Saturday, January 05, 2013

Blogs seem to lose readership to social media


I have indeed noticed a changing trend in how people get their news online.  My “observation” is motivated by somewhat dropping volumes in page requests on my blogs and sites in recent months.

It is a little hard to gauge readership volume, because there are different metrics, some of which don’t count all the views.  Also, in a blog, many page requests show many posts at a time, and these don’t count in the page requests per post. 

My largest volumes probably occurred in late 2008, during the Financial Collapse and also during Obama’s first term election.  On my associated site, “doaskdotell.com”, the largest volumes probably occurred around 2006 (much of the material had been migrated from my earlier site, “hppub.com”, in the summer of 2005.)
A drop in volume on my flat sites can be explained by the fact that I have done relatively little work on them since late 2007. Most of the work since then has gone into the blogs.

There is another factor at work, though.  It’s social media.  People get a lot of news from Facebook and Twitter, compared to email (including listserves) and conventional web surfing, as in the past.  I have noticed fewer comments (and fortunately less spam), and fewer followers on the blogs, even as there are more friends on Facebook and “followers” on Twitter.  Instead of comments on a blog, there are rolling comments on Facebook or a “conversation” on Twitter.

And it’s true that the “friends list” is most likely to see even public social media content.  But with Facebook something interesting happens.  The “Timeline” is really very effective.  A lot of what is on it comes not just from Friends but also from Favorites (from “Likeonomics”), but the end result is that a substantial portion of the news that matters the most to me does show up on Timeline.  And a substantial piece also appears on Twitter.

One way to increase the volume of the “microblogs” on Twitter is to feed them to Facbeook, as well as to feed them to your own site (which I now do on doaskdotell.com, at the bottom of the home page.

The other networks don’t seem as important to me.  I haven’t tried Tumblr, and never did much with Myspace.  I do recall that Ashton Kutcher has a great blog on his Myspace page about six years ago, but I don’t look at Myspace any more now.  Artists, entertainers, and drag queens and DJ’s all moved to Facebook from Myspace.
  
Given the enormous volume of accumulated blog postings, I am starting to work on a more precise way to drill down to the content that is the most important to readers, based on my statistics.  Some of the hottest topics have included filial responsibility laws, SOPA, copyright trolling, Section 230/DMCA, and particularly online reputation “extortion”.  

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