Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Blogging Along

According to a recent article, 95% of the blogs that have been started have since been abandoned.
A report in 2008 said that there were more than 112 million blogs in existence at the time. That number has surely increased since then. (By one, at least, since I started this one in 2009!)
A little research took me to a newsletter at Wordpress where they revealed that, though they carried more than five million blogs, they had fewer than 165,000 bloggers. Some quick math says that each of those people is responsible for thirty blogs.
Another item I found said that Blogspot was limiting the number of blogs per person to 100!
So, while it would appear that the vast majority of people who started a blog because they had something to say have long since run out of things to write about, there is a portion of the world's population that has quite a bit to expound upon.
The question is: Is anybody actually reading them?

I once heard a man who ran a vanity press promoting his business by saying that, "Everybody has a book inside them." That may indeed be the case, but a) not everyone is capable of writing a book and b) it may not be very interesting.
Certainly the same can be said for blogs. But since starting a blog doesn't require much, if any, effort nor any of the costs necessary for self-publishing a book, everyone who has a blog inside them has probably let it out. And, like many a would-be author who started writing the book, they have discovered that it is not as easy as it might have appeared. Staring at a blank piece of paper (or, these days, an empty screen) and trying to come up with the words to fill it can be a challenge.
One day years ago, when I was regularly spending my weekends writing comic book stories, my mother-in-law told one of her friends that I was "typing." She made it sound like I was transcribing dictation or addressing envelopes. If writing a book or maintaining a blog were that simple, indeed, everyone could easily do it. Of course, many of them would consist of little more than "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back" over and over.

Some more quick math: Assuming 112 million blogs with 95% of them abandoned gives us about 5.6 million active ones. The U.S. population is about 306 million people. If every person in the country reads one blog (and that's making a big assumption since a significant portion of the population has no computer access or is unable to use one), that would mean each blog would have 55 readers. Let's presume the average blog reader checks out five different ones -- and I'm using that because it's the number I check regularly -- and you have 275 readers.
Since it's a no-brainer that a blog by a celebrity will have many more followers than one by someone nobody knows, we come back to the question facing Joe the Blogger: Is anybody actually reading?
Unlike self-publishing a book, where the number of sales will tell you how many people are interested in reading what you have to say, poor Joe could be blogging for no one but himself and never know.

It would not be surprising to learn that many "lapsed" bloggers finally asked themselves, "What am I doing this for?" and, lacking a good answer, simply stopped.
Others, I'm sure, discovered that writing is a lot different than typing and requires more work than they thought. (There is a limit to how many times you can write about the antics of that quick brown fox.)
The rest, I'm guessing, just ran out of things to say.

1 comment:

  1. If YOU run out of things to say, which is not likely since you have smart brains, you can always describe our lunch system, which really is a lot of fun.