Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Social media is the new graffiti

Dave Taylor spoke at a conference I attended over the weekend, the Thin Air Summit. He basically said that social media (blogs, video blogs and podcasts) is the way people can express themselves in a rebellious way without defacing public property.

It's true!

A million new blogs are started every minute and few are actually read by very many. One of the reasons for this is the "seed on shallow ground" paradigm - people start with a lot of excitement and then fade away after a few weeks or months. The "hot sun" of life's busyness kills off their desire to keep it going. Or they simply lose their passion for posting stuff.

It would be fun to find a statistic about how many people start blogs and quit within the first six months. And it would be fun to see how many blogs have lasted more than three years. (I have been blogging since August 2005, which makes me a grandaddy in the world of blogging.)

Why do you keep blogging, if you are still out there? Why did you quit, if you're done blogging?

By the way, the photo is from my buddy Josh in Kenya - he shot it in a remote canyon in a national park there! Obama is well-loved all around Kenya.


richies said...

I am new to blogging, just over two months now. In a way blogging is a modern way of keeping a journal. I think that one of the driving forces behind blogging is that every person wants to be heard.

An Arkie's Musings

Marti said...

Guess I passed the two-year mark a few weeks ago, myself. Few of my friends who blog, blog actively. Setting up an aggregator has helped me track with those who do without missing the occasional update from the more occasional types.

I searched, briefly, this a.m. for stats on the questions you raise. Didn't find conclusive answers but several smaller studies that showed specific providers who found that 1/4, 1/5, or 1/6 of the people who had signed up with them were actively blogging - generously defined as that they had posted something in the last 30 days. I bet there's a large drop-off point not only at the six-month mark, but much earlier: some people sign up with a blog site but never actually launch their blog; others post just a few times and then stop. But three years of weekly-to-daily blogging much surely be rare, statistically!

In my search I found one discussion about a guy who blogged actively for six months and then gave up in frustration. Turned out he expected that by posting 2-3 times a day he'd be able to make some decent money through ad revenue. There are people who quit their jobs and blog for income but I think they are unusual. The guy who was writing about the one who gave up advised him that 2-3 times a day was far too little (huh?) as well as that six months was too little time to expect to develop a following.

I'm glad to have blogging goals that are much easier to achieve! Looks like I'm getting 500-600 visits a month, and have made several new friends this year. I suspect that since you post more, and more briefly, and are good about commenting on others blogs, that you get a lot more than that, as well as seen my level of connection with a number of friends/relatives increase - although many of those I would expect to read, do not.

Have you seen much or anything come out of the google ads?

Marti said...

ooh, my comment is a bit convoluted. Sorry. I have a bad habit of adding in a new thought without noticing it disturbs the flow of a previous one!

Paul Merrill said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Marti. I appreciate the research, even!

I got 701 visits / 970 pageviews in the last month.

I only made $12.25 total ad revenue for my entire history of blogging. I can't get the money till it reaches $100, so it's a small retirement fund.

Interestingly, I got 614 visits / 900 pageviews to My Part of Nairobi last month! Even though I haven't updated it in 18+ months, it still draws people. I guess Nairobi is more interesting to people than Colorado. (I guarantee if I stopped updating My Part of Colorado, the visits would drop off hugely.

Paul Merrill said...

Oh yeah - forgot - those numbers don't include people who read my blog via RSS. (I have yet to figure out how many they are.)

jasonjyee said...

i'm one of those RSS people... but i suspect there aren't many of us out there, so i wouldn't expect the numbers to be more than a handful.

I started my journal in sept 1997, so just a few months before the term "weblog" was coined and a few years before the shortened form "blog" became a term.

From my experience, blogging goes in waves. There are periods of time where it's easy to write and writing benefits me by helping me deal with thoughts and ideas by forcing me to arrange them logically (or logically enough) so that they can be written down. There are other periods when I don't need that and when I don't care to share or have time to share.

Scrapnqueen said...

Hi, Paul!

I love blogging, including reading other people's blogs, but unfortunately, I mostly only have time (and internet bandwidth) to post on my own these days. Sometimes I get frustrated with blogging, but then I check my attitude--my frustration usually stems from the fact that very few of the people who visit my blog (an average of 30+/day) ever comment, and I'm an "I-Like-Feedback" type of person. However, then I stop to remember the main reasons that I blog:

1. So I remember some of this stuff when my kids are gone from home, therefore having a whole arsenal of "cute kid stories" to tell to them, instead of only the five or so my parents keep reminding me about! :-) Okay, mostly just the remembering part.
2. So I can easily scrapbook these stories at a later date.
3. To keep those friends and family that are actually interested abreast of our current activities.

That's why, even when I don't have time or energy to read others' blogs, I still try to post on my own.

Paul Merrill said...

Jason and Talena - thanks for your comments. (Talena - that's a different Jason I'm referring to - not the one you're married to).

I'm glad you both are on the internet, in various sizes and shapes.

Marti said...

I've found tracking statistics helps me feel heard even when few people leave comments. Do you suppose there's a psychological barrier to being "first" to leave a comment?

Paul Merrill said...

There might be...

I think a lot of people are just too busy to leave comments - or they aren't the conversation type.

In blogging, though, I think a lot of people do comment that wouldn't in face-to-face life.

Anonymous said...

hmmm ... don't know which category to put myself in.
I don't blog. I DO read Paul's fairly regularly. I seldom comment. (I visit 'friends' that I know about - pretty hit & miss) I don't go 'looking' for others.
Those of you who know me would agree that I AM the face-to-face conversation type :-)

... busy? I prefer to say I lead a 'full' life & don't get to sit & read stuff online as much as I'd like.

I'm intrigued to see both Marti's & Jay's comments above ... but too tired (at midnight) to really reflect & comment.

Thanks PM for keeping going!