Could blogging be near the peak of its popularity? The technology gurus at Gartner Inc. (IT) believe so.

One of the research company's top 10 predictions for 2007 is that the number of bloggers will level off in the first half of next year at roughly 100 million worldwide.

The reason: Most people who would ever dabble with Web journals already have. Those who love it are committed to keeping it up, while others have gotten bored and moved on, said Daryl Plummer, chief Gartner fellow.

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"A lot of people have been in and out of this thing," Plummer said. "Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they're put on stage and asked to say it."

That's no knock on blogging. Plummer noted that this leveling-off dynamic plays out all the time, though it often comes as a bit of a surprise when it hits things that had achieved quick popularity.

Another Gartner forecast states that regulatory compliance — a time-consuming issue in the post-Enron business world — will soon wane as a corporate priority.

Nothing nefarious there, Plummer notes: It's just that by 2009 companies ought to have mastered just what it is that Sarbanes-Oxley and other business laws demand of them.

More tricky for them, Gartner expects, will be handling "social responsibility" — a complex weave that involves everything from environmental issues to customer service to employee compensation.

"Regulatory compliance is a fixed thing. For the most part, it's just a matter of figuring out what they want you to say," Plummer said. But labor, marketing and perceptions of being green — "those things are a lot harder to figure out the path to success."

Of course, as the old saying goes, predictions are hard, especially about the future.