Wednesday, January 9, 2019
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.