}

Monday, November 06, 2017

Trendy and not

Like everything else in the “media landscape”, blogging is changing. There’s not much in-depth research on blogging, but Orbit Media Studios has been conducting an annual survey of bloggers since 2014, which provides interesting data on trends in blogging. Because of their survey for 2017, I learned that it’s possible to be trendy and not, and at the very same time.

I found out about the survey from Roger Green, and my first reaction was to joke about it. “Oh great,” I said, “even MORE to feel inadequate and insecure about!” I mentioned some of the report's key findings, specifically:

  • The average blog post takes 3 hours and 20 minutes to write.
  • In 2017, bloggers spent 39% more time on a typical blog post than in 2014
  • Three years ago, 1 in 20 bloggers spent 6+ hours on a typical blog post. Today that number is 1 in 8.

The reason I found that funny is that, on average, I spend nowhere near that long on a blog post. In fact, the posts I spend the most time on I almost never publish. That’s because it’ll be a topic I can’t find the right words to talk about, or maybe it’s “controversial” and I don’t feel comfortable publishing anything about it (this happens surprisingly often), and sometimes the post is just too negative (and I’ve actually blogged a couple times about not blogging for that reason). Also, if I work on a post and get bored with it, I take that as a good sign a reader would, too.

However, when it comes to frequency of publishing blog posts (see the chart up top), I seem to be right “on trend” (a phrase I hate, by the way). The relevant key findings:

  • Publishing frequency for individual bloggers is down. The most common answer is “several per month.” Two years ago it was “2-6 times per week.”
  • Daily and monthly are unusual. Most bloggers are somewhere in between.
  • Consistency remains steady! Around 85% of bloggers publish regularly.

I still at least attempt to blog daily (jury’s still out on whether I’ll succeed this year…), though that’s an average of one post per day, not necessarily literally that often (sometimes, like lately, it’s more than once per day). Be that as it may, I could easily publish “2-6 times per week” (and have this year), but that's matched by only 18% of surveyed bloggers. Most frequent was “several per month” at 22.7% and “weekly” at 21.9%. Daily was a mere 2.6%.

The thing is, those of us who blog for personal rather than commercial reasons always have to balance the time and effort we put into blogging with the demands of our lives. What we can do (including how often we publish and how long a blog post is) is directly affected by what’s going on in our lives, as I’ve certainly demonstrated this year. That’s just reality. Predictability in the length of posts and their frequency probably requires a commercial model of some sort, but that would change everything, I think.

So, I spend way less time on each post than is the average, but, despite everything, I still post much more frequently than is the average. That’s how I can be both trendy and not, and at the very same time. I wonder if I can claim that as a special talent?

At the very least, it turns out I’m not quite the blogging slacker I thought I was. That’s nice to know.

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