My Google Reader is feeling slim. Comment counts are down. Many of my blogging friends have either officially or unofficially hung up their hats. The ones who do blog do so far less often.
Two years ago I asked if blogs have peaked, and that seems like an almost quaint question now. My blog traffic isn’t actually down significantly even though I’m posting less often. According to Blogger this blog had 204,000+ pageviews in December, which is roughly where things were in 2010. But it feels like a lot more people are coming in via search engines and going through the archives than coming by day in day out.
I know my comments platform sucks, especially the unreadable CAPTCHA (I know, I know!), but what I find interesting is that more people now comment on the Facebook posts where I post the blog than they do on the blog itself.
Where have all the bloggers gone? What do you make of this change? Is everyone on Facebook and Twitter? Is everyone consuming more than producing? Am I just not in the right places?
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Marilyn Peake says
Serendipity that I stopped by your blog today. I still stop by fairly often, although not daily or several times a day like I used to. I’m not exactly sure why that is. Somehow, life seems busier. I don’t think it is actually busier…I think it’s more like you said, there are so many social networking sites, it’s hard to keep up and comment on so many. I now mostly read rather than comment on blogs, and tend to run out of time to post comments. I follow you on Twitter, though, and often click on the link to your blog when you announce that you have a new blog post. I check my long, long, constantly rolling Twitter feed several times a day, and find that refreshing Twitter tweets and reading articles mentioned on Twitter actually consumes a couple of hours a day. I think I probably slowed down on commenting on blogs in order to write the new novel I’m working on, and I’m actually writing this novel more quickly than I usually write, averaging about twice as many pages each day.
I'm commenting so you will have another one.
My comments are higher, but that's because my blog is just "picking up".
M.R. Merrick says
Many of the blogs I follow, like yours, revolve(ed) around the publishing world. A good portion of those blogs were agents who were often helping people learn about publishing, querying, etc.
It could be possible that a lot of those feeds have slowed down because people are hesitant to offer advice on an industry that is changing so drastically. Especially since those changes are happening at an alarming rate.
For the blogs I follow regarding other industries, like tech. for example, it seems to me that folder in my Reader is still regularly full.
Jenna St. Hilaire says
Second comment–gosh, you'd think I had something to say about this. But first: apologies for saying, for the purpose of thinking through things myself, a bunch of stuff that you and most of your commenters already know full well.
The thing about blogging, though, that drives me and has kept me in it, is the ultimate freedom of the platform. If I'd limited myself to talking about a particular topic or issue–if I'd been a how-to blogger, say–I might have run out of post topics after a few years. If I'd made marketing my own books my primary goal and limited myself to furthering that end, I might have given up in discouragement.
A few years back, I decided not to take either route. I talk about anything that interests me except for controversies. I review books. Not just what's new, but whatever I read, and I'm always reading. If I need a week off, I put up a couple of pictures and disappear. I talk about my life, anything that doesn't threaten my privacy or others'.
Blogging helps me network with other writers, but that's the closest thing I've got to a marketing expectation on it. And the only service I'm trying to provide is a quiet place where people with similar thoughts and interests can be entertained, talk over thoughts, and maybe find a few good books to read.
Bottom line: writing is my way of thinking through life, so I've generally got stuff to say. And I'm not limited by length and frequency, like with Twitter, though I do keep a pretty firm schedule. I'm not limited by form and friend count, like with Facebook. And I'm not limited to account-holding commenters or dealing with Disqus, like with Tumblr.
Once again, I'm thinking aloud–but off the top of my head, those are the primary reasons why I've stuck with Blogger. For whatever that's worth. 🙂
Carmela Martino says
We were getting so many complaints about the Captcha issues on our blog, I finally turned it off. While I haven't noticed an increase in comments, we received heartfelt thanks from one of our visually impaired readers who could never get the Captcha to work for her.
I've used Blogger since 2008 and when they changed their blogging platform last year what had once been a fun and enjoyable almost daily routine is now a miserable task.
The new platform freezes and is unavailable so often that I hardly blog anymore.
I tried WordPress and didn't care for it either.
Now, I use Facebook for short, funny snippets that previously I would have blogged about.
Susan Kaye Quinn says
I think everyone's on FB. Although the hits on my blog keep going up, the commenting is generally way down. All the interaction is on FB (or sometimes twitter).
Lori Howell says
I've noticed the same thing on my blog. I am trying to keep the traffic on my blog to promote my new book that was released. More hits on the book when I was posting on FB and Twitter. I am not sure how we can make the change, but it seems to be effecting everyone too.
Brendan O'Meara says
All I'm going to add is: Man, isn't this all overwhelming? How many of us feel like we're blogging to nobody? Yet, we gots to do it!
Do what's fun for you and have that fun as often as possible.
Caroline Starr Rose says
I still read. And blog! One of the last, maybe?
Surfer Dawn says
As I get more focused on my WIP, my blogging frequency drops because for me it's about quality rather than quantity. I have a blogging friend who has done the opposite and is blogging daily now. She says she writes and posts her blog in 30 minutes. She's found her mojo for sure, but it takes me hours to write a post, more to edit it and then post it. It's hard to make time for them as a result, but I recognize that as a writer looking to get published in the not too distant future, I need to keep at it. So that is my conundrum – maintaining an audience versus time I could be spent working on my WIP.
On the topic of FB comments versus comments directly on the blog, I prefer to get them on the actual blog so that other readers who aren't following me on FB see them and might be induced to leave their thoughts. I get very few comments, so every one counts.
site angel says
I write one weekly post for three very different blogs. The traffic has steadily increased, but the comment count is highly variable. Some posts elicit a great deal of commentary, others not so much.
I try to keep the posts short; I know I don't have time to read a two thousand word post, and neither do my readers. Succinct posts (like yours) are much more likely to get read. I don't use Captcha–it drives me crazy, and few "robots" seem to access my posts…
Jennifer R. Hubbard says
I agree with much of what others have said about there now being many more social media options, so that blogs are now a smaller slice of the pie. To my mind, though, blogs remain the best way to express longer thoughts, and to have a back-and-forth conversation with commenters.
One thing about my blog that others haven't mentioned yet: the fact that some of my older posts get as much traffic as my newer posts. There are about half a dozen of my old posts that get a lot of traffic via search engines. It's an unexpected benefit of having a long-running blog. Social media may seem ephemeral, but as long as the content is still up there, people still keep finding it.
Terin Tashi Miller says
You may be right. Especially about the "captcha." Seriously–I'm still here, though I'm not a blogger and never really have been one.
But it does seem people in general are more consuming than contributing. Or contributing without really consuming?
If one were to harness all the energy people put into "status updates" and "tweets," think of the novels that might be written, the stories told, the creative energies unleashed but in the way a jockey lets a race horse go…not spent only to disappear in cyberspace.
Meghan Ward says
I'm one person who visits your blog less frequently than I used to. I still blog as often as I always have (once a week), but I find myself spending less time reading other blogs and more time working on my own writing, which is a good thing. I love reading other blogs, and yours is one of my favorites, but I've given up on trying to keep up with everyone's every post. There just isn't enough time in the day. That said, I look forward to catching up on your past several posts!
Laura K. Cowan says
First of all, your traffic is awesome, lol. But I have hit a saturation point in both the number of blogs I can follow and the amount I want to read what anyone has to say, since so many blogs seem to just be posting in order to attract readers. I can't tell you how many books I read in the last few years that were just produced to bring in new email addresses to a blogger for the free download, and the book turned out to not be quite about the promised subject matter (how to get published, for instance) but was really all about how to blog and use social media and, ahem, publish a book for a free download to capture email addresses, in order to build traffic. Quite recursive and empty, and people post too often in order to keep their traffic up. A refreshing change to this was John Locke's book on how he sold 1 million e-books in 5 months (I know, I know–ANOTHER one of those books), but he said he only posts 10 times per year to keep the content meaningful and keep it on top of his blog page so he can keep driving traffic to posts that aren't buried in his site. Nice to hear someone saying something other than "if you're not posting at least 3 times a week you might as well not blog".
Susan Lower says
I think it definitely has a lot to do with social media. I get most of my comments through FB instead of my blog and most of the time I get my blog post I want to read in my email and read them with a cup of tea in the morning.
Blogging is a huge time sink. It takes an absurd amount of time to read through all the new posts on my Google Reader, and even longer figuring out something witty and unique to say about them. Pretty soon I realized that was I just commenting to attract attention to my own blog. I couldn't rationalize spending so much time doing something I wasn't enjoying, let alone actively benefiting from, so I stopped.
I started blogging because I wanted to network with other writers, but my most meaningful connections always come from other social networking venues. So at least until I graduate from college and start writing for passion again instead of just for grades, I won't be continuously blogging anytime soon. There are just too many other things that I want and need to spend my free time doing.
As others have mentioned, it's just hard to find the time. I'm working more than ever and, much as I miss it, it means I can't spend as much time composing entries and cruising the blogiverse. However, I find this method of communication extremely valuable and hope it doesn't get too much quieter. :/
Mieke Zamora-Mackay says
I'm still here and still commenting as often as I can. I've noticed more activity on Facebook and other shorter form mediums, such as Twitter and tumblr.
I think Facebook allows for a more personal sense of interaction since now those that follow you are labelled as "friends" rather than "followers."
Jenna St. Hilaire says
Hmm. Looking back, it seems I was too busy thinking aloud to make much sense.
What I was trying to say, more or less: The day of the informational superblog may be waning, as may the idea that blogging is a good marketing platform. But I don't think the personal blog, at least, will die very soon. Each of the social media platforms is its own experience, and some of us enjoy the long-form blog.
My stats for last month were 4800 hits–not a twentieth of yours–but for me, comments are up. Sure, I probably get more comments on Facebook updates, but I have a whole laundry list of reasons for disliking the Facebook platform for anything more than sharing silly pictures and Liking brief anecdotes about friends' children and pets.
As for Captcha, I sympathize. I've got it turned off now out of hatred for it, but already I get all the spam I can handle. With a higher hit count, there's just no way I'd be able to do without it. Anyway, it's never stopped me from commenting anywhere.
Mieke, that's one of the reasons I disabled the Followers button on my blog. Bad word choice.
Robert Michael says
I have noted the lack of posting on some of the blogs I follow. My New Year's resolution was to blog a minimum of once per week. I have not posted since Thursday last week, but I have had 7 posts in January. I am very proud of myself for sticking with it. I have even begun to get a few actual followers. Even one comment! I think that many of us are very busy and the rewards of blogging may seem somewhat esoteric.
I get hardly any comments on my blog posts themselves. The people who do comment tend to be regular readers not newbies. I would much prefer to leave a comment for the blog writer on their blog rather than as a fb comment. I hadn't even thought to follow your blog on fb, I know when you have written new posts via google reader, and then I come right over and read what you have to say.
I see a lot of writers and industry professionals on Twitter.
I follow a lot of blogs but I don't always get to comment on each post that I read. Many reasons why…Here's one of them: sometimes my computer is loading a page so slowly that the "post a comment" function never shows up. I wish I could say that I wait and wait until the page loads completely, but frequently, I just move on.
I do enjoy visiting many author/writer blogs, including yours, even if I don't always get to leave a note to let the blogger know that I had visited.
Elaine Smith says
I love blogs but the new format makes it hard to click up several at one go to read through systematically. Twitter, in particular, drives a lot of the things I read though I feel it's a bit hit-and-miss. As for the blog, I try to post several times a week on a schedule. Traffic through the blog is doesn't seem to have any link to the number of comments people go out of their way to spent the time to write.
Elaine Smith says
Also, I haven't worked out how to comment from my phone without it registering as Anon – that's irritating.
Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado says
After three years my blog is still alive and well. But it is not a big one like yours. I receive a steady number of visitors and once in a while, a huge spike.
J. M. Strother says
I think the decline of blogs is partly the rise of social media, and partly the realization that the old mantra to writers that one must have a "platform" really is not all that helpful in developing a base. Big name blogs (like yours) are read, while fledgling blogs pretty well get ignored. People get tired of slogging away for no payback.
People who still blog do it because they just love to write, not because they think it will help get them established. People who looked on it more as a chore find Facebook much easier to deal with.
I'm glad you still blog.
pamala owldreamer says
I still write and post on my blog at least once a month.I don't have a lot of followers but the ones I do have have been reading and following my posts for several years.I write about whatever strikes me in the moment,the loss of one of my children,my childhood growing up on a farm in and ecstasy of being a writer.My adventures of leaving Texas and moving to a beautiful,remote area of Alaska.I write about things that interest me,puzzle me,piss me off,make me cry or laugh.Bottom line is,I love being a writer even if I never find an agent or have one of my four finished novels published,I will continue to write and hope that I will actually have one of my novels published.Writing is what I do ,a writer is part of who I am.
Wendy Tyler Ryan says
Blogging has changed for me over the past year. Some of it can be blamed on recent health issues and some on me not having that much to say (I used to have a lot to say).
Also, my blogging buddy landscape has changed dramatically. We all used to be about the same thing – writing. I've watched some of my friend's writing blogs turn into book review and interview blogs. What happened to my writer friends? I feel like I'm all alone out there sometimes.
I've wrestled with the idea of packing it all in, but I'm just not ready to do that yet.
Steve Fuller says
Blogging was a fad. Like the Macarena, fads come and go.
After I began blogging in 2005, all of my friends got blogs too. Which was great. We read one another's thoughts, shared pictures, commented, etc. Blogging became a community of friends. I remember interacting on this blog a million years ago. I had buddies on here. Nathan was a little easier to access back then too. I still remember the day Nathan considered whether he should start a Twitter account. Ha…we were all so young and innocent back then.
Then social media hit. Those blogging communities moved to Facebook and Twitter. Why spend hours crafting long essays or reading dozens of individual blogs when I can keep up with everyone in one convenient place?
Life is ultimately about feeling connected to others. Blogs did that for a while. Then something better came along. Once we find a platform that makes us feel even more loved, respected, and appreciated, we'll embrace that too.
Slow Hands says
The blogs that do the best nowadays are probably the ones that have a powerful and unique voice (like your buddy The Rejectionist) or the ones that provide unique and valuable information (as opposed to opinions).
I think people are looking for brevity and participation in more of their online interactions, which isn't always best accomplished on blogs. I say that, of course, having started one a few months ago!
Matthew MacNish says
I've been doing this a lot less long than you (is that even grammatically correct?), and I've definitely noticed it. 2010 seemed like it was maybe the peak.
As for what people are doing though – I have no idea.
Mina Burrows says
Is this a roll call? Reveille! I'm still here, dammit.
I blog when I can and wish I could do more. I slowed up a bit about six months ago. I'm content with my stats, comments, and my social media presence in general…for now anyway.
And I may not comment on your blog, but I do stop by at least once a week. 🙂
G. B. Miller says
I agree with most of the commenters here, in that either tastes have changed or other things (i.e. real life concerns) have prompted people to blog less/comment less.
I know my page views/comments have been gradually going downhill for the past couple of years (been blogging since '08), and I because I just removed the ability for people to make Anon comments (Nathan, that might be something for you to look into. Spammers can't spam if they have to have an identity to use) so my page views/comments will probably drop even further.
I don't really see myself going on Twitter for the foreseeable future, simply because of where I work (I work for a state guv'ment), and while I've just started building myself up on Facebook during my 2nd stint, I'll always be a blogger.
Blogging is where people originally know me from and it will remain my main platform in which to launch off other thigns from.
AJM Mousseau says
I agree with the masses who have commented that everybody can sail to each others sites on Facebook without wasting time going through the ins and out of the personal blogs. I like blogs, especially when I want to learn something about someone — but when writers are all writing the same thing on writing and you love them all it gets tough — especially now it seems to be a desire from agents toward publication. But Nathan's your blog is still my favorite! 🙂
Sheila Cull says
Don't worry Bransford, you're in the right place. So am I, and it's more than a hobby.
I'm sorry Ms. Grace but "running out of material to post"? And, "everyone posting the same material"? Absurd. My opinion alone. (?)
I don't have facebook or the other stuff (don't have anything against it) because I have a job where privacy is important.
Weirdly I'm trying to be a published author. What can I say, I am a complex being.
I like blogs. Bit like old music clips used to be before homogenised mainstreaming for mass markets happened so majorly that alot (not all) clips look basically the same.
And so it is with blogs. Its not all me me me.
Me eating, smiling, catching a bus etc etc etc. Something old fashioned and nice about having a say but giving something at the same time. Creativity and self expression with a sense of 'other' involved.
Thats my soap box moment!
Peter DeHaan says
I wonder if we might be experiencing a "right sizing" of the blogosphere, both in terms of the number of bloggers and the number of readers/commenters.
I hope that a side effect of this is an increase in quality and substance.
For me the glass is half-full!
SL Huang says
Been a lurker, first time commenter. ::waves::
I've heard this opinion from a few different corners (and I think you're right), and it makes me sad, because I hate consuming media in easily-digestible sound bites. I'd rather read well-thought out articles.
I just started blogging this year in defiance of the trend. 🙂 I hate Facebook and Twitter and am far too long-winded for either anyway. I am definitely one person who will keep reading blogs . . . including yours!
Well, I could be wrong, but I think there will always be an audience for a good blog. I see many blogs that are very alive and healthy.
There was a big flood of blogs for awhile, and it's true alot of folks left, or slowed down, but there are still plenty of people out there who like to blog, and plenty of people who like to read blogs and comment on them. This thread is a good example. 🙂
Also, I agree with the poster above that these things are cyclical. I also think there is something to watching the market. In other words, when houses are priced low and the real estate market is terrible, that's the time to buy.
So, if you have a good blog, a quieter blog marketplace could actually be seen as a good thing.
Now, you didn't ask, Nathan, about your particular blog. Since you didn't ask…..I don't know what to do. But there are some things that you could do, imho, to increase commenting. If you're open to that kind of feedback, you can let me know. If not, that's totally cool, too.
Oh, I should temper that to add that I think you do alot of things here beautifully. But you probably don't need me to tell you that! I think the blog is an incredible accomplishment and speaks for itself. 😀
Roland D. Yeomans says
Twitter is too short to have anything but READ ME! BUY MY BOOK! When everyone is shouting, no one is truly listening. Meaningful conversations there are few and far between.
Facebook is mostly a slap-dash scrapbook of ME/WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ME? content.
Both are short for our diminished attention spans.
Blogs demand work and discipline. Two concepts that are unloved these days. But both are necessary to produce books of any quality and substance — which explains the poorly written novels being submitted to agents.
An insightful post as always. Thanks, Roland
And no, I am not a robot, though my vision sometimes has a hard time making out wavy letters — your time-consuming method of proving that I am not may be one of the reasons you've noticed a slight drop in your comments.
I agree that blogging will diminish over time as more and more bloggers realize they don't have that much of interest to say, and blog readers realize that much of what they're reading is rehashed and regurgitated "wisdom" gleaned from somewhere else.
Almost everyone can write, but few can write well enough to sustain interest in their writing day after day, year after year. My guess is there will be many fewer blogs in the future, but those that survive will contain original, high quality content.
Kelly A Egan says
Facebook and Twitter are instantly gratifying and that appeals to the newer generations of internet users out there.
I don't comment much at all (for various reasons) but I am hoping to change that! Gosh, I would LOVE your numbers to be coming to my blog! Haha!
Right now though, I'm just trying to get myself back up and running after some ugly internet happens left me exhausted and unable to find the desire to put myself under public internet scrutiny.
I really love your blog though. So much interesting and helpful information. 🙂
Two Flights Down says
Must be a glitch in my Reeder, because I am just now seeing this post. Though this discussion is probably long done, I just wanted to chime in with something…
The smartphone. I see more and more people checking their smartphones while waiting in line or waiting for an appointment, etc. Although laptops are still in use, I see less and less of them.
We're a go, go, go society and we feel the need to fill voids of "wasted" time with some sort of consumption. The smartphone allows us to do just that. Smartphones and tablets are designed to consume and share data instantly.
Unfortunately, there hasn't been too much innovation for those interested in creating data with a smartphone or tablet. It can be done, and things are definitely improving, but not yet at the level of a computer.
When it comes down to it, it's easy for me to post a tweet on my smartphone while waiting in line at Panera Bread. Not so easy to compose a post or comment.
Right now, the focus on technology is consuming data. I think Apple is doing more with the iPad and iPhone for creators, so hopefully we'll see some leveling out in the future.
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
Someone pointed me to this post about blogging dying.
It's an ebb and flow, and like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it. Bloggers may quit, but so many new ones emerge to take their place.
I'm still gaining followers and average 160 comments per post – for me, it is definitely not dying!