I have no stats to prove it nor expert analysis to cite, but is it just me or are things quietier in the blogosphere?
Does it seem to you, as it does to me, like there’s fewer new blogs hitting the scene, fewer posts from the established ones, and lots that are languishing without an update?
Has the time you spent interacting with blogs changed in the past year? Do you think blogs will endure and thrive or has their peak time come and gone?
Terin Tashi Miller says
I think one of the much under-discussed facets of social websites, and by extension, blogs, is the need for those maintaining them or contributing to them to constantly update or risk losing followers.
Updating anything, whether it's your personal calendar or Facebook status or blog, requires time. And to keep it "fresh," it requires attention. Attention and time are already at a premium, allegedly, in our busy society.
So how any busy person, attempting to maintain a steady, at the least subsistence and at the best "comfortable" level of income, has the time, inclination or attention to keep all notices fresh is beyond me.
As an agent, you did an excellent job of it. As a blogger/write/former agent, you still do yeoman's service. But even you must admit, were it not for the ability and opportunity to post "news" items or other tidbits from elsewhere, your attention might wane.
The best blogs have always therefore been, or contained, in my opinion, "news," which by its nature is updated, and can easily be "posted," thus saving a blogger from having to come up with completely new and different things to say and do on their blog daily, or with whatever frequency they or their followers are either used to or prefer.
So to your question: have blogs peaked? Probably. Like many good ideas, from updating your Facebook status hourly to maintaining and updating a blog daily, weekly or even monthly, I think life has interrupted and reinsisted on prioritizing, and just as blogs need loyal followers, I think followers tend to loose their loyalty if the blog starts to stagnate because it isn't being updated.
My favorite blog, when these things were pretty new, for discussing literature and keeping track of trends and communicating with other writers and exchanging views was the original MobyLives.com, started by the then relatively new publisher of Mellville House Books. The blog entered a hiatus sometime around 2004, from which in my opinion, though it's back, it has never quite recovered. Why? Because when it came back, and just before being essentially suspended for I think maybe 2 years, the advent or fad of "podcasting" became so exciting a prospect that it went from a written blog attracting writers to a veritable podcast menagerie.
As a writer, I always prefer to read things than to either listen to or watch them. I think taking a literary blog to audio and video was a major mistake.
What attracted me immediately after deciding to stop following and contributing to MobyLives.com was the discussion in your blog of the publishing scene, as well as other topics of interest to writers–on a daily basis.
It's why I still follow and occasionally participate in your still excellent blog…
Lee Libro says
It's like anything else that grows at such an exponential rate. Things get diluted. One has to really shuffle through the blogosphere now to find the topics that resonate or offer the content that keeps them coming back. Plus SarahAnn made a very good point. The feeds allow followers to bypass the site visit and circumvent that primary nurturing of blogger-to-reader relationship. I think there's some tool out there that allows one to track your RSS hits, not sure.
Not blogging in general. I'm just getting into my groove. And I just read where local school teacher came under fire for things she posted openly in her blog.
I do think certain types of blogs have peaked. And, blogs in general tend to fizzle out if they aren't constantly changed, updated, and maintained. But a lot of people are just beginning to discover blogs.
And this blog, Nathan, seems to be going strong.
I confess – I used to read all the gossip blogs (and all the buzzed-about writer/agent/editor blogs). I still check some of the gossip ones (and comments are all but gone from them, btw) but not the writing ones. I come around when something in GoogleReader catches my eye enough to leave a comment.
Am sick of writers blogs. And readers blogs. BUT am finding a fairly active life in hobby blogs – let's face it, if you love something from knitting to cooking to collecting, you seek it out. So started my own vintage blog https://dearhelenhartman.blogspot.com/ and getting more views every day, more in a day than I got in a month on my writing blog. Sooooo, it may be the content (also vintage blogs are super heavy on photos of finds and fashions etc – which are like crack to collectors 🙂 but require only a moment to glance over)
I had slacked off posting to mine over the past several months, but only because I suffered from extreme writer's block. I couldn't even muster up the energy to read my faves unless it was emailed to me.
Also, when I heard you'd quit agenting, severe depression set in. 🙁 Not that I ever intended to query you since I don't write what you used to represent, but you were a damn good agent. Your career change added to the perception of the publishing world crumbling in this horrid economy. I'm so very glad you're still blogging about books!
I had a major writing breakthrough a few days ago that reenergized me–and one of my critique partners talked me into starting a new blog venture with her–Chicks in the Kitchen–about what's happening in each of ours. The neatest part of this one is taking pictures of our culinary masterpieces and sharing recipes along with our writing lives. We have some guest bloggers lined up to share the goings-on in their kitchens, as well.
I think many blogs have fallen by the wayside as peeps focus more on lucrative ways to make money. Chicklet 2 and I are just in this new one for the fun of it.
Happy reading & writing!
Bill Az says
I think blogging has definitely peaked. It's not unlike other aspects of our society. (I am thinking of the dot-com bubble burst, or the subprime mortgaqge market.) Blogging will now head down until it finds a "natural" level.
Blogs that have useful information such as yours, on what people need, will stay alive and thriving.
The slow down must certainly offer a challenge to bloggers to be more thoughtful and creative in how they provide content and/or interesting posts to their blogs.
Those of us in the writing profession, who are new to social media marketing (Twitter, Facebook, Blogging) have a high learning curve on how to provide our own online 'platform' and the challenge of making sure we have clarity and purpose on our blog or website that will impress a publisher or showcase our writing talent to prospective clients.
Tana Adams says
I think twitter and facebook are quicker means of personal communication, but blogs are great for that too in a different way. I prefer to blog 3 times a week as it is quite a task at times. Plus I visit a ton of blogs on those days as well. It's good to network and reach out to other writers in that way.
I don't my hand on the pulse of bloggingdom so I don't know if I sense a saturation in blogging in general. I can only speak for myself. I have had to step back from my blog significantly after peaking in my second year of blogging simply because I can't keep up with the same level of commitment.
That's fairly normal as phenomenon goes, the romance of a new thing motivates one to spend a lot of time exploring. Good old Whitehead.
I don't comment as much either but I have found a few places that I return and I find a few people return to my blog and that suits me just fine. Being the introvert that I am, I much prefer a small group of people than a huge community with whom I have only the the most surface of interaction.
Sheila Cull says
Okay. It is probably slowing down. So you tell me Nathan, what to focus on next?
Tweeting? Text-ing? Talking?
I think the good blogs have transformed themselves into online newspapers (such as engadget), and the rest of the bloggers have moved onto twitter, which is good enough for most things.
I tried to setup a blog for myself, and I struggled to come up with decent content that wasn't rantish. It's easy to infuse a blog with teenage rants even as an adult.
Simon Haynes says
I was a regular blogger for years until Twitter came along. The quick updates suited me. However, recently I've stopped posting to Twitter as well.
I'm 54 and only recently started getting involved with reading blogs because I thought I wrote something worth publishing and found you (Nathan) on the internet. Your blog is not only fun, but very informational. I admit I read you and Chuck both at least once a week, but as my life gets busier and my writing hopes get weaker, I find myself not as involved. And although the 'buzz' tells us authors to get blogs and twitters, I can't see wasting my time if I don't have something to advertise. I think you built your following because you were an agent and you had and have fun and useful topics. Please keep up the good work and please don't feel bad because your follow-ship has dropped. Hey. look at your last contest – you had nearly 1600 entries. (Even though it was down half from the year before.) You're only as popular as what you have to offer. LB
Ms. Khan says
May be! But the situation is moving towards a new direction and in this regard the example of THE TERRORLAND group blogs can be presented.
When the spy agencies wanted to kill journalist/writer Habib R. Sulemani for writing against the "minds behind the Taliban and Al Qaeda" in Pakistan, no official, media person or human rights organization came to his rescue but the group blog of which I'm a part now.
After three attempts on his life, Mr. Sulemani is living in solitary confinement for over 11 months. His bold blogs have not only exposed the powerful accused globally but is changing the mainstream media culture as well in the oppressive, tyrant, militarized and Talibanzied society, as he often says.
Thus the blogs have a dominant human aspect now, and there is less commercial gain. The change in the Middle East is also an example!
No, don't think so. Seems like a half of people I know (including me) have just STARTED with blogging. It'll keep on steady.
Marilyn Peake says
It seems like there are still many interesting Blogs on the web; but, as others have mentioned, I'm also experiencing some kind of social networking burnout. I got to the point where I felt like I spent way too much time talking on the web, and it felt more like noise than meaningful discussion. I mean, some days real discussions happen and that's awesome; but many times every Blog and Twitter feed seems to be little more than long lists of opinions, and reading all that was taking away from rather than adding to my writing life. I felt badly about it, but I stopped following a few people on Twitter because I got tired of reading empty comments about writing, snarky comments about writers, and steady comments about breakfast foods and TV shows and such. Right now, I’m on a semi-vacation from Blogs and Twitter feeds – I check both almost every day, but I try to limit the amount of time I spend there. Since taking that approach, I’ve gotten more writing done than I had been able to accomplish prior to embarking on my more relaxed approach to social networking sites.
Lynda Young says
Hmm, seems I'm a bit late on this thread however, I don't think blogs have peaked. I think those who were once super active are now getting bored of maintaining their blog (burnout)but there is still fresh blood starting up new blogs. Blogging is a great way of having a say.
I'm definitely noticing a downturn in traffic, commentary and visitors.
With the exception of a few hip sites I visit, this seems to be mirrored across the dimpled ball formerly known as "the blogosphere".
Facebook and Twitter seem to have siphoned people off into a chittery chattery form of social interaction at a cost to the more substantial offerings available on Blogger and Facebook.
Which is a shame.
Hopefully, this is a "flour threough sieve" moment and we'll be left with a better selection of blogs in the long run as the chitter chatterers are weeded out (not that you can weed with a sieve anywhere other than Mixed Metaphor Land, of course…)
One further comment, I tend to find that my more substantial posts are commented upon less frequently than my frivolous ones.
If I post some researched commentary about writing, I may get a few hits, but if I go with a photo of a gorilla in a tutu, accompanied by a single exclamation mark, my visitors are all over me like mayo on a quarter pounder.
I read and appreciate your blog, but I think your own blog is an example of what might be causing the slowdown.
There are a ton of blogs out there, but at least speaking for myself, who follows blogs on writing and publishing, there seem to be too many blogs covering the same things that have already been covered and not the things we want to hear about.
Your own blog is replete with news about eBooks and the troubles of the big house publishers.
Personally, I'd like to see more information about authors who are finding success with self-publishing. I'd like to hear of any of the NaNoWriMo authors who might've found post NaNo success with their work. Or maybe talk about the booksellers that ARE thriving, as they are out there.
I guess what I'm saying is, maybe it's time for a blog to strike out and cover some less explored territory
I don't think that blogs have peaked so much as blogs are no longer new and therefore do not impress us as easily as in the beginning. The market is now saturated with blogs that are all saying similar things.
I think that certain blogs will continue to garner attention, but not simply for being blogs. The author will have to have something unique to say that's interesting and/or entertaining, and will have to say it on a regular basis.
Another problem is that blogs often sound like advertisements. I have subscriptions to about ten blogs that push e-books as something new and magical. And yet…they really aren't that new anymore. They've been around for a few years. I'd like to hear more about an agent's work, or marketing techniques in an era where authors have to do a lot of the selling themselves, or what e-publishers to embrace or avoid. I want to hear an insider's (or at least an informed person's) view of the industry, not a three-part series on why a Kindle or a Nook is a marvelous idea, or a lecture on how people being able to buy tons more e-books and spend lots more money than they do on print books will ultimately save them money. In the past three months, those two topics have come up seven times on seven different blogs. After the fifth or sixth time, I started dropping blogs. Who needs that kind of repetition?
CindyLou Foster says
Good Gracious, I hope so!
Kathryn Magendie says
It's so easy to read updates on Facebook, even blog posts are networked there. My stats are up for some reason, and I thought they'd be down since I've not had as much time to blogwalk as I used to, but there is so much social networking sending us scrambling like ants after a kid stomps on our nest. Dang. Who can keep up with it all and still make their deadlines/have a life/actually spend time with family-friends-dogs-cats-ourselves?
It'd be nice if there were "like" or "I read and enjoyed" buttons or something equivalent on blogs to show we were there and read and cared but just don't have time to stop and comment. I come by here for every new post, but rarely comment, so . . . (I do retweet a lot however)
I've decided to experiment.
I hope that blogging has neither peaked nor become passé. I started a blog about four months ago and am still trying to get the hang of posting salient and amusing information. It's an art that I haven't even begun to master. I hope to gain/earn a following before my book, MAN OF THE HOUSE, gets published.
I've never read many blogs, although I'll check in to a few (like this one)occasionally. I'm a blog voyeur, not a frequent commenter.
My own blog has turned into more of a website, which is kind of sad. I've had to dampen my editorializing for fear of alienating many of my readers. I miss having a forum where I can rant freely.
Pamala Owldreamer says
I update my blog almost every day.Right now I am writing a story on my blog,bit unusual, but "Evolution of Monsters" is a very unusual story.I am having a great time writing it and have rediscovered the joy of being a writer.I am writing the final chapter that will be posted on the blog now.It will end with a cliffhanger.Next step is to finish the blog story,as I nicknamed it, as a novel and query agents.Long range plan is to turn this into a series,acquire and agent,and be published.Hey we all have our dreams. Sometimes they even come true.
To obey the etiquette of the blogosphere and build a following of your peers (aspiring novelists, for example) requires:
– posting interesting content 3-4 times per week
– reading and commenting on the 3-4 posts per week produced by the people who follow and comment on your blog.
So the more diligent and successful you are, the more of your time is consumed by the blogosphere. This problem doesn't scale well.
To me, blogging makes more sense when it's asymmetric.
When you were an agent, Nathan, your blog was a beacon of hope and information for aspiring novelists in need of guidance from someone who knew how the industry worked.
Eric's "Pimp My Novel" is another example of an asymmetric blog, whereby an insider helps educate outsiders. Same for QueryShark.
My wife and I have been fostering orphaned kittens for five years and blogging about it for the last three. We post 2-3 entries per week (down from 5) and still get about 100 visitors a day. Those visitors are mostly people who love kittens but don't have any themselves.
Again, outsiders reading blogs published by insiders.
With the handful of blogs I follow, it's the same story. I'm the outsider, looking for information, insight and entertainment from someone who knows a world that I don't.
Julie Hedlund says
It's as if you peered into my life and noticed that over the past few weeks, I've been both writing fewer blog posts and reading and commenting less.
For me, it's just a little bit of burnout. I don't think blogs have reached their peak, since pundits keep telling everyone to start blogs to increase their exposure (for whatever business they are in).
I do think that the trend will be toward more short and sweet, professional, "in and out" kind of blogs that don't suck as much time.
Unfortunately, that's not the way I write (as you can probably tell from this comment)
I used to blog once a week and haven't blogged in 3 months…I feel so average…
I think the new excitement of personal blogging is waning – the "post my own crazy thoughts about random things" fad is going away, while niche blogging remains strong. In the marketing sector, as a copywriter, I'm seeing professional blogging, like company blogs, growing. It seems to be the best way to increase SEO and position the company as a thought leader and problem solver for their customers.
Blogs are going to evolve into their next incarnation. Every time the market is saturated, someone steps it up a notch and the crowd follows. When everyone runs to the left side of the field, someone goes to the right, then the rest follow.
HL BISE says
Yes, I do think blogs have peaked Nathan! Almost like a fad. The fact is blogs take discipline, time, creativity and thoughtfulness. All of which, seem to be replaced by the five-word-tweet and nippy-facebook-sentence. Similar to hand-written letters of decades past, there is something rather romantic about blogging, especially in this new era of Quick-Quipped-Internet-Self-serving-Monologues. I prefer to keep writing electronic letters to the world via my blog…and reading the letters of other, Bloggers.
Like everything worthwhile, blogs take time and as people who write them already know, ads do not generate a real salary. Those that were basically designed as advertising vehicles have slipped away over time due to thin content. Others have a devoted following and are read more broadly when a particular post proves informative, provocative or funny.
I notice that casual bloggers have dropped off, but those of us who remain have developed refined skills for this form of communication. Generally focused, obsessed with quality content, and sophisticated enough to monitor stats, we devotees cling to this digital form so perfectly suited to our writing.