On whatever authority, a site called the Blog Herald declares that there are now 70 million blogs in the world. For simplicity's sake, let us start with two big assumptions: the figure is right, and it includes 30 million individual bloggers (allowing for those who have two or more).
How many of them, like me, had not the faintest idea what a blog was as recently as 2004? That was the year in which I discovered that Alain Juppé, the former prime minister of France, had one. I was a quick learner, partly because the newspaper that employed me later introduced blogs written by various of its correspondents, and wanted those correspondents to include me, and partly because I was living among the French, who seemed to take more eagerly to the concept than most.
But even in the summer of 2005, I received a pained e-mail from a reader who had seen an article of mine about two teenage girls who leapt to their deaths from a high-rise building in Paris. The report mentioned blogs and the reader, though old-fashioned enough to have good English and up-to-date enough to be communicating electronically, wanted to know what on earth the word meant. My newspaper had clearly by then abandoned the practice of automatically adding the definition "internet diary" whenever a blog was mentioned.
Just three years on, you can hardly set foot on the web without coming across one. In the medium-sized office where I now work, someone guessed that there must be about 20 bloggers. I should own up straight away to four of my own, even if I have taken rather grandly to calling them my "Salut! group of websites".
But why do so many of us do it? Why are we willing to expose to public gaze the sort of insights into our daily lives and thoughts that were once considered so private that one of the nastiest things you could to someone, short of causing actual harm, was to read his or her diary?
It would be absurd to pretend that some, perhaps many bloggers do not have streaks of narcissism or exhibitionism. Others will derive simple enjoyment from writing. Plenty are doubtless motivated by a modest wish to amuse or inform friends, relatives or people sharing some interest or activity. Alain Juppé, I suspect, was among public figures driven to blogging by a desire to pontificate - and the feeling that they get a raw deal from the mainstream media.
And then there are the bloggers who have spotted the main chance. Their blogs have been created with a book, a film or TV series in mind. Or, having originated for any of the reasons given above, or indeed for others I have not thought of, they have gradually suggested themselves as potential sources of income.
Whatever the explanation, the blogosphere is now awash with the musings of people who have persuaded themselves that a publishing or media contract of one kind or another lies just around the corner. It would be disingenuous to deny that the thought had crossed my own mind, even if I insist - as any self-respecting blogger must - that each of my sites has a raison d'être.
These dreams of fame or glory are not so fanciful as you may think. Towards the end of my time in Paris, I broke the story of Petite Anglaise, real name Catherine Sanderson, whose online diary of the everyday life and loves of a young Englishwoman in the City of Romance had attracted a large, though cultish audience - and also led her to be fired from her job with a stuffy accountancy firm. I had instantly seen the potential and was not remotely surprised when, within days of my story being published and spreading like wildfire around the world, a bidding war broke out among British publishers. Catherine settled in the end for a two-book deal worth £450,000 (a cool Dh3 million+), rather more than she might have earned had she kept her sensible job as a bilingual secretary, and the first appeared this year to much acclaim.
Nor is Petite Anglaise a one-off. There have been reports of lucrative deals for others blogging on subjects as diverse as implied by their titles: Wife in the North, Girl with a One-Track Mind, Chocolate & Zucchini and Anonymous Lawyer.
It would take me no more than a few seconds to come up with the names of at least half a dozen sites whose creators, friends or acquaintances of mine, long to join their ranks of bloggers who succeed.
But if there is hope for all of us, it should be stressed that there is not very much of it to share around. I have just double-checked that Blog Herald statistic. The Technorati search engine offers another: 112.8 million and still counting. Getting that deal is beginning to look a little like buying the winning ticket in a lottery.