Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?


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?

And if you'd like to join the community on Facebook commenting you can follow me on Facebook  here:

Art: The Stone Bridge by Rembrandt






97 comments:

S.M.D. said...

My comment count has never been high, but I know a lot of the problem is that it's easier just to leave a comment on my Google+ page than it is to go through all the clicking and what not on here. Only the folks who really want to comment will do so.

As for traffic: I've never had much of it, so I haven't noticed a significant drop. But there's certainly a feeling that people either aren't reading, aren't interested in reading, or have found different ways of getting content (mega sites might have something to do with that -- like io9 for genre folks).

One thing I've wanted to try is to make my blog easily accessible for people with mobiles. Hell if I know how to do that, though, without buying my own domain and hiring a web designer...

February Grace said...

I think it just hit critical mass at some point. Everyone was running out of material to post so everyone was posting the same material. Once people started figuring that out, they got bored and moved on...from reading, and writing blogs. How many times can you get excited about the same book cover reveal, for instance? Seeing it all over just numbs me to it all.

I only blog now when I have something I really want to say. Enough people read it that it still means something to me. But I have wondered many times if it's worth it. At those times I remind myself that I just have to make sure what I say is worth saying so people will hear the message; whether they read it in a feed or click on the link because I posted it on Twitter or FB.

I live on Twitter, mostly. Best way to get to me as a writer, reader, and consumer.

~bru

Jennifer @ GettingDownWithJesus.com said...

I think that more people are engaging on Facebook and Twitter, rather than leaving comments on blogs. I've also found that, in order to meet my readers where they are, I am now producing two kinds of content ... a longer story-based post on my blog, and a shorter photo-based version (with a quote along with a question) for my FB audience.

Kathryn/plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.com said...

Nathan, I'm having same experience. I could have written your post. :) I'm in the gardening blogger community. Bet they would say same. People EMAIL me comments or leave comments on FB. [Really? :( ] I think they feel it's more personal than leaving a comment on the blog. More of a connection. And meanwhile folks land on my blog as they research topics. #1 most popular search is Wild Violets. Someone should start a biz based on them! Personally, the #1 reason I "don't leave a comment" on blogs are the hurdles I have to go through to do so. #captcha #justsayin

Mrs. Silverstein said...

Part of that might be different habits on different platforms. People are used to posting short little replies on FB, or even just hitting "like", while on blogs I usually feel pressure to actually say something. Do you notice a difference in the type of comments you get on one platform or the other?

Cat York said...

It's easier to leave comments on Facebook or reply or RT, Tumble, Pin, etc. I look at the hits per post and the outreach and try not to worry about lack of comments. People are still reading and sharing, just not the same as they were a couple years ago.

Ted Fox said...

I update my blog more now than I ever have previously and do find traffic to my site dips on days when I don't post something new (although comparing my gross numbers to yours is something akin to comparing apples and spare tires). However, it does seem as though a fair amount of that traffic is contingent upon me posting the links somewhere else, particularly on Twitter.

Amalia T. Dillin said...

I notice the same for my own blog -- comment counts are down, but I get a lot of interaction on twitter and some on facebook. I think the conversational zones have just shifted -- people are still reading, but the blog isn't the focus of interactions anymore, because there are better methods of communication elsewhere.

my pageviews are actually significantly higher than they were two years ago though, and I'm not anywhere close to hanging up my mythology-posting hat.

Fred said...

I think bloggers see how much work it takes to keep up a significant traffic, and other than a brief high when someone comments or when they look at the page views, there's little in return. People post their books on Amazon.con, and they see the sparse sales, and they get disenchanted with writing. The people who aren't committed to writing eventually drop by the wayside and move on to the next "phase" of their lives. And I don't believe people communicate all that much over Facebook, because I've seen the kinds of posts that my friends put up. It's the same kind of stuff that they used to get in e-mails that would make the rounds. Impersonal. Rarely entertaining in any true sense. I'd rather sit alone with my own thoughts and write. (OR edit, as I'm doing now.) Though,I still stop in here because you're interesting.

Danette Haworth said...

Facebook is more immediate, a far more efficient feed of all your friends's posts. And as said earlier, you can simply LIKE a post, feel you've participated, and continue to follow that conversation.

I will now prove I am not a robot.

Carrie Monroe said...

I probably spend more time on twitter and Facebook than I do blogging but I still enjoy blogging and connecting with people I know through blogging. I feel like a lot of people are using Tumblr as well.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I'm not on Facebook, which I suppose is one reason why I continue to blog. I've noticed that only a few people actually read my posts, because most of them also come across my blog through search engines instead. Like you, I've noticed other bloggers disappear...except sometimes they'll show up with a couple posts after several months of being gone, and then they'll disappear again. I'm never sure whether to keep following them or not, because I don't know if they're still blogging.

Janet said...

Timely - just did a post this morning on my blog about Social Media for Writers. I waffle between FB, Twitter and blogging, wondering which is better for a pre-published author. After reading Kristen Lamb's 3 part series on blogging, I know that blogging is where my comfort lies. And there may not be a lot of comments, but my readership is growing (including a lot of non-writers who feel more comfortable e-mailing me their responses if they are so inclined).

FYI - I took out that captcha thing, my readers are very happy ;)

Maya said...

I love blogs because they provide more detailed information. That said, I feel like there is so much information for writers already out there. It's hard to add new advice.

As for commenting, It's certainly a lot easier on FB. Less clicks, no captcha, etc.

Sarah LaPolla said...

I barely log into my Google Reader anymore. Everyone I follow tweets links to their blog posts, so that's how I find them.

For me, I don't blog nearly as often as I used to, but that's due to me being busier than I used to be. I do wish more people left comments on blog posts in the comments section though. When they tweet them to me, the conversation stops after a day or two. Comments sections are attached to the post no matter when someone reads it, but FB statuses and tweets are rarely clicked on weeks after the initial post.

Nathan Bransford said...

I've tried to take off the CAPTCHA but whenever I do I am positively besieged with spam. I just can't keep it off until/unless Blogger figures out better spam filtering (or makes those things easier to read)

Janet said...

Ah, Nathan, the difference between your mega readers and my 4 :) Captcha it is!!

charlotteotter said...

My blogging mojo is long gone, but I try womanfully to keep it going for I fondly imagine it's going to be a marketing tool when my book is published in a couple of months.

I used to put a lot of effort into writing quality posts, but any spare writing effort I have left after the day job I have to pour into writing novel #2.

I fear that blogs may have had their day.

LadySaotome said...

I follow via google-reader and rarely click through to the actual blog unless I want to comment. And I rarely comment if there are a ton of other comments already. It feels pointless when whenever I say will get lost in the slush.

Creative A said...

I've noticed this trend, too. Honestly I think people realized that epic amount of content wasn't quite worth the effort put into it. Blog takes a lot of serious work. People were burning out. I've noticed a lot of people moving to Tumblr, especially authors, and I think that works well because it allows people to share what's relevant to them, and have fans share in the experience, without having to try so hard. It's a bit more natural.

That said, I think blogs are going to stick around, but I think they're settling into a more moderate use as people being to use them in ways that are more natural.

-Mandy

inklings Anon said...

I don't think it's a peaking of blogs as much as it is a supersaturation of blogs. Everyone has one and you can't visit every single one in a given day. I have my preferences and it's this one and used to be Bookends. I think that your readership is high on old posts is a testament to how you are in the literary world. You are like the Encyclopedia Britannica of all things literary. If i'm not sure about something, I search your blog and if I don't find an article that answers my question fully, there's a link to somewhere else.

Jacqueline Windh said...

re: your question -
"Is everyone consuming more than producing?"

Well, yes... I hope so!! Because, I think in the last year or two (when all writers were told that we must have a blog) it was the other way around. More blog posts than readers... which meant that most (not yours, Nathan, but most) blogs ended up with few or no readers. And that's a waste of time for the blogger.

As for commenting on blogs... well, I'm not even sure how worthwhile it is to do that. Here, it looks like I am going to come in at Comment #18 or so. Most of the comments are fairly long (compared to a tweet, anyway). I wonder how many people are even going to read down this far, and actually read my comment? Or is that a waste of time, too?

I think a few good and successful and established blogs will stick around (like yours). But for most of us, blogging is just a waste of time. I have other things to write...

abc said...

Facebook and twitter, mos def. Also, I blame my blogging dry up on burnout. Blogging burnout.

Doug said...

On the commenting side, an acquaintance of mine puts it this way: "The party has moved elsewhere."

She notes that once significant structure is enforced in an online environment, a lot of participants will leave for an environment with less hassle. They're there for the party, and they're not going to jump through hoops in order to provide their own contributions for free. Besides, their partying buddies also are leaving.

Spammers are rude, obnoxious party-crashers. Once they show up, the party's basically over, and there's little that the host or hostess can do about it. Except to follow their friends to wherever the next party is.

Michael Pickett said...

I've been reading your blog for years, but I've been comment much less in recent years. I find that I get what I want out of the blog without commenting. I know that doesn't give you the feedback you'd like (I have a blog, and I know how valuable that is) but I don't always have much to add to the discussion besides, "That's a good point."

But I've recently run into another quandary when it comes to blogs. As I'm writing the book I'm working on, I would like to blog so that I can show potential agents/publishers that I have an active online presence, but since I have a full-time job and a family, my free time is very limited. When I have to weigh blogging time verses writing time, writing time usually wins. I have this nagging feeling, though, that is is going to hurt me later.

Crystal said...

I tend to be a few years behind trends. Ergo, I only started blogging about a year ago. I write for the fun of it...because stuff is funny.
I started out on Blogger, but moved to WordPress a few months ago - which is kind of like a Facebook for bloggers. You do have the option to "like" individual posts on WP, and I have noticed that I tend to get more "likes" than comments.
(I'm also an avid reader of comments on other people's blogs, so, yes, Jacqueline, I did read yours.)

Liberty Speidel said...

I personally am not blogging as much, but I'm in a season of life which has made it difficult to follow through. I want to blog, but usually don't have much to say.


Going along with that, I'm reading fewer blogs unless they're interesting to me. Even some of the ones I reading daily just a year ago, I may be lucky to check on them once a week--or once a month. A lot of that is just personal to me because of too many distractions in life, but I can see how time consuming it can be to read blogs regularly.

Personally, I prefer to read blogs than watch vlogs, mostly because my computer makes it difficult to watch much without throwing error messages at me or crashing Chrome. And, I do find that I may not have much to say to a blog, but I will Tweet the link if I think it's worthwhile.

julianneqjohnson said...

Perhaps blogging has reached a critical mass. When blogging began, there simply were not that many people doing it. Now it seems like everyone and their dog and cat have a blog. Blog writers seem to greatly outnumber blog readers. You have a very popular blog, and one I enjoy reading, but it's easier to read it on my Facebook, which is where I saw this post. So many people say that it you wish to be a writer, you need to build a platform, which includes blogging. Lately I've been wondering how reasonable that attitude is in this day and age.

Anonymous said...

I've heard several writers say "blogging is dead", but I think they mean that they personally don't care to blog regularly :)

Some comments work well as short facebook/twitter posts. Some thoughts are longer. Why does it have to be either/or?

I use Google Reader, so leaving a comment involves clicking through and navigating any of several potential login-type interfaces. I read way more than I comment. For my own teeny-tiny blogs I judge readership by number of page views rather than by comments.

Facebook is OK, but I prefer reading short, personal stuff on there, not a longer blog-type post. I usually read Facebook on my phone. And Facebook apps have annoying ways of sorting posts. I don't read much on Twitter, again because I usually use it on my phone and only see a dozen or so tweets at once. Maybe I would feel differently if I sat in front of a real computer reading Facebook and Twitter instead of 3-minute skims of them via phone 2x a day....

Roger Floyd said...

I've been blogging weekly (weakly?)for about two and a half years now, and don't intend to quit anytime soon. In fact, in the past several weeks I've jotted down several topics in my personal blog folder which will keep me going for many more weeks at least. I'm going strong now and haven't hit my peak yet.
I blog and write novels and short stories at the same time and I don't think it's all that difficult. I allocate my time. I limit my time on the internet (including Facebook) and set aside certain hours every day for writing. Twitter is a total waste of time. My feeling is that my blog is a way to get my views on writing and science out into public domain, and they'll always be there. Permanently and forever, world without end. Granted, I don't generate much blog traffic and that concerns me, but the blogs, along with samples of my writing, are there for anyone to see at any time. If you really want to write, plant butt in chair and write--blogs, short stories, novels, song lyrics, poetry, Hallmark cards, whatever. Just write.
By the way, this would be a good topic for another blog. That's one more!

Cynthia Washburn said...

I came late to blogging, starting May 2012. I make it a point to blog twice a week, Saturdays and Wednesdays (except for a Christmas hiatus). I look on my blog as writing practice as well as a way to connect. I can see how after maybe a couple of years I'll have run out of things to say, but maybe not. I'm quite opinionated. I don't use facebook or twitter (one of the few!)

Anonymous said...

Once you switched from agent to author, things changed.

Agent = insight

Agent = resource

Author = blah blah marketing blah

Author = textbook example of the incestuous corruption of the industry and the cynicism of "It's not what you write, it's who you know."

Agent to Author = Dude. Really?

Marsha Sigman said...

I know for me personally it's a matter of time. There isn't any. I'm feeling very overwhelmed in 2013 already by all my commitments but I try to blog at least once a week. It used to be at least four.

Oh, and Anonymous at 1:46 is a total ASS. That's my insightful comment of the day.

Saybe Scott said...

I've noticed consistently among blogs I've read a long time that the majority seem to have about 4-5 years' worth of posting in them, and then life goes in a different direction, or they start to lose interest, or have posted about all the easy stuff, or whatever. This is true of me, too. I'm on my third blog; each has been on a different topic/interest, and each has lasted about 4 years before I moved on.

But I think, additionally, people are taking their interactions to different platforms - FB and Twitter and even Tumblr - where it feels more like a big common room where people mingle than someone speaking at the front of the room to an attentive audience.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I so wonder about this too lately, Nathan. It seems people are blogging and reading blogs less, which I find sad. I have to spend a lot of time reading and commenting on blogs to keep my readership up, which I'm glad to do. But it's sad to see people come by my blog less and I'm re-evaluating how much time I'll spend visiting their blog. My time is just as precious as theirs and I have to squeeze in the blogging between work and family and writing.

I think blogs are the best way to say any content of any substance. I'm not on Twitter but it, like Facebook, seems limited on what you can say. I guess we'll just have to see what happens with blogging.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

And yet you're still here! Haha...

L.G. Smith said...

I'd say half the people I follow on blogger are no longer blogging on any sort of regular schedule. Some have given up on writing, some have gone to Twitter and Facebook. Those who have stayed, though, are still very much engaged. I enjoy commenting on their blogs and I get some good discussions going in my comments section too. I've thought about stopping the blog, but I enjoy the camaraderie with other writers too much. It's really not about platform or marketing, it's a social thing that keeps me connected with like-minded people.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathan.
I continue to read and appreciate your blog and forums. I stay far far away from social networking outside of forums - too much is privacy invasive. I particularly appreciate both the expertise you share here as well as the politeness you command. I think when you left agenting, things got a lot quieter. You were a hero agent to many of us -and, to many of us, you still are. But life happens.
I do miss the excitement and the holding my breath and all that sense of risking and losing in your old contests though. And, also the cheering on of the winners.
I know you love your new job, but I thought you were awesome champion of writers as an agent, even those you rejected to represent. I wonder if you miss it too sometimes...

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks, anon@2:04! I miss parts of my old job, like working with writers, but I love my new job too much to look back. I remain extremely glad I made the change.

In the meantime, I think we're very, very overdue for a contest!! Stay tuned.

Genie Sea said...

It's funny. I saw this post just as I was about to delete my blog.

In order for a blog to be worth one's while one of two things have to happen.

1-Decide traffic and comments are not why one blogs and blog anyway for one's self. OR

2- Put in the time to socialize with other bloggers on a daily basis and blog as frequently as possible which is time consuming. It's a job in of itself.

I'm a writer who wishes to be a published writer, so not having a constant readership defeats the point of putting it out there. On the other hand, writing every day is what I must do.

So I've decided to change my blog to that of my process and forget about who reads it.

Best of luck to you, and if anything, the volume of comments here proves that someone is still reading :)

Now onto "prove" that I'm not a robot and go through the rigmarole of publishing this comment lol

Christi said...

It seems to me that a lot more people are using Wordpress now than Blogger (myself included). I comment significantly less on Blogger and there have been multiple instances (usually here and at nataliewhipple.com) where I have written out an entire comment only to have it accidentally erased when the captcha doesn't work properly -- and I usually give up and don't comment at all when this happens. Wordpress doesn't have this Captcha business, and all the spam comments on my blog are filtered out.

Also, I agree with Sarah above that commenting on the blog itself lends itself better to continued conversation than tweeting or Facebook comments. I don't think blogging is on the way out; I think it's just a cyclical thing. Time will tell us on this one.

Richard Gibson said...

My blog visitation count (not remotely in your league!) has almost tripled over a year ago (perhaps in part because the book came out), but there are very few comments and very few followers. When I announce the new blog post on Facebook, that is where people comment, sometimes at considerable length. Facebook is certainly more social than blog comments (duh!).

Sam Mills said...

I just find Tumblr to be more interactive. You can still lock informational pages at the top like a website or traditional blog. You can still build a traditional comments platform in addition to the reblog option. And it is a pretty interface for alternating long text posts with photos, links, and other easily shared media.

I fully intended to continue my blogger account and cross-post the more substantial blog entries, but it turns out that I am a little too lazy for cross-posting, especially because my content is more personal entertainment than professional platform.

Stephsco said...

I've been blogging for 10 years or so, but only a few among the writing community using blogger. I sorted through my blogger follow list and found probably 30 blogs that had ceased functioning or didn't have a post in the last 4 to 6 months. Went through my list again last month and found at lease 20 more. I think many blogs have a 2 year shelf-life; the ones that stick around are higher volume review sites and authors who are really interactive in the writing community (offering lots of guest posts, a variety of fun content).

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

To be honest, I get most of my information from Reddit or from websites like the ones Gawker uses. Blogs just seem to regurgitate something that someone else has said. So unless it's a really popular author like George R.R. Martin, and he's posting an excerpt of Winds of Winter, there's really no reason to go to an author blog. And Tumblr is basically overrun with porn. Anyone that doesn't see that is being ignorant of how much porn there is on tumblr. You can combine any two words together (and I mean "any") and add tumblr after it in a google search and there's pages of pictures that will make you claw your eyes out. Twitter sucks unless you want breaking news or to have a conversation with anyone. It's mostly been ruined by this thing called Triberr that a bunch of writers signed up for so that they can spam you to sell their book. Facebook seems to be pretty good though, especially if you want to argue politics. That really engages people.

Jessica Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

It's the time. Blog reels are more time consuming to read. Do I still love them? Yes. Do I read them as often as I used to? No. I think that's why FB is easier... you see the feed, you "like" it, you continue reading the feed. The more info jammed into one place, the more convenient it is. (When it comes to being social, however, I'm still undecided on whether that's a good or bad thing.)

Jessica

Beth said...

I don't know. I've noticed some big bloggers and agents hanging up their hats, but I still blog as often as I did in 2010 when I started my blog.

Naja Tau said...

Interesting topic (and I appreciated Marsha's insight). I'm planning to shut down my dream blog when I run out of the old dreams from last year that I keep posting. I don't know why other people may be shutting down their blogs, but for me, blogging was an experiment to see if I got:

a) Money from advertising.
b) Attention so I could make money in book sales.
c) To connect with people who like to read what I write.

Sadly, I succeeded in none of these things and taking the time and risking my privacy to put myself out there aren't paying off. It was an experiment I wanted to commit a year to and it's not working out. That's why I'm planning to cool off of Blogger significantly.

Also, a lot of the cool blogs I really enjoyed don't seem to be posting as regularly! I think I'm going to chill out, work on what I really want to do (write novels) and post and comment at my convenience.

200,000 is still going pretty strong though!

Jenna St. Hilaire said...

Here's my entirely anecdotal opinion, as a happy blogger of eight years:

The Internet has, thus far, been so busy revolutionizing communication that the dust is no more than beginning to settle. When blogs came out, everybody had to have one. When Myspace came out, everybody had to have one. Ditto Twitter and Facebook, and Facebook was good enough at what it did to make the similar Myspace obsolete. It remains to be seen if Tumblr can do that for blogs. It had a short chance to woo me over from Blogger in the early days, but I've lost interest in it for now.

With the newness worn off, there's been a natural exodus from long-form blogging platforms. But the function of the blog is of value enough to keep some of us. It's kept me. I can't handle Twitter; it breaks up my concentration too much. I like Facebook only if people are being friendly and funny (down with political rants!) But I adore my blog as a means of expression, and a number of other people's as a form of interaction and thought exchange.

Perhaps a good analogy would be in the social framework of a rapidly growing town. At first there were a few houses, and people gathered most often in living rooms. Then they built a tavern, and everyone went there for a while, but the introverts couldn't hack the noise and rambunctiousness all the time and decided to leave their own comfortable firesides only on Saturday night. Then the town started hosting a county fair, and everybody went to the fair, but some rode all the rides and threw rings in all the prize booths and took bets on the demolition derby and then went to the tavern to talk it all over, and others ate a spool of cotton candy and looked at the horses and went back to their own living rooms with their close friends and kin.

I think I'm having too much fun with this. :P

All that to say--blogging is, for me, the best form of self-expression currently available on the internet. As long as it's that, I don't expect to leave it for the noisier, shorter-form platforms like Twitter and Facebook. And Tumblr's interactivity and flexibility are cool, but not cool enough to convince me to migrate over from my Blogger site, where I've presently got nine hundred and ninety-nine posts and a small but warm community of fairly regular commenters and friends.

Tim Richards said...

It's about social media. I still blog regularly (at my travel blog at http://www.aerohaveno.com/), but people are usually visiting it in response to by a tweet by me that points them to the latest post. Having read it, it's then much less effort for them to leave a comment via, say, Twitter than to go through the hassle of filling out fields and/or logging in to comment below my blog. With Twitter in particular, there's a great symbiotic relationships with blogs, which can express at length what 140 characters can't. It's just that times have changed and blogs no longer have the field to themselves.

Marilyn Peake said...

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.

5kidswdisabilities.com said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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.

Gianetta said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

I still read. And blog! One of the last, maybe?

Surfer Dawn said...

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 said...

Hello, Nathan.
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...
Cheers, Kelly

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

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 said...

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.

Best,
T



Meghan Ward said...

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 said...

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 said...

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.

Sydnee said...

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.

Sarah said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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.

Cathy said...

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.

Cynthia said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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.
~jon

pamala owldreamer said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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 said...

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. (?)

Lesley said...

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 said...

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 said...

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!

Mira said...

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.

Mira said...

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. :D

Roland D. Yeomans said...

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.

ChiTrader said...

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.

Chris

Kelly A Egan said...

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 said...

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 said...

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!

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