Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Have Blogs Peaked?

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?






138 comments:

SarahAnn said...

I have definitely noticed a slow-down in interaction, even from myself. I think the main reason is the ease of using tools like Twitter and Google Reader. Where I once went and visited each and every blog I read, I know have everything fed to me and can quickly skim through--sometimes, in the instance of Twitter, just read the headline!

Because I'm no longer going directly to sites, I'm not commenting, not creating a "relationship" with the writer as once was the goal.

And I've noticed it on my own blog too. Traffic seems steady (according to analytics) but no one is saying anything.

It's not a bad thing, I guess; but certainly changes the feel and appeal of keeping a blog. I need to be better about communicating!

Ishta Mercurio said...

I think the market is saturated. Blogs are great, and I still post and read and comment, but there are so many now that I find that most of them are repeating each other. With a few notable exceptions, of course.

;-)

Daisy said...

Hi Nathan!

I'm not a blogosphere connoisseur, but I think people are flocking more to YouTube and social networking sites than blogs. For example, Facebook ranks higher posts that feature pictures or video than links.

It's easier to hope around FB, YouTube. Twitter, Tumblr. Going to a blog is an out-of-the-way destination on the inter-webs. It takes you out of the conversation and into someone's virtual living room.

Oh, and nice coffee table, by the way. :)

Cheers, Daisy

Ted Fox said...

I started my blog a year ago and have gotten a lot more into reading those written by others in the last six months or so. I do confess, however, that my motivation on both fronts has had a lot to do with trying to build a following for my work. I guess that's what happens after you hear "I like your stuff, but you need a platform" from a few agents. All that said, it's turning out to be a fun experience, and I find a blog to be a great creative outlet.

CageFightingBlogger said...

I hope blogs haven't peaked... my stats are on the up and I hope they stay that way!

People generally don't have the patience for reading, though. Video blogs might have more success (even though they take longer to consume) because they require less brain power. Sad but true. But if fewer half-arsed bloggers are dabbling, the better chance the hard-core writers have at being noticed. Perhaps.

MIMI CROSS said...

There are just too many!

Blogs are wonderful, informative, funny, lovely, but who has time? I don't even have time for my own, lol! That's why I call it The Sloppy Blog http://mimicross.wordpress.com

And yet, here I am, on your blog!

I find that diving into the Twitter stream is more productive, because if I see a link that interests me I click on it. It usually leads to a blog. Kind of random I know, but I just can't get to all the blogs I love each day or even once a week it seems. I used to go to yours every day (-: but then there was this friend and that friend and this agent and that agent, etc., etc. etc.

What do you think? Can't wait to hear.

Sandi Johnson said...

I have to agree. I think micro-blogging (Twitter, Facebook status updates, etc.) have changed how we interact with blogs. Market saturation affects that too. You could spend hours just trying to "communicate" with every blog you read. It does make it harder to figure out who "the" bloggers in a particular niche are and who warrants your time.

Tabitha said...

I have to agree with Ishta in that a lot of blogs repeat each other. At least, when I finally have a few moments to check out some new blogs, I'm not finding unique content like I did a few years ago. However, I don't have those spare minutes very often anymore, so it could just be my limited exposure. :)

My blog is similar to SarahAnn's in that I have steady traffic, but not nearly the same number of commenters. Interesting question.

Nate Wilson said...

Over the past year, it seemed like everyone and their mother were starting a blog. Over a dozen friends started them, yet only three still update semi-regularly. Even my mom stopped posting.

So yeah, the blogging era may be past its peak. But there will always be plenty who want to share their opinions and be part of a community, so while the rise was quite sudden, I believe the descent will be much slower and continue on for while yet.

Nicole said...

So interesting! I was just wondering this the other day, and I agree with your assessment. I still follow a few blogs religiously, but I've dropped off from others and I no longer spend much time actively searching for cool new blogs.

Author Janice Hardy has a really interesting assessment of her recent "blog tour" results on her very awesome blog: http://blog.janicehardy.com/2011/01/is-doing-blog-tour-really-worth-it.html

It supports your thoughts too.

Jenna Wallace said...

I thing there is a definite slowdown. I tried to adhere to the blogging rules (follow and be followed) but it took up so much of my time that my writing suffered. I've seen lots of blog conversations where others are saying the same thing.

MZMackay said...

The blogosphere is saturated. Almost all the topics that one can write about, are already being written about.

Plus, with the rise of rss feeds and readers (like google reader), we really barely ever go to the actual sites anymore.

I don't think blogging will disappear, now that it's reached its peak, but I do think blogging is now an important segment of the media.

Bloggers are expected to be credible, and be more balanced in the information they provide, and they will be held accountable for the content they provide.

Blogs aren't the online journals they started out as anymore.

CourtneyC said...

You are spot on.

I used to spend every day hitting my favorite writer / agent blogs, but now I check in maybe once a week at the most. I thought it was just me ...I'm at a stalemate in my own writing journey. But, I've noticed my favorite blogs are also slow. Some just now post occasionally or have guest bloggers on more frequently, some have dropped out of the biz or quit blogging altogether. And, it seems the same old people are saying the same old thing.

Perhaps also there is a lag as the industry finds its legs with self-publishing and Kindle et al. now a viable option in the publishing paradigm. I'm cooling my heels and seeing what happens (as Borders files for bankruptcy).

CourtneyC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurel said...

In my very unscientific opinion I think the bloggernaut is slowing down. I agree with the comments about other social media competing for our attention, but I also think some of the very public meltdowns and mistakes have led people to be quieter and think harder before posting/commenting.

A couple of years ago it was "if you want to be a writer you HAVE to have a blog." Then we added "You MUST be on Twitter." So everybody did it and then folk started saying "If you have a blog it has to be updated regularly or it's worse than not having a blog" and "Once you put it out there, it never goes away so be very careful what you say."

Blogging has morphed from fun to work to oh, no, can I say that out loud?

Lisa Firke said...

Hi, Nathan.

I think the blogosphere is saturated with posts that try to turn everything into a snappy soundbite or a perspicacious list. And I also think blogs ebb and flow seasonally. Blogging fatigue sets in.

I don't think author blogs have peaked or even necessarily reached their potential. As I work with my clients (I design and produce websites and blogs especially for authors), I think more and more that the simplest tools are best (like Blogger).

Even then, the reverse chronological order and post-and-comment format isn't for everyone. It works superbly for you because you blog so consistently and have such an active group of commenters. For other authors it will be better to post less frequently, and organize the content thematically. If a lot of comments aren't coming in, turn them off and enable sharing links for Facebook and Twitter instead. That's my 2 cents...

Rowenna said...

I think a lot of people dove into blogging without really wanting to do it or knowing how or why and not feeling really committed to it--because they thought they had to, because it was the thing to do. Writers and non-writers alike. What I've seen--for the most part--the blog chaff is being separated from the wheat, and people who are still blogging are a) good at it b) enjoy it and/or c) have built or are building relationships through the medium of their blog. It's like bunnies' population cycles--when you have a bumper crop of bunnies one year, they don't all make it through the winter. I think we're coming into the spring of blogging with fewer, but stronger, blogs/bunnies.

MJR said...

The stats are going up and up on my blog(environmental, not writing blog), but through google analytics, I found out that people don't stay long, don't browse through posts etc. So it might be part of the "Twitter culture"--people only have attention span now to read only a sentence or two.

I love blogs and hope people still keep reading and writing them.

Heather Sunseri said...

I've wondered this, too, Nathan. I think it has to do with Twitter. You can RT a post and not take the two or fifteen minutes it takes to compose a thoughtful comment. Instead people RT a link and are left with only eleven characters to say, "Great Post!" I think it goes to show us that if we want a discussion on our blogs, we better be composing a blog post worth discussing. That's just my take.

MJR said...

The stats are going up and up on my blog(environmental, not writing blog), but through google analytics, I found out that people don't stay long, don't browse through posts etc. So it might be part of the "Twitter culture"--people only have attention span now to read only a sentence or two.

I love blogs and hope people still keep reading and writing them.

Tamara Hogan said...

Between work and writing, I'm digitally overloaded, and I don't think I'm alone. There's too much digital shrapnel hitting my in-box, screen, eyeballs - and a lot of it is promotion.

I spend less time online than I used to, and am more selective about how I spend my time when I DO log on. Too many blogs, too little time.

ThisCommonReader said...

I read somewhere that tweeting was short blogging. Perhaps those that want to write in a condensed style have moved to Twitter for writing.

Laura Campbell said...

I started to really get into blogging when I participated in NaNoWriMo in November 2010. This January I promised myself I would post M-F, which was difficult because I didn't know what to write. Then came the schedule. I blog regularly and see traffic to my site ride a wave. I've picked up a few new followers and people are commenting a bit more.

I agree with Ishta that many blogs are repeating themselves. For me I think that's ok. It encourages me that I'm not going through the writing life ups and downs alone.

I'm going to continue doing what I"m doing. It would really chap my ass if I'm doing all the work to direct traffic to my blog and the blogosphere is losing its luster. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Carrie said...

I see more people taking time off from their blogs or posting less. I think it gets overwhelming to blog, read other blogs, comment, facebook and Tweet.

Anna said...

I don't think there's been a slow-down, but then again, I've only been blogging for 6 months. During that 6 months, however, I've steadily seen my stats grow and now regularly receive comments (I love you, followers!). I think that there is over-saturation in our field, but that's ok. There are plenty of options, and I only follow blogs with which I want to stay in touch.

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

I like to read blogs every so often in case there is something I can learn from them, or a bit of news that is exciting about certain authors, etc that I follow. But mostly I'm starting to hate the emphasis on them. I don't mind blogs, but why do we think we need to constantly be updating them? It takes away from more important things we could be doing. I maybe update my blog once a week or once a month. Then I see others who have multiple writers who take turns posting just to keep people coming to their site. OF course there is one blog that has multiple writers, but they all decide to post something nearly everyday and my blog reader is full of feed from them and it gums everything up. (Isn't the point of having multiple writers so that you don't have to post every day???)

It all gets a little overwhelming at times, but maybe I make it that way. Between Facebook, Blogger, and Twitter, I could really spend all day staring at the computer screen. WHY?

Scott Marlowe said...

I think it's social media exhaustion. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, real life... it gets to be too much. The easiest things to cut out are the first three, and, you know what, when time spent blogging, FB'ing, and Twitter'ing are reduced, I suddenly have more time for the lattermost, real life.

Keira of LoveRomancePassion said...

I call it the 2 Year Blogging Curse (I wrote about it in a guest series at Blog Traffic Exchange)

Link: http://www.blogtrafficexchange.com/t/2-year-blogging-curse/

I think people start blogs and think just because they opened up shop people will come and they don't make any real efforts. After about a year or two with none of their goals met for the blog, the blogger decides to give it up. They lose interest.

I use Google reader to read and scan my two blog niches and to get inspiration and motivation from other blog niches (fashion/blogging/marketing/twilight <--- those bloggers are very active, take notes if you need ideas!)

Jihad Punk XXX said...

I have noticed this, too, and I must echo SarahAnn's comment that it might be due to Twitter -- so much more social interaction on Twitter. Also, people are more likely to reply to a blogger on Twitter rather than posting a comment on the said blog post that's just been published.

and I think many more people are simply content with READING blogs as rather writing and publishing, becuase sometimes they have nothing to say, except to read and listen.

Neil Vogler said...

Blogging as a popular practice may well have peaked and, in my opinion, so has social media use. Everyone I know seems to be pulling back on their FB usage and limiting their time on Twitter. I think we've gotten past the age of net-based communication as novelty, and what we're seeing now is the beginning of a new age of maturity. A whole bunch of early-adopters and previously heavy users are taking a step back and seeking more of a sense of balance in their everyday lives. Information overload is a real enough hazard, and the dangers of sharing too much detail about your day-today movements on the net are becoming more evident as time goes on. Practices change, habits evolve, and individuals become more discerning with their tastes as time goes on. The question is: where does social media go from here?

Ted Cross said...

I think that the longer we go with blogging the more we realize that we are mainly just talking to ourselves and not generating interest with the general reading public or with agents or publishers.

P-A-McGoldrick said...

For a couple of years, I have been blogging but the pace has changed almost everywhere. One blog expert sums up his experience so well & gives overall perspective at http://bowjamesbow.ca/2011/02/13/ninth-blog-anni.shtml.
Patricia
PM_Poet Writer

Lisa Kilian said...

Having just started a blog myself, I think we're in an Out with the Old, In with the New phase. We'll have some down time, the older, already popular blogs will retire, and the new bunch will rise up.

I think it's just an inevitable cycle. Blogs are exhausting and insatiable. I think the best anyone can hope for is a lot of love and retirement done Miss Snark-style.

Lisa Kilian

Magdalena Munro said...

I'm not sure if blogs have peaked but there may be a correlation between engagement and employment figures. When I am between consulting gigs, I have the cherished time to read blogs I love and respond but now (because I'm working furiously in the "real world"), even this here response is taking away from my work. My Two Cents-

Rick Daley said...

I've slowed down on my posting and commenting, but I'm still a regular lurker on most blogs I follow. For me the slow-down is due to time constraints with work, family, and novel writing (and revising).

Debra L. Schubert said...

"Has the time you spent interacting with blogs changed in the past year?" Definitely!

I used to post twice a week, now it's all I can do to get a post out once a week. My posts take 2-4 hours - a healthy chunk of time that could be spent writing/editing. I also read other blogs far less than I used to due to the time-suck element. It's what I love about Twitter. You drop in whenever you've got a spare few minutes and catch up w/people. Quick, easy, back to work.

Mira said...

I think I see it as stabilizing - although, this is just guesswork on my part, of course.

I guess I see blogging, twittering, facebook, etc. as all basically the same thing. Interaction on the web. Just different flavors.

Web interaction is very strong, and I predict it will continue to strengthen. If it's not already, it's going to become a staple in communications - there is nothing else that allows for such immediate worldwide intersaction.

But people are drawn to two things - the new and the good. So twitter, facebook and all that will probably eventually stabilize as well, the new flavor, whatever that is, arrives.

So, the best of the bunch, whether it's a blog, a facebook page, etc. will rise to the top, above the competition and stabilize.

I believe blogs will always be around - they offer a space for thoughtful interaction that you can't find on the 'quick bite' social media sites. They aren't as good at community building as something like Facebook, but they are better at thoughtfully exploring an issue and providing information with a personal touch. They are also a good outlet for a fan base - like Neil Gaiman's blog.

So, to summarize :) I think blogs are stabilizing and the best will continue to have a loyal and steady fan base.

And, at some point in the future, everyone will discover blogs again, and they'll explode once more, only to stabilize again.

Rebekah said...

I think that it is like anything else, it will ebb and flow in popularity. A lot of people used blogs for things that are now shared on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social network you use, so a lot of people are putting more into those as well. Also, I think a lot of times it is simply hard to maintain momentum - Unless you have a lot of material to draw from, it is hard to come up with actual things to say on a daily basis and stay focused, informative and interesting with all of the other competition out there.

There is another factor too that I think a lot of bloggers don't figure in - interaction. I will not comment on a blog where trolls have free run, or more where a few regulars are the dominant or only commentators -It feels too much like intruding on a private conversation.

Glenda Manus said...

I do think blogs have peaked but only for those who beg for comments. I blog to practice writing and to let my family and friends in on what's going on in my life. I'm a reclusive writer and blogging gives me a much more comfortable voice than one-on-one interaction. I can blog and not have to make weekly phone calls. They seem to appreciate it as it's about the only way they ever hear from me. Sometimes I think of quitting but I have followers that I don't want to disappoint.

Keetha said...

I'm not sure but I think, overall, quality will win out. Darwinism - the strongest will survive.

John Jack said...

Blogs haven't peaked. It's a calm before a malestrom. Fly-by-nighters have gone and done their early in, early out skip and dance and left their ephemeral marks in the candyfloss sand.

They found out, like anything worthwhile in life, to blog well is a chore with demands and a talent for saying something others want to hear and a sense for knowing when a topic has run its full course.

There are middle comers building moment for coming on who will take blogs in a different direction from status craving early adopters' directions. Like, getting to the main course, the main feature after the opening credits, the commercial sponsor spots, the prefatory remarks.

And powerhouse late comers as well will come along, fashionably late to the party types who will lend their celebrity and flair for dramatic entrances and personality cults to the mix when the audience spotlight will fix on them.

Then blogs will settle down into an everyday steady state of the art.

Laura Pauling said...

I think it's still very prevalent when done right. Unique, useful and updated. Who cares if it's not every day and just once a week. And I think writers are focusing on their writing!

Tiana Smith said...

I think it has a lot to do with blog saturation. Too many people blogging on the exact same topic without bringing anything unique to the party. We all get overburdened as a result.

With blogs, I only follow if there's something in it for me (sad, but true for most of us, I think). People love reading fresh content, but get upset when people don't follow them for their quickly tossed up blog posts (they think, 'but I have to post today even if I don't have something to say!').

There's a golden rule to blogging that many people do not follow. Write blog posts unto others as you would read them yourself. If we do this, blogs will pick up again.

*end of rant* :)

Kevin said...

I've INCREASED my blog reading and exploring activities...and have added new blogs to my favorites list recently. The blogs I follow update often.

Diana said...

I've been putting more time and effort into my blog since December and also spending more time looking for blogs and reading them, so of course blogs have peaked and everyone is now on to the next new thing. Sigh.

All you all are lucky that I gave up on facebook and twitter. If I started up again they would die a painful death. :)

word verification: villisol *snerk*

Anonymous said...

For me, so many of the blogs I follow have left me behind. The authors are agented, getting published, etc, etc, etc. It's getting harder to find writer bloggers that are in similar situations/positions in the journey to me. I thought blogging would help me find people I could relate to. It did, but because of life situations, I've been left behind. The occasional blog contest has allowed me to get a critique on part of my manuscript, but every attempt at a full-on crit group has fallen through.

Blogging isn't bringing me what I thought it would and I'm beginning to re-evaluate the whole thing. Life is really busy for me right now so I've gone on blog hiatus for the time being.

jim said...

whose got the time?

Maureen said...

I am not a big fan of YouTube (I don't have patience for videos) and I barely post anything on Facebook but I love reading blogs that prompt thought and discussion. They are filled with information (some useful, some not), personality and even drama. I check in and read the blogs I enjoy sporadically though I'm a scanner so if they don't interest me I skip them. I've recently noticed, on some of the blogs I follow, that a lot more emphasis is being placed on products -- producing products, selling products and affiliate products. Some days I feel like I've entered a storefront and not a favorite blog.

While Twitter is a quick way to take the pulse of an issue or idea at any time, I hope it doesn't replace blogs. I think each of the communication platforms has it's purpose and will evolve over time, though I'm also sure there are yet unimagined forms of communication to come.

I know I'm not cutting-edge or an early adopter because I'm still a huge fan of newspapers - I have 2 delivered everyday -- but I believe that when it comes to communication and gathering and sharing information that it is important to have a variety of platforms to meet the diverse or niche needs of society.

Ian Tuttle said...

why blog when you can tweet?

[28 characters]

Leanne (Ironic Mom) said...

Great question. And the comments definitely point to the "saturation" of the blogosphere.

Interesting, though, wordpress's stats for today indicate that there are 495,383 bloggers, 551,261 new posts, 454,268 comments, & 106,732,322 words posted today on WordPress.com" (which is significantly higher than when I started blogging in November 2009).

(Word verification: sesessio, which sounds like a version of cease)

Anonymous said...

Interesting you should mention that.

I'm in the process of listing agents to query, and am pretty much looking for an agent without a blog.

therealjasonb said...

I'm not sure if blogs are down, but Facebook and Twitter are way, way up. Facebook keeps getting bigger, and Twitter users are getting older (statistically)--so people might be tweeting instead of blogging. Places like Facebook also allow for more direct (maybe immediate?) interaction than blogs, although obviously there is interaction going on here.)

I think there are also newer sites--like Tumblr--that are sort of blogs, but also roll in tweets, video, audio, etc. in a way that traditional blogs don't.

(I don't normally know all this, but I was just looking at stats about this sort of thing for work.)

D.G. Hudson said...

Perhaps quality control is slowing things down. Most people can only stay in fast-forward for a given amount of time (burn-out is a consequence). For quality to emerge from a blog, the host must take time to post interesting material. (e.g., Nathan's writing info or publishing info-powerhouse J. Konrath)

Blogging takes time, could involve research for certain posts, and needs some sort of schedule to keep it fresh. Then to read other blogs takes even more time. I'll review the blogs that I follow on occasion, and have gleaned some out. They may not suit my purposes or give me anything worthwhile. I can only read so much before the eyes glaze over.

Perhaps it's easier to use Twitter (quick satisfaction turnaround),or Facebook.

My take - nearly every product (like blogging) has a product life cycle: new, growth, no growth and decline. Only the strong survive.

It all depends on why the host is blogging in the first place - to gather followers, to share info, or to satisfy a writing need.

I don't think they have peaked, but perhaps blogs have reached a stable plateau. I've discovered some interesting sites by checking out some of the bloggers who follow you, Nathan.

Transparent Mama said...

I think there either has to be a relationship established on the blog with readers or some valuable information gained to keep readers coming back.

Kay Theodoratus said...

With so many blogs already being updated regularly, I think it's getting increasingly difficult to come up with a new idea ... or even a new slant.

But, someone will do it, even if I know it's not me.

Danielle La Paglia said...

I think quality blogs will stay and thrive. I know several blogs that are cutting back from daily to 2-3 times or week or going from 2-3 times to once a week. As long as the content is good and there's a reason to blog, they'll stick around and people will still visit.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Many blogs fizzle. Either the person who started them didn't get insta-rich and famous, or the reason they started the blog has changed, or they were young when they started and no longer want to blog, etc.

Regular readers also to use their repeat-read blogs like a newspaper - skim it and move on.

Blogs in their current incarnation may have peaked, but that's not to say they won't adapt to a new format.

Melanie Jacobson said...

I've heard speculation that it's the rise of the smartphone that's slowing down comments. I get as much traffic as I ever did, but less comments. I've heard people say that blogs are easy to read on their phones but it's too time consuming to tap out a comment.

Caryn said...

I am a relative newbie in the blogosphere. When I post a blog update on my Facebook page, I find that more people make comments on Facebook than on my blog, even though they go to my blog to read the update.

Courtney Price ~ Vintage Ginger Peaches said...

YEP. I've been thinking about this for the last 6 months. I think that people are still reading via feed, but comments are way down... unless you're on facebook, then I have found they are up. Is this the next thing? I don't know... seems like facebook and twitter are too old to be "next".

Mr. D said...

Judging by this blog alone, (its very high number of followers which is ever-increasing,) I would say blogging is still on the rise.

Reesha said...

Blogging IS getting a bit excessive.
For people who search blogs for information, blogging has peaked.
For people who are addicted to blogs and blogging, we're just getting started.

I wonder, did the person who came up with the phrase "Marketplace of Ideas" ever think it could be carried too far?

I mean, the more ideas the better, right? But what if there are so many it clogs up the system and prevents the really good ideas from getting the attention they need?

This is a subject that's both deep and wide. Someone should write a book about it.

Remilda Graystone said...

So many interesting reasons. I have noticed blog postings and commenting--all that stuff--starting to slow down. I thought it was only me. I used to have a blog, but then deleted it when I became too self-conscious to post more often. But to be honest, I didn't want to blog to begin with. So I think that's what happening now. Those who started blogging naively didn't realize how much work it actually is if you don't enjoy it.

Also, everyone's practically written everything there is to write/discuss when it comes to writing. It's difficult to come up with something new or something worth discussing that hasn't already been discussed. And with feeds and all that, people no longer have to read the entire post to find out whether they want to continue/comment--or even press the link.

Then there's real life to contend with. It's also a case of saturation, I think, which makes it hard to keep up with everything even if you want to. I only follow about 30 blogs, and I find I don't even read half of the things posted because I have no time.

At the end of the day, blogging, commenting, it's all time-consuming, and I'm sure people don't want to feel like they wasted their time, so they've become pickier about whose blogs they read and comment on.

Interesting discussion.

Jacqueline Windh said...

I agree with the other commenters who noted that the internet is saturated with blogs. If every writer is supposed to have a blog... well, that is practically as many publishers as consumers.

There are a few absolutely fantastic blogs out there that have developed a high readership. But it is unrealistic for every blogger to aim for that - readers just don't the hours in the day to read that many of them.

So I think that makes it a lot harder for us to justify time spent blogging. We need to either find some niche (not already covered by the millions of blogs out there) where we have a chance of developing a readership that makes our time investment worthwhile - or invest our energies elsewhere.

BTW, I just looked on the Wordpress.com front page - there were 557,851 new blogs posts today alone.

Stephanie@thecrackedslipper said...

Blogs offering useful information will always be popular. Case in point, this one.

salima said...

maybe it's following a romantic pattern: the initial infatuation has died down, and now the return to everything else that took up bloggers' time before their blog came along is trying to re-introduce itself. maybe the blog, the blogger, and the blogger's other priorities need to integrate into a companionable way of being, as they realize passion isn't everything. blogs will stick around, just be more integrated into regular life, i think. it'll be a good, healthy plateau.

Gregory K. said...

Nathan - I don't think there's been a slowdown in activity, but I think 1) blogs get less attention from outside sources (now we focus on Facebook and Twitter) and that affects our perception and 2) I know that my own interactions with the blogosphere have changed the longer I've been around it, and I therefore view the whole area through my own prism. For example, I no longer actively look for new blogs like I once did, but that doesn't mean that others aren't looking or that new blogs aren't popping up.

I suspect the peak in terms of media attention has come and gone. I don't think there's any way to measure whether the peak in terms of effectiveness has come and gone. I think that, as before, will be measured by each individual based on their own goals and what their blog achieves for them.

Anonymous said...

My favorite blog, this one, definitely quieted down when you left publishing.

Sean said...

I've been writing seriously for just over a year now and agent/author blogs like Nathan's were an invaluable tool in helping me grow as a writer. That being said - one of my all time unfavorite phrases - I've noticed most blogs becoming repetitious. And there are way too many. By the time I read other people's blogs and write my own the day is half over.

The only reason I write a blog is because agents want us to have a platform - which in the grand scheme of things I think is ridiculous. I mean, there's only so much platform an average person with limited means can amass. Ooh, I'm going to sell an extra 37 books one day because of my blog. Yippee. Most aspiring writers, like myself, can only go so far with their blogs without putting up some real points - i.e. nabbing an agent/publisher/selling books - on the scoreboard.

Juliette said...

@SarahAnn I was really interested to read your comment about how you're still reading, but commenting less. Every blogging site out there think comments are an indication of a successful blog, but when I recently got my highest ever number of hits thanks to a link from whedonesque, it was days before I got any comments, adn then only two. People followed the link read the article they were interested in, and left again, which is fine by me, as long as they enjoyed it! But perhaps we need other ways of measuring success or impact.

TraciB said...

Funny you should ask, Nathan - I just deleted three blogs from my follow list because they hadn't been updated in two months or more.

My own posts have been sporadic at best, but at least I'm putting something up once or twice a month...

Chris Phillips said...

I would see where you are coming from if it weren't for my blog, which is like God's gift to blogging.

Terri Tiffany said...

I have decreased the amount of posts I write so that I can read more blogs. I think I use Facebook much more often and like others, I am finding that my writing is suffering if I am on blogs too much.

Fenris said...

Don't feel bad Nathan, it's just cold-weather lethargy. Besides, if the blogs fall there's always Twitter (shudder) or Facebook.

But I don't think they'll ever really fall. After all, people like to hear things from those they look up to, and the character limit of Twitter can't always allow that. Facebook Notes can, but they're a bit more difficult to use than blogs--for example, sometimes only direct friends can see them.

You also have to take into account our attention spans and work ethics (at least those of the common American). It takes dedication to track down every scrap of relevant information on the Internet and then piece it together into something comprehensible (though granted, if we had to we would). It's so much easier to just follow a blog that tells you all of it up-front. (For example, it was a godsend when I found this and a few other writerly blogs. Before that I had no idea what was going on.)

So no, I don't think blogs will ever die. The blogosphere might shrink a bit, but the ease of use and comprehension should keep it afloat.

Reece said...

I actually read blogs a lot more now than I did a year ago...all thanks to google reader! It was too much of a hassle to go to each different blog and read (I know it sounds horrible, but that's the truth). Now that I can get to all the blogs I follow almost directly from my email account, I read a lot more.

Annie said...

I feel the same way, Nathan. I think the problem is market saturation, especially with writing blogs. So many new and wannabe writers feel pressure to start blogs to help their *mysterious and shifty* platform, but then they can’t keep up. Or they grow tired of it. And that’s a real shame, since all of the forlorn and decrepit blogs out there clutter the blogosphere and make it harder to find those blogs that are active and do try to be original. There’s a certain amount of burn-out, I think, with writing blogs… because everyone knows that they’re created for the sole purpose of creating a platform 85% of the time, and that’s off-putting. I think the keepers of writing blogs need to stop thinking about getting other writers to follow them and start thinking about entertaining their readers.

Annie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristin Laughtin said...

There's definite burn-out on both sides, although I don't think blogs will entirely disappear any time soon. Rather, I think they were so promoted as this must-have tool that everybody paid more attention than they could spare to them. I'm sure the people posting every day got worn out, and it was the same with many commenters--including me, since the market is so saturated with so many "must-read" blogs. I just did not have time to comment on all of them anymore, especially with work (and in my case, grad school part-time), and I'm sure I wasn't alone in this experience. I'm reading many blogs still, but not commenting as much as I want to or felt I "should".

Basically, like in any market, I think a few will continue to slug it out and have regular posts and followers. They'll be the top-selling authors, and most of the mid- or lower list will drop out or content themselves with smaller audiences (especially if their blog is just to update people on their life, etc.).

Scott said...

I just read an insightful post on another blog addressing this:

http://idratherbewriting.com/2011/02/07/the-problem-of-free/

Long story short: blogs are free, and bloggers are finding that the cost of actively blogging may outweigh the returns.

patlaff said...

Like everything else, it's cyclical. Remember when everyone was buying and selling on eBay? Remember when Ashton Kutcher added his 1 millionth Twitter follower? Remember when your friends posted comments to Facebook? After a while, the honeymoon is over and people go back to the other distractions in their lives. Blogs are no different.

I'm not saying these things are going away. They're just following the typical path of fads. And FYI: while tie-dyes never truly went away, peace signs are back.

Elena said...

Yup...you say "peaked"...I say too many blogs have "jumped the shark."

Also, I think too many folks' attention spans have decreased to the point they can barely handle reading 140 characters.

jjdebenedictis said...

Twitter and Facebook updates link to content.

Blogs actually provide that content.

However, providing content is hard work. Often the owner of a blog just wants to point out a funny lolcat.

And so, blog posts decrease in frequency and social media sites pick up that slack.

I don't think blogs will go away. We still need content--a place where a complete line of reasoning can be expressed.

That said, social media is better for the kinds of communication most of us want to do on a day-to-day basis.

Ulysses said...

I think a lot of blog traffic has moved over to Twitter and Facebook, and I think this is because of time required by both reader and writer.

Blame ADHD, if you like. I would but... hey! Butterflies!

A blog post can be one line, but as a reader, I feel cheated by those that are. I don't want War and Peace, but I'd like a nice, thoughtful essay on an interesting topic. A blog post takes more time and thought to create and read than a tweet or a status update.

On Twitter or FB, one-line posts are the norm. They can be dashed off with a minimum of investment, and can either be developed later or not at all. Substantial commitment is not required, and is likely a hindrance to communication in that forum.

But we all feel the pressure on our time, and under that pressure it's easier to either post nothing on a blog, or tweet a fleeting thought, or change our status.

I don't know if blogs have peaked, but those who used to read and write them are discovering they can get much of the interaction they wanted out of a blog from different and less demanding sources.

Those who were in blogging solely for personal contact have largely left for other pastures. Those who remain are here because they enjoy the longer format a blog allows.

Have they peaked? Probably in terms of sheer numbers, yes. In terms of quality of experience, I suspect they're just starting to mature.

Star-Dreamer said...

Hmmm... I have been noticing a lag in blog related activity around the blogosphere and my own blog too... fewer comments and fewer new posts. Not sure I like it, and not yet sure if it will stick around. It may just be because school is getting into the full swing of things and college students don't have a lot of extra time on their hands (that's my excuse anyway) but who really knows... *shrug*

Star-Dreamer said...

Annie: as far as blog content goes, I believe you are right -- that many new writers out there do decide to start a blog for the sheer purpose of trying to build a following. Actually, that was my starting purpose too... but now my blog has become a whole lot more to me. It's public, so it's not like a journal, but it is a way for me to share my feelings and explore different subjects with the public, and then get feedback. All good stuff. So you are right... most of the writing blogs out there are dead anymore... but of those that are still up and running, I think it's gone beyond platform and perhaps even beyond entertainment, and has boiled down to the sharing and feedback. Ok, so you can get similar things on FB, but for articles there is still no better place than a blog. :D

J. T. Shea said...

I have spent more time interacting with blogs in the last year. More time, but fewer blogs. Mostly yours and the Bransforums, in fact. My comments would probably make a fairly regular blog in their own right. Yet I do not have a blog. I prefer it here!

Though obviously creative in your own right, you are also an excellent facilitator, a catalyst for the creativity of others. Hence literary agent, and now social mediator. Your recent blog posts are excellent examples. You ask a question or two, and voila'! We provide a hundred or more answers. You're not just talking to yourself, unlike many bloggers.

abc said...

I think my own blog peaked in about 2006 when I had at least 30 readers. :0)

Isn't the world all about ebb and flow? I think blogs are becoming more focused--at least the highly read ones are. I still read the ones I love, but I hunt less for new ones.

Yes and no, I guess.

tamarapaulin said...

I'd read more blogs if they said something with fewer words.

G said...

I think that its more cyclical than anything else.

I find that the traffic at my blog has a tendency to drop during the spring and summer and rise during the fall and winter.

I still find myself commenting on a good percentage of the blogs that I follow, but even though the comments may be dwindling on mine, I'm still happy with the traffic that I do get.

Anne R. Allen said...

I've noticed a decrease in my stats in the last month, but I'm still getting comments. I think it's more likely cyclical. People tend to get down to business in the bill-paying aftermath of holiday frenzifying. So they may actually be writing. And blogging less often, but more thoughtfully.

I can't see blogs dying out. They are free interactive websites. What's not to like?

Facebook seems to be peaking to me. It feels adversarial, as the Facebook corporate elves keep trying to sell you stuff by tricking you into giving away secrets with dumb quizzes, and squish you into one corporate box or another. (You're not even allowed to like a type of music or film any more, but have to choose specific corporate entertainment brands.)

Facebook is for grandmas to exchange family reunion photos and for corporate advertising. That's not cool. When your cooth is gone, you're on your way out.

But bloggers can still be individuals. Blogging may be stablizing, but it's not going anywhere.

If Facebook fades, I won't mind a bit.

Claire Gregory said...

Hmm. I'm not so sure. Everything feels like it's in full swing at the moment- but then I'm a Crusader in Rachael Harrie's Writers Blog Platform-Building Crusade, so I'm in the thick of discovering hundreds of other writers who blog for the first time, and loving it.

http://rachaelharrie.blogspot.com/p/writers-platform-building-crusade.html

Sommer Leigh said...

I have not seen a slow down on the blogs I am following and I've been finding more that I enjoy lately than ever before. I have not felt this slow you speak of.

However, I did just mention on my blog that I think we are about to see more authors who blog turning to group blogs instead of keeping individual ones. I have seen a noticeable drop in posts from authors I follow and I've seen more group blogs popping up. I think this will be a good thing for authors who don't have time to dedicate to a blog and for readers who don't have enough time to hit all their favorite authors. If you can go to one blog with five authors posting during the week you have an active blog, a place to interact with your favorite authors, and a place to find new authors that are maybe a lot like them in genre, audience, voice, tone, etc.

Ernessa from 32 Candles.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bika said...

I sure hope not, 'cause if so I am so late to the party. :)

Two years ago I started dabbling in blogs because they were free webspace in which I could put some of the silly things I wanted to show my friends. Since then it's become a whole 'nother animal.

My blog world is still growing every day. (I found two new blogs to follow just this morning, in fact!) I also use Twitter and my follow/er numbers are going up all the time... if slowly. Maybe it's just a matter of quality vs. quantity. I admit, I tend to avoid signing up for blogs that post daily unless they're exceptional, because it can get really noisy up in my reader.

T.E. Hibbard from FierceandNerdy.com said...

I co-edit a blog and while our numbers are higher than ever, we've definitely seen a slow down in comments over the years. On one hand, it's become a bit creepy, like talking a lot while people just stare at you blank-faced. On the other hand, it's a nice surprise to see what resonates (ends up in our top 5) without comment.

Kaitlyne said...

I read fewer than I did a year ago, and that's a direct result of people posting less or seeming to become less interested. One in particular was once entertaining, but now feels strained and repetitive, so I gave up on that one, which was a shame because it had been a favorite for a year.

Honestly, though, I've never liked the majority of blogs and the few that I do read (almost all industry related at this point) are exceptional and tend to be funny.

I haven't ever felt like I was establishing a relationship with the writer as someone before put it. While I occasionally leave comments, that's general in response to a direct question and it doesn't make me feel any more connected to the writer of the blog than before. I prefer message boards or forums for that type of thing--places where I feel like I'm carrying on a real conversation and not just another random name on the internet.

katdish said...

I think blogs that offer something unique to their readers with writers committed to writing them will stick around.

Layla Morgan Wilde said...

Probably yes. And with our collective ADHD who has time to read or write long posts? I keep it simple with my photo quote de jour.

Donna Perugini said...

If bloggers don't have Subscribe by Email, I won't be back because email is the only way I notice. If they post a comment, I make sure I go to their blog and comment. It makes a good link connection and some times a new friend. I'd recommend a Subscribe by Email feature for every blog!

Since I've only been doing this a year, I can only comment from my perspective as a newbie.

Liz said...

It's not just you. I've noticed it mostly with personal blogs of family and friends. It seems like people have sort of lost interest in updating their own blogs or commenting on others', even though they are still reading blogs. It makes me think the blogging trend is on a downward swing. I think blogs with a specific focus and an established audience will continue to thrive, but a lot of blogs will start to disappear.

paulajewelry said...

If a good blog will post to my email, I'll join it and give it the count of five -- five great blogs in two weeks and I'll keep them. And I find I access them more readily if the subject line is specific and hooks me (not just the blog name). Otherwise I delete it to clear my inbox. As a result, your blog gets read almost daily. I hardly ever read the comments unless it directly relates to me -- like this one -- and I rarely comment unless I feel a connection. Thanks for keeping us connected!

chelsea said...

I like your blog. It's the only blog I read regularly. I am subscribed to your feed, which is probably why - but I never read your posts from my inbox, I always click and visit your site, because I love your typewriter logo and I love orange. :)

Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) said...

In the last few months, three industry people have said a large blogging platform is not a requirement for a fiction writer to get a deal. That would be you, Jane Friedman, and Rachelle Gardner - in other words, people I'd trust.

If that wisdom is absorbed, I think there will be considerable blogging attrition. The bloggers who do it well, and/or who love it, will remain. I'm interested to see what happens in the next while, but I do think we're on the cusp of a shift.

Terin Tashi Miller said...

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 said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

HelenHartman said...

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 http://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)

chicksinthekitchen said...

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!
Lis

Bill Az said...

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.

Misty said...

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 said...

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.

Yat-Yee said...

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 said...

Okay. It is probably slowing down. So you tell me Nathan, what to focus on next?

Tweeting? Text-ing? Talking?

Anonymous said...

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 said...

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.

Anonymous said...

****

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 said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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 said...

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 said...

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.

Whirlochre said...

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...)

Whirlochre said...

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.

Anonymous said...

Nathan,

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

Gehayi said...

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 said...

Good Gracious, I hope so!

Kathryn Magendie said...

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)

Whirlochre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whirlochre said...

I've decided to experiment.

Tammy said...

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.

Liz said...

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 said...

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.

Ted said...

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 said...

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)

howdidyougetthere said...

I used to blog once a week and haven't blogged in 3 months...I feel so average...

Stephanie said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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 said...

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.

Lynn said...

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.

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