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Blogging ain't dead ... I have the numbers

There used to be a blog, back in the early days of my card blogging, called "Free Andy LaRoche".

It was a blog run by a Dodger fan, so I interacted with him regularly and we even traded at least once. His blog disappeared a long time ago, just like so many have. They've been gone so long that many of the current bloggers have never heard of them. "Treasure Never Buried," "Fielder's Choice," "Hey, That's Mine," "First and Goal," "BA Benny's Baseball Card Buffet". These are all card blogs that stopped running at least six, seven, nine years ago.

Do you think, I wonder, that the operators of these blogs go around, in whatever life they now live, declaring "I stopped blogging therefore blogging is dead"?

Probably not. I hope not.

But I've heard it. Many, many times. From past bloggers and current bloggers. In joking fashion. Sometimes in serious fashion. "Blogging is dead." I just heard it a couple of weeks ago. I've been hearing it for years, probably since even before Twitter started. "Nobody blogs anymore." "Who has the attention span for that kind of long-form prattling?"

But I know that's not true. I know it because I see new card blogs arriving constantly. There has never been a year since I have blogged that I haven't added a new blog about cards to the blog roll. Yes, blogs have disappeared and that always gets the most attention, when someone leaves. This happens in jobs, too. Two people leave for a new job at the same time and everyone freaks out. But they don't think about the people remaining, who quietly still enjoy what they do.

I've never had any proof that blogging is alive and well other than what I see. I never bothered to list how many people were blogging about cards each year for the last 10 years. I don't have any other blogs' reader numbers. All I have is what I know. People seem to be interacting on my blog as often as ever. I'm still trying to keep up with all the cards that people send me.

I just received a card package from Sportscards From The Dollar Store the other day. I swear Doug just sent me one. He sent the Andy LaRoche gold-letter parallel at the top of the post.

And he sent all these unlicensed goodies.

And a whole bunch of Sabres (that 2009-10 OPC set was really hockey cards' answer to "what would 1990 Topps baseball look like in hockey form?")

And a bunch of Bills.

And some future stars.

And, heck, even a few guys who share my birthday.

So that's the interaction that I still receive, people who know all the various items I like -- and remember my birthday -- and take the time to send them.

I don't know if I am receiving as many card packages as I did during the days when blogging was "hot". My guess is no, simply because I don't have the time to send out packages like I did back then. But that kind of interaction may not be a true measure of this blog's progress or lack thereof.

What about interaction on the blog? What do the numbers say?

Even this is sketchy. Probably the best measurement of the state of my blogging is the number of blog views each year. But we all know that this can be skewed by bots and other very random online hijinks.

I still want to go through my views since the start of this blog, but I decided to look at my comments instead. What has been the comment average for each year during the life of this blog?

This sounds like a very narcissistic exercise, and it is, but I'm trying to prove a point here, that blogging ain't dead.

So I went through the numbers, all the way back to 2008, and totaled them up post-by-post, month-by-month, year-by-year, and averaged them all.

Here are the results:


In 2008, the first year of Night Owl Cards, I averaged 3.36 comments per post. It was a new blog and I started in September, so there were just a few months to gain any kind of traction.


In the first full year of NOC, I started to gain a following and averaged 5.43 comments per post in 2009. This is still during "blogging's heyday," during the exciting, wild-west era of blogging.


2010 is still before Twitter really took off and I was averaging consistently close to 6 comments a post at 5.75.


We're in 2011 now and people are quitting blogs and flocking to Twitter ... or, more accurately, letting their blogs die on the vine and flocking to Twitter. NOC is averaging 6.11 comments a post.


I consider 2012 an important year in my life and in this blog. This was the year when I stopped staying up to date on every current product and remained true to what I liked and interested me about the hobby. NOC averaged 7.28 comments per post, a record.


In 2013, a slight dip. I rejoined Twitter in late 2012, perhaps I wasn't as committed to the blog. But I don't think it was a major thing. More and more new people were starting blogs and even while former bloggers continued to say "blogging is dead," I kept adding more blogs.


As the years went on, I cut down on the number of posts I made. I think that was a smart decision from a readership standpoint, just because who can keep up with two posts every single day (I still wonder how I did that)? I cut down some more in 2014 and the comments went up to 7.62/per.


Still climbing in 2015. But blogging is dead.


Yup, still climbing. Another high in 2016. But blogging is dead.


About the same in 2017 as in 2016. And still adding more blogs to my blog roll.

Then came 2018.

In 2018, I posted the least on NOC that I had since starting this blog. Just 253 posts. I must be finally seeing the light, right? Nobody's reading this stuff, right? Finally I saw what those other people saw back in 2010 and it's time to quit ...

The average comment per post in 2018:


Yup. Double figures.

Tell me blogging is dead now.

Here's the graph:

There may be outside reasons for that 11.75 average. I did hold two contests in 2018 because the blog hit a pair of big milestones that year. That will surely up the comment totals. But I think it's more than that.

I really did go through every single post that I've written and counted them all up (and I'm going to do the same thing for views). It took me a few weeks, but I have all the papers to prove it. I can tell you the comment average on NOC for every single month since the fall of 2008. I did this to prove a point. But I also did it because I still care.

I think if you still enjoy what you do and care about what you do, people will still pay attention and be interested even if it's not the cool thing to do anymore.

And, also there is this: there is a tendency for humans to talk down about something they're not a part of anymore.

I think that's actually what it is when I hear "Blogging is dead."

Blogging ain't dead. The former blogger's love for blogging is dead.


Marc said…
Great stats! Always enjoy what you write but may not often comment. Where's the like button?
steelehere said…
Interesting. This post almost felt like a breakdown I'd read on Fangraphs.
Andy L said…
I want to know what your WAR is?
Adam said…
With those Sabres cards included in this post, would those blog stats then be Sabre-metrics?
Fred Pike said…
Great post. I may not always comment, but I always read. Thanks.
Alan Deakins said…
-I really enjoy your blog...very informative and fun..I like the variety...looking forward to the best of the 80s
What is Twitter? Yes, I'm grinning. So, I guess when I started blogging (2013) it was dead. Okay, typing that made "Wanted... Dead or Alive" pop into my head. See what you do. Dang these dead blogs, they cause too much diversity. Read ya tomorrow hopefully.
Chris said…
It used to be odd seeing non-baseball cards on your blog, but I'm getting used to it. Card collections of players who share a blogger's birthday should be a Blog Bat Around topic. I'm going to make it one now...

Perhaps one reason why your comment count has increased over time is that you keep posting fresh and interesting content - maybe not as frequently as you used to but still a lot more than most of us. Trends come and go but Night Owl Cards has remained, and those of us who are blogging now are in it for the long haul. Or at least we're more likely to leave a decent comment.
bbcardz said…
I love how you segue from retired blogs to card acquisitions to the blog stats, all while staying on topic. This is why I love reading NOC. You're candid and you care. You have such a way with words. And yes, I'm envious. Gotta love it when you're trending upward.
Nick said…
One reason I love -- and will always love -- blogging is precisely because it's a long-form exercise in a world trending heavily in the opposite direction. The satisfaction I get out of writing a post is exponentially greater than anything I've ever churned out on Twitter. This is why it's so refreshing to see veterans like you and newer "rookies" of the blogosphere all mashed together in my blogroll every day -- we all share a love for something so few other people seem to get.
Old Cards said…
I enjoy your blog and check it frequently, but don't always comment. I prefer your posts on 50s, 60s and 70s baseball cards as opposed to the post-80s card craze, current products and other sports cards.
G J Brewer said…
Feeling kind of average coming in at number 12. I don't comment often but definitely read and enjoy your blog. I still tinker with my cards and it has been fun to see my kids enjoying them now too. Keep up the good work!
Unknown said…
I've been reading NOC for several years, and commenting for the past year or two, and I'm happy to say this blog is very much alive and well.

I read every post and I'm in awe of how you take a topic that might at first seem mundane and write a piece that's often nostalgic but always insightful, creative and informative. I learn something from every post.

(Tonight I learned I need to pick up some 2018 Panini Classics FB. I'm mostly into baseball, but I occasionally dabble in vintage football. Except for the visible helmet logo, that Ron Yary looks like it could have been pulled from pack in the late 70s.)
I've been reading NOC for several years, and commenting for the past year or two, and I'm happy to say this blog is very much alive and well.

I read every post and I'm in awe of how you take a topic that might at first seem mundane and write a piece that's often nostalgic but always insightful, creative and informative. I learn something from every post.

(Tonight I learned I need to pick up some 2018 Panini Classics FB. I'm mostly into baseball, but I occasionally dabble in vintage football. Except for the visible helmet logo, that Ron Yary looks like it could have been pulled from pack in the late 70s.)
Sorry for the double post. I forgot I wasn't logged in for the first one.

Honestly, I wasn't trying to inflate your 2019 numbers!
Fuji said…
Damn. You averaged double digit comments on your posts in 2018? That's awesome Mr. Owl! I personally go in spurts where I read and don't read peoples' posts. It just depends on how busy my schedule is. That being said... I'm probably average reading 30 different blog posts a day. I'd say that card blogging is alive and kicking!
P-town Tom said…
This high school math teacher approves of your calculation methods and is pleased to see a line graph. Happy blogging in 2019!
Mark Hoyle said…
I think the fewer posts may have helped your averages in some way. Twitter May have even helped. I know you promote your new blog posts over there.
Johngy said…
Great blog. I agree totally that blogging isn't dead, although as a blogger, I am biased. Still, my numbers back it up, too. Last year, I had more views (200,000ish) than ever. I don't get a lot of comments, but the views are increasing.
Matt said…
Comment #20! You heard it hear first - Your 2019 comment average is going to be higher still!
Nachos Grande said…
I love all the math in this post. My comment numbers are probably around a 1 or 1.5 average but that's probably because I'm no where near as good of a writer as you are. Numbers, however, I can handle! I don't think blogging is dead either - and I've been doing my blog since 2008. I do think that card trading on the blogs is wayyyy down even if readership seems to be holding steady for the most part.
gregory said…
The effort you put into posts like this is just one reason why I enjoy Night Owl Cards so much. Keep it up!
Boosting the average
GCA said…
Twice a day?? Wow, I struggle to put up three times a week. We bow before the Blogger God again...

I probably average 3 or 4 comments per post. I figure my 50 view average is only that high because I'm on your blogroll and a few others.

There will always be those (younger) people who decide that something is "so ten minutes ago" and can't maintain the attention span needed to absorb this format. I've never been anywhere where the "cool kids" are for long. Let me know when Twitter numbers start to decline and I can finally forget about someday joining up.
Averaging double digit comments proves your point completely. Blogging sure isn't dead. Like anything else, people are bound to leave and join.
Baltmoss68 said…
I enjoy your posts You are obviously a talented writer and hold readers’ attention well. Your hobby perspectives are appreciated.
defgav said…
I think your 2018 comment numbers might be skewed high due to Bill White telling you to stick to vintage on nearly every post. lol

But yeah, recently there were some awards organized a card podcast or something and for the "best card blog" category, people voting were like, "um, I can only think of one or two." So sure, the headline for them is that blogging is dead. But of course bloggers like us can named dozens of blogs off the top of our heads.. but card-related podcasts and youtubers? I could maybe name one or two. But I'm not going to go around saying card-related podcasting and youtubing is dead. I'm sure there are a bunch out there and they've got their fans. It's just not my particular part of the scene.
The Dimwit said…
Agreed, it's not dead. In fact, there some of us who are coming back to it after a break... haha
acrackedbat said…
no funeral yet for me. I've posted three times this month! You were my first blog. I remember sitting it the big jury holding room in Dallas, waiting to find out if I would escape without serving. Just getting back into collection in 2012, I did a search for who knows what cards, and your blog was the first link. And here we are, still together!

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