Monday, 26 November 2012

Blog or Micro-Blog

As we approach the end of the year, as with many other bloggers who have lasted more than a couple of years (this blog started in 2007, and as we shall see, that is actually quite ancient as these things go), we at PC Towers wonder whether our meagre offerings are really worth keeping going. Particularly as we have an interest in another subject that we would like to blog on, but which we currently can't find the time for.

Several studies have indicated that most blogs are abandoned soon after their creation (with between 60% and 80% abandoned within one month, depending on which of these studies you choose to believe), and that few are regularly updated. One study found that 66.0% of the surveyed blogs had not been updated in two months, "representing 2.72 million blogs that have been either permanently or temporarily abandoned". Of the blogs that survived the first few days or weeks (and that's only 40% of those started), the average duration before abandonment was 126 days ..... with the oldest abandoned blog in one of the surveys, maintained for 923 days before abandonment. The figures from 'Technorati’s Top 100 blogs' were analysed by '', and showed that even these top 100 'popular' Blogs, had an average (mean) length of blogging of 33.8 months before abandonment, and that the median figure was 28 months i.e. half the blogs have been going for longer than 28 months and half shorter than 28 months.

So we feel quite virtuous having lasted well in excess of 1,500 days ..... but there's a nagging doubt about the blogs and bloggings sustainability. For example we don't really have any regular followers or contributors, and although we have had over 150,000 viewers (with a current average on 200+ visits per day), this is we assume, a tiny fraction of more successful blogs. So in an age where celebrity (and other) idiots pass themselves off as intellectual giants to their 'followers' (people with the attention span of seconds), by using micro blogging tools (twitter et al), to pronounce their opinions on every event in less than 140 characters, what's the point of blogging actual content?

Apparently, the average stay on a blog site is 96 seconds, so any content that takes more than that length of time to digest, is doomed. we reduced this blog sizes down over a period of time, and with just 4 updates a week, probably its relative 'success' in keeping going for a 'Nano-audience' of about 200+ blog readers a day', is actually exceeding what we might extrapolate as expected from the blogging figures (We should clarify that the individual posts usually get something close to a dozen visits - although a few have been visited thousands of times - but the blog total for the day is approx 200).

The maths suggests most blogs aren't even that lucky:
  • If we assume that on any one day, 100 million people regularly read a blog or blogs, and that they each read 10 other peoples' blogs. That translates into 1 billion subscriptions (10 X 100 million).
  • Now assume on that same day there are 20 million active bloggers. That translates into 50 readers per blog (1 billion / 20 million) - these are nano audiences by any standard of communication.
And this is just an estimated average - in practice probably many blogs have no more than two dozen readers in all, and many will plough a very lonely field, with few visitors, and no comments or feedback.

Samuel Pepys was a Blogger!

So you can see the attraction of micro blogging - just one inane comment of 140 characters or less .... no explanation required and basically just an SMS text, and certainly rarely an insightful addition to the worlds thinking.

A blog on the other hand has no size limits, and can display thoughtful content (as well as not), while also allowing the building of an argued point. It also allows for criticism via the comment box, although rarely do these 'debates' last more than one or two posts.

But saying all that, its easy to see why so many blogs are abandoned .... posting your life observations to complete silence is an experience that can easily be described as unnerving. It certainly takes some self certainty and the absolute dedication of a more traditional diarist of earlier times - after all they were posting their thoughts into their diaries each night, with no real expectation that anyone would ever see them .... and look what happened to Mr Pepys!

So, for all of you who are thinking of blogging, or perhaps more importantly thinking of stopping blogging, remember that a blog with regular content does build up a nano audience, and that in this endeavour, staying power is definitely a virtue,


  1. I have to admit to closing, well abandoning might be a better word, my blog after about 6 weeks. However I believe that the reason is lack of subject matter.

    Most people aren't interested in politics, and just find blogging about their daily thoughts either boring or too revealing. The blog's that seem to hang on are those with either a specialist subject such as celebrity dirt, politics, or an eclectic mix like your own fine blog.

    I came across a good blog by a fellow citizen on British TV in the US. It specialized in Downton Abbey, which I admit I hadn't watched, but which I started watching on PBS after reading the blog.

    However whether the blog survives the end of the series must be of some doubt.

  2. I was a blogger myself, and kept it going for over a year before I ran out of steam. However what was interesting was that I linked to over a dozen sites when I started, but by the end only 4 were still active. Its not easy keeping the sites going. I believe that initially people have something they want to say or pass on to the world but when they find that the world really doesn't care, they realise that it really is a cold lonely world out there and give up. Also I am not sure that you are correct in suggesting that carrying on is its own reward, just spouting off to complete silence is frustrating, which I why I have taken the time to add a comment.

  3. Sorry about the later replies .... I don't expect comments, and so am somewhat tardy in replying to them, especially on older posts.

    Well, after much soul searching, I have carried on, and now its just become part of my life, so I will carry on as long as I can offer valid comment.


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