Monday, September 19, 2011

The Ma Bell of Social Media

Is blogging dead?

Well, obviously it's not dead. I mean here both you and I are. So perhaps the better question is ... is blogging bleeding out and gasping for its last breath?

To that I have no concrete answer.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google + have certainly changed the face of social media. They appear to be where all the cool kids are hanging out these days.

I have been blogging for 4 and a half years now. Long enough to have access to some interesting stats, that only serve to dilute the question of blogs still being viable in today's crowded field of social media.

Since August is the most recent month I have complete data for let's use it.

In August of 2007 -- 3635 unique visitors stopped by my blog. During that months I posted 19 times. 269 comments were left on the various posts. This averages out to 191 hits/14 comments per new post.

August 2008 -- 6178 unique visitors landed at my blog. I posted 23 times and received 518 comments were left. This averages out to 269 hits/23 comments per new post.

August 2009 -- 2684 unique visitors stopped by to read the 13 posts I created. 265 comments were left.
This averages out to 206 hits/20 comments per new post.

August 2010 -- 1811 visitors stopped by. I posted a measly 10 times but still received 279 comments.
This averages out to 181 hits/28 comments per new post. 

August 2011 -- 9488 visitors stopped by. I posted 21 times, but despite all those people only 154 comments were left. This averages out to 452 hits/7 comments per new post. 

The five biggest months for visitors to this blog are

June 2011 -- 14,810
March 2011 -- 10,480
August 2011 -- 9488
May 2011 -- 8726
January 2009 -- 8250

January 2011 -- 8218
October 2010 -- 8188 February 2011-- 7870

December 2010 -- 7476
November 2010 -- 7214

As you can see 9 of my 10 biggest months have came within the last 11 months. (the one anomaly, January 2009, was when my house burnt down and my name was championed far and wide by my awesome friends) So you might think Hey, your numbers are as high as they've ever been. Blogging at least your blog is stronger than ever.

And yet, I feel as if One Word is hooked to life support and Jack Kevorkian just walked into the room. Not only is comment participation way down but so is my drive to create new posts. I often feel as if I've already said everything I can in this venue. I enjoy twitter and Facebook though to be honest Google + still confounds me.

A large number of my hits these days land here by accident after a Google or Bing search. I suppose I have an impressive ranking or my blog would not appear near the top of these searches but I'm sure most of these people take one look and hit the BACK button rather than sticking around to read.

I wonder if there is a single person out there that reads this blog regulatory that is not also on my Facebook or twitter. (possibly Alex Keto?) Alex, if you or others are out there and fit in this category please let me know.

I know several of you have blogs that I do not visit or comment at as often as I sued to and mostly that is because i spend my time on twitter and Facebook communicating with you there. 

I'm not telling y'all that I'm quitting. I'm not ready to pull the plug just yet, but the idea has tickled my brain in the last year or so.

Blogging has done better than say MySpace which is more like the smoke signal of social media than the land line but still I wonder how much longer the medium will be around.

I'd love to hear y'alls take but just the fact you are here reading means that like me you are still willing to pet a dinosaur at least occasionally.


Clair D. said...

Well, I generally read your posts in my feed reader and don't have anything insightful to add, so I don't "visit" or comment. Doesn't mean I'm not still reading and enjoying.

Beth said...

I’m still petting the dinosaur. ;) I read your blog regularly.

And I’m not on Facebook, Twitter or Google +. Now, that’s being a true dinosaur!

Corey Schwartz said...

I am feeling the exact same way. We all have followers on Facebook and twitter. What exactly do we need blogs for? Yet, I can't quite get myself to give it up.

Angie said...

Just as a data point, I read here regularly, through the RSS feed on my reader. I don't comment much anymore because you generally don't reply, and it feels like tossing a note down a well. I enjoy reading, but don't enjoy talking to myself (no, really, LOL!) so I don't.

I'm not on Facebook and have no plans to shoot my own privacy rights through the heart any time soon, thanks anyhow Mark Zuckerberg. :/ I'm not on Twitter, either. It sounded kind of silly at the beginning, and while I see the benefits now, what I don't have is a block of time for it; I can't imagine keeping up with Twitter enough to be useful in a promo sense while still having time to write, so I don't.

I don't feel like a dinosaur, either. Facebook is popular, but from all I've seen and heard about it, it seems like a demonic pit of some kind; I'm sure lettuce grows there. ;D I've never been one to follow the popular crowd anyway, so I don't angst over not being on Facebook.


G. B. Miller said...

I still read your blog and have been since I started blogging in 2008 (found your blog via the dead-as-a-doorknob BlogCatalog)

I do Facebook but because of privacy concerns (four years in the chat rooms will do that to you), I keep my circle incredibly small and my privacy settings on Friends of Friends. I don't do Twitter because I don't text.

I don't think that blogging is dead, but at times it has become overly stale, which is why I think that Blogger is coming out with so many bells and whistles for their product.

Regardless whether or not you choose to comment, I'll still be around reading your blog. I'll also be around reading your tales of extracurricular activities on Facebook as well.

You are a truly unique individual, and no matter where you wander off to, you'll always have at least one loyal reader/follower from Connecticut devouring your every word.

BTW, my word verify is "blogratt"

Cloudia said...

that's a LOT of hits!
Now I'm dissatisfied with MY numbers.

Well, I'm in a NEW place & NEW lifestyle!
Do YOU know WHO I am? WHERE I live?
I'm still not quite sure where I am,
but boat Kitty is digging it.
"Boat? What boat?"

Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I don't follow you on FB or Twitter, only on your blog(s). So yes, I'm a dinosaur petter too!

Travis Erwin said...

Clair - Good point. I know once Google reader got popular my blog numbers tooka big hit and have slowly inched back up. Maybe because like mine people's google reader lists often get overwhelming.

Travis Erwin said...

Beth - I'm glad to hear there are people out there like you. It give me more incentive to blog. I wonder if you feel recharged after your long blogging hiatus.

Travis Erwin said...

Corey - If only blogger has scrabble.

Travis Erwin said...

Angie - You make a great point about my own lack of commenting on here. i sued to do better and i mean to reply but I enver quite get back the way i should. you see i read every comment as it comes in on my email, usually over my phone, but blogger and my phone never seem to work well together so while I mean to leave a comment hours sometimes even days go by before i get back tot he computer with the time to do so and by then the moment is usually gone so i spend my time creating a new post of elsewhere.

But your dead on comment has me telling myself I must do better. Thanks for being such a loyal reader despite my own laziness.

Travis Erwin said...

G - You made my night. Thanks man.

Travis Erwin said...

Cloudia - I truly don't think most of these hits stay more than a few seconds and you have so many great and regular commenters which proves you have nothing to be dissatisfied about.

Travis Erwin said...

Debra- Glad to know. I'd sure miss seeing those purple gloves so I better keep on blogging.

Charles Gramlich said...

I saw a downturn in comments early in the year, but it seems to have gone back up now. I do find it harder to find things to say, though. I think my blog is kind of looking for a new direction. I don't have anything to do with twitter or google, though, but I am Fbing.

Unknown said...

I always read, Travis. I don't always comment, however. And sometimes I go a few weeks without reading due to time... So when I check, sometimes I have to read multiple posts in one sitting, but I always read!

the walking man said...

I deleted my FB a month ago then had to start another yesterday because of reasons not worth explaining but if it was all about the stats i guess i get more hits on FB than TWM yet in either case I like you will pull the plug on either or all as i feel at the time.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I hope blogging isn't on life support. I love my blog and all my blog pals. But I guess I'm guilty of not reading posts all the way through or commenting on posts as often as I should. There are just so many and time is short. I also just read snippets of blogs through my blogger dashboard without clicking all the way through - so maybe that's effecting your numbers. I dunno.

Hilary said...

Facebook and Twitter and the like do nothing for me. To me, it's an entirely different atmosphere than a blog. I stick to reading blogs, primarily through Google Reader, and then pop in to leave a comment if I feel so inclined.

You have 323 subscribers on Google Reader by the way.

Dawn Anon said...

I visit you here, and not on twitter, facebook, or any other place. In fact, i try to keep my facebook limited to immediate friends (no offense meant) and family -- I've only added one "author friend". And that feels weird to me to combine family reunion talk with "author talk" when i'm nowhere close to being published. So... i hope that all the people/authors i visit on their blogs, continue to blog. But i've noticed that they aren't. Not regularly. And that makes me sad. I've discovered so many authors and books via the blogs. But i'm afraid that's coming to an end.

March2theSea said...

I use google reader for updates and poke around here from time to time as well as other bloggers that I follow. That list has gone WAY down..not a lot of people still seem to use it. I like it though, just something about it.

jjdebenedictis said...

I've got you on Twitter, not Facebook (hate Facebook), but I read your blog because that's where the substance is.

Twitter and Facebook are more for one-to-one communication--actual conversations--while a blog is more for one-to-many communication--writing for the masses.

I suspect blogs are less popular because they're more work. I also suspect the lessening of comments is because automated blog readers gained popularity.

Since I started to use Google Reader, I've commented less on blogs because I don't remember to come back and have an actual conversation with the blog author. I miss that, but yeah. Social media is better for that sort of thing.

alex keto said...

Yep, you hit this luddite nail on the head. I do read your blog but when it comes to twitter, that's a sound effect from birds.
The first I ever heard of google + is when you mentioned it.
As for facebook, we're facebook free as a family especially after my son posted a dumb picture of himself looking surprised with the caption "Holy S***!"
I then showed him what it meant to google his name and see that photo and caption a hundred times. As I mentioned to him, it's good to be known for something, but he might find another way of doing it.

Travis Erwin said...

Charles- I enjoy your blog and credit your book recommends for about 25% of the books I've read this year.

Travis Erwin said...

Karin - I know you are ultra busy these days so i really appreciate it.

Travis Erwin said...

Walking Man - I've yet the pull the plug on anything but I've had the urge. This comment trail is actually changing my mindset and making me feel better about the state of the blogosphere.

Travis Erwin said...

B.E - The number are actually higher than they've ever been but I was kind of feeling like half of my audience had drifted away and I was rambling on about the same old stuff. Maybe i am but I'm feeling better after this discussion.

Travis Erwin said...

Hilary - Your photography needs a blog of its own. Thanks for reminding me about the google reader subscribers. it had been a long time since I checked that out.

Travis Erwin said...

Dawn - I understand, but as a guy with a few things out and more to come soon I fell like FB and twitter are essential marketing tools. This discussion is reenergizing my blogging spirit.

Travis Erwin said...

March to the Sea- I love the music stuff you post and miss the old Friday posts.

Travis Erwin said...

JJ - I too fell in the google reader trap so I understand. Between that and my phone, which i read emails one but doesn't mesh well with blogger, I forget to say what I meant to when i again get on the computer.

Travis Erwin said...

Alex - My Facebook and twitter feeds would probably ruin my reputation if I wasn't a writer, a beer drinker, and roustabout of long standing. meaning my rep was shot a long time ago.

Also the phone number I have for you no longer works and my last few emails to you bounced. Call or send me an email if you get the chance.

laughingwolf said...

you have TONS more folk visiting than i do... c'est la vie...

on fb, i joined a few groups, and found friends from all over, there

google + i was just invited to join, and have no clue what to do there... mayhap i need read the destructions i got from them? :O lol

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I've been feeling the same way. My followers and commenters dropped when I left Mexico, and over the last six months I've noticed another drop-off. I think you're right that a lot of it is because of Facebook, etc. There are only a couple people who read my blog who aren't there, and I feel like they only check in out of obligation.

I switched to once a week over the summer, and now that tomorrow is fall I'm thinking I'll keep it that way. Otherwise my post quality drops and I bore my few lonely readers.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think there are less blogs for sure. But I find them much more satisfying than facebook which is too promotional and snarky for me a lot of the time. On a blog, people exercise more care.

Dawn Anon said...

PS. I totally get it that twitter, facebook, and etc help market books. As do book signings, book club meetings, and all of that stuff. All of the things that I don't know how i would handle if i ever do manage to produce something publishable.

Hats off to you Travis! That's one reason I visit this blog, you inspire me. You are someone who is finding your way.

Travis Erwin said...

laughingwolf -- To be honest I don't get google + yet either, but I sued to feel the same way about twitter.

Melanie -- I do still read your blog but commenting is trickier now that you are not using blogspot. Several times I've left comments that disappear when I hit enter.

patti -- I am guilty of being snarkier on FB so i get what you mean. I really do like blogging but my ability to create new unique content seems tougher all the time.

Dawn Anon - Thanks Dawn.