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Blogging the blues away

In survey of online scribes, nearly half of respondents said their journals help them deal with personal issues.

Pundits who dub bloggers as wannabe journalists or budding political commentators may be off the mark, according to a new survey.

For nearly half of 600 bloggers surveyed, blogging is a form of therapy, America Online said Friday, referring to research conducted by Digital Marketing Services.

Around a third of the respondents said they write frequently about subjects such as self-esteem and self-help, while around 16 percent said they blog because of an interest in journalism. Another 12 percent said they do it remain on top of news and gossip. About 8 percent said they are interested in exposing political information.

"In a way, blogs serve as oral history," Bill Schreiner, vice president of AOL Community, said in a statement. "When it comes to sharing blogs and reading other people's blogs, we like to connect with people, learn about their lives, and find common ground. There's no pressure to write about a particular subject or keep blogs maintained a certain way, and it's not necessarily a popularity contest."

About 31 percent of bloggers said that, in times of high anxiety, instead of seeking any counseling, they either write in their blogs or read blogs of others facing similar issues, the report said.

According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, by the end of 2004 about 8 million people had created a blog, while a Technorati study estimates that the number of blogs doubles every five months.