mystifying.

Research conducted among taxi drivers, hairdressers and pub landlords - backed up by conventional market research of more than 1,000 adults in the UK - has found that seven out of 10 people don't know what a blog is. Nine out of 10 don't know what podcasting or flashmobbing are. (See below for definitions.)

For an introduction to blogging, the Magazine's Weblog Watch is a weekly review of what blogs are saying

Four out of 10 know what dogging is, perhaps due to the activities of certain celebrities. Only 49% of people know what a chav is, despite the widespread coverage they have received in both tabloid and broadsheet papers.

Nearly nine out of 10 people now know what broadband is, however.

For the advertising firm which did the research, DDB, the results came as a bit of a shock, and indicate that marketers are assuming that their target audiences are more interested in technology than they actually are.

Even among parts of the population classified as "early adopters", knowledge of blogs was scarce. Two out of three men, two out of three 16-24 year-olds, and two out of three single people hadn't heard of them. Having internet access also appeared to make little difference: two out of three people with internet access didn't know what they were.

No buzz

Sarah Carter, planning director at DDB London, says their panel of cabbies, beauticians and landlords gives a good indication of what people are actually talking about.

"When I asked the panel whether people were talking about blogging, they thought I meant dogging.

"Our research not only shows that there is no buzz about blogging and podcasting outside of our media industry bubble, but also that people have no understanding of what the words mean. It's a real wake-up call."

The research comes a week after a separate study said workers had as much trouble deciphering computer jargon as they did a foreign language.

Blogging - maintaining "an online journal or diary" (OED)
Podcasting - making audio files available online for "software to automatically download the files for listening at the user's convenience" (Wikipedia)
Metrosexual - someone whose habits and grooming are similar to "those considered typical of a fashionable, urban, homosexual man" (OED)
Flashmobbing - "when a crowd converges at a specific time and place, to participate in apparent random acts, and then dissipates" (Wikipedia)
Dogging - having sex with strangers in a public place. "Observers are encouraged, thus making dogging a form of exhibitionism" (Wikipedia)
Chav - people who are "uneducated, uncultured and prone to antisocial or immoral behaviour" (Wikipedia)
Happy Slapping - "The practice of slapping or punching somebody unsuspectedly and recording it with a camera phone." (Urban Dictionary)
Broadband - high speed internet access "typically capable of transmitting 512 kilobits per second (kbit/s)" (Wikipedia)

Add your comments on this story, using the form below.

The BBC News is about the only place I have ever come across the word 'podcasting'. Many people know of the same idea in different and more logical terms - in real life I hear 'audio blog' or 'online radio' much more frequently than 'podcast'. Perhaps even the BBC's own 'Listen Again' service forms a more widely used term than 'podcast'.
Ronald, London, UK

What you define as blogging is in fact using an online diary, real blogging is different.
Jo, Brughton, UK

I think it is very much a generational divide, with the panel of 'cabbies, beauticians and landlords' usually found on the other side of the divide.
Lon Barfield, Bristol UK

The media are as bad as politicians - always telling us what to do, what to think and what technology we should be using. I hope most people are able to think for themselves and ignore this (usually poor) advice The vast majority of people don't blog and the vast majority of blogs are not read because who cares what the chap 10 doors down had for breakfast a week last Thursday?
Roger, London, UK

Your article might have been more instructive if it had explained what 'Wikipedia' was! ;-)
J., Woking.

I agree with the idea that people are much less interested in technology than the media assumes. I have a broadband connection that has exposed me to some of the terms and ideas discussed, but I still regard myself as in a minority amongst the people I know and associate with on a daily basis. The technological revolution is mainly a middle-class phenomenon, and anyone talking about blogging or podcasting in any of my local pubs is likely to receive some very suspicious looks!
Kim, Devon, UK

I was told by my College Student Union representative (during a lecture on healthy living, of all things) that dogging isn't performed outdoors as such.. it is done in a car.
James, Durham Co.

I wouldn't expect these groups of people to be familiar with blogging. I'd expect to find students from secondary school age up through University to be much more technically aware. I'm 25 and have just finished a postgraduate degree; the phrases that were lost on me were "happy slapping" and "flashmobbing". At school, dogging was a crude way of saying "having sex"; that it refers to a public display is somewhat surprising!
Simon, York, UK

Advertising, media and marketing consultants getting their assumptions wrong? Surely not :)
John Blackwell, Ely, Cambridgeshire

If the first two characters of weblog hadn't been lost, it would be completely obvious what one was. I doubt may people have much clue what a mputer or a ncil are either.
rob, Sheffield

I'm rather depressed to have to admit, that at 56 years old, I knew what all those terms meant. I must be associating with the wrong sort. :(
Jeff, Telford, UK

The reason people don't know about blogging is because people have to reason to care about the random thoughts and musings of millions of unimportant, unremarkable and uninsightful people. If only the BBC would realise this as well, instead of banging on about the blasted things as if they're some sort of earth-shatteringly incredible phenomena that deserves constant discussion.
Neil Littlejohns, Bristol, UK

I haven't a clue what you're on about. What has happened to Clive Sinclair? I feel old. I'll get my coat.
Greg, Bristol

Well excuse me for not being inside the 'media industry bubble' but I blog using my broadband connection, listen to the Chris Moyles podcast every week and have so far avoided being happy slapped by a chav (and as for dogging with metrosexuals, doesn't really appeal, I'd rather participate in a flash mob, but that is so outdated!).
Mike Higgins, Leeds, UK

This doesn't surprise me at all, and in all honesty I'm not particularly bothered. When something goes mainstream, the magic tends to be lost. Remember when the Internet was something exciting? Has it lost its sparkle now that anyone and everyone is using it? I don't know if some people go into blogging hoping for fame and fortune. Not me. I'm happy with my little, infrequently visited corner of the wibbly, wobbly web.
Matthew Norrie, Aberdeen, Scotland

I work for a large IT company and among the younger team members there is always a lot of talk about Chavs and laughing and pointing when out and about in the city centre. It took a while for the older team members to catch on to the definition of a Chav but due to the nature of our business they were aware of blogs etc. Until reading this article I wasn't aware what a metrosexual was but now I do I can honestly say that I do work with a few.
Ian, Nottingham

I'm a twenty year old, computer literate student and have to admit that I seem to go against the general trend here. "Dogging" was the only one of your mentioned phrases that I haven't come across (or not with the meaning you quoted- I had only heard it used with the definition of "To track or trail persistently" like the paparazzi dogging a celebrity). For all the other phrases, they have simply either become the normal vocabulary or at least an understood phrase for my peers and I.
Tessa, London, England

I'd be a lot more tech-savvy if we didn't have software in the office that censors and restricts the internets sites we can visit, which includes blogs. I'm not sure if there's a policy on dogging, but it doesn't sound quite so technical...

I'm not in the least surprised. The only place I've ever come across the term "Blogging" is in the BBC News Magazine, and usually when I do I stop reading. I've no desire to find out more as I'm not interested in the opinions of a small minority of strangers. I could say more, but I accept that people aren't interested in my opinion either.
Simon Robinson, Birmingham UK

To people of my generation - pauses while the Who finishes singing - in these parts, define dogging as being truant from school.
David Nevans, Wishaw, Scotland

Here in Vienna, dogging is going jogging with your dog. There's even a poster in my vets window encouraging a dogging event. Makes me laugh every time I see it...
Kirsteen Dalziel, Vienna, Austria

Your e-mail address
Town/city and country
Your comment

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Do you know the meaning of:
Neither of them
Both of them
12796 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific