Thursday, April 15, 2010

Are blogs beginning to lose their readership to communities such as Facebook?

I remember when personal blogs were read by a large number of people and many comments made to posts. I admit to not reading other blog posts the way I used to , just as readership of mine has dropped to about half of what it was not long after I first started. Maybe the blog, with the exception of those 'star' blogs that everyone reads, is going the way of the website now. I started with a website and still have it . I know people read it . My web-tracker shows more visitors there than to my blog, but no-one except spammers has signed the guest book in years. I'm thinking about removing the guest book. I mainly use the website as a place I enjoy playing with and storing the last version of poems I've written or haiga I've created. There's no interaction on a website which I know I've come to like and enjoy.

With as many problems as facebook has, if you stay away from all the applications and have it work for you, it's a good site to use. I can post poetry there without the search engines picking it up, like on blogger, making it ineligible for publication in many journals (and I don't post poems even there if I'm going to submit to a journal that's very strict about that rule). I can message people without giving out my email to a lot of people, connect with new poets, get announcements when a journal is taking new submissions and, just recently, a group was started about my old hometown of 2500 people. That group has been a real bonus. I've reconnected to people who were friends but no longer live there, some who do, and met people related to people I was close to. I feel like my hometown had been lost when my parents died but has been returned to me, even if only on the internet. Some of these connections have led to phone calls and a lot of catching up. So special.

So what about this blog? Do I keep on pounding out notes when I see my visitors now are more often coming from a google search that won't interest them in my blog or do I let it slide and post once a month?

I just don't know. My energy is limited by ME/CFS, so I'm trying to choose wisely.

20 comments:

Nancy Devine said...

for a while i wondered if blogs were on the way out....maybe there are. but i keep reading them and i keep finding more that i want to read. for me, my blog is a kind of hub online for what i do, both as a teacher and writer. (i don't have a website and probably won't for a while)
i do like facebook and twitter; both have been great ways for me to connect with teachers and writers. but i do have a soft spot in my heart for blogs.

William Michaelian said...

I think the trick is to simply let them all work together. I don’t see them as separate entities; rather they are like branches that are part of the same online tree. What counts, I think, is that you write and communicate with care. And never underestimate the value of random searches and connections; I know from experience that wonderful things happen because of them.

I also have thoughts regarding “previous publication.” In this day and age, especially, I think that notion is out-moded. My own feeling is that if something is worth publishing and sharing, it shouldn’t matter if it’s been published before somewhere else or in some other form. The piece should be celebrated. And there are editors out there who also feel that way.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Nothing we do is set in stone, and we’re all along for the ride.

Toni said...

My unscientific survey tells me that many people are posting on Facebook instead of writing blog posts, Pris. There's a woman in my community who started the most wonderful blog about six months ago. She has four young children and turns out to be a skilled writer. She would post once or twice a week on her life and her adventures as a parent. She was one of those people whose writing draws you in, whatever the subject.

Well, she hasn't posted since December. But everyday she posts two or three times on Facebook -- some very well-crafted, short, pithy comment on her life.

I know that's just one example, but I can think of two more. I miss her blog, that's for sure.

Pris said...

I know that I tend to post things here that are more personal comments than I put on facebook. I have fun with the blog, so yes, using each for different reasons is probably the way it'll go. I see so many bloggers I enjoyed reading who've stopped, too, though.

William, many journals don't care if something has been posted online before and if I'm submitting to those I post. Two journals I really like DO care, so I hold poems I want to submit to them back until I've either been accepted or rejected. As I said, the engines don't scan a private profile on facebook. And yes, since they do on blogger I find a wider readership. I just post what I don't mind the world at large reading.

Thanks all of you for responding.

Ellen M Johns said...

I find the good old blog wins my heart every time. It is so much more personal than the ''in'' networking sites.

I admit to getting lost amongst the ''apps'' on Facebook etc, but at the end of the day,in my opinion, a blog is a lot more satisfying to read and a lot less distracting.

mister jim said...

It's the purposes...

blogs are like a publication:
more one-way, a "showcase"
(outside of the pop. ones you
mention...yes). People enjoy
them but the blog-owner isn't
like to receive the return
currency of comments. I used to
think that way resentment, but I
think now that it's mostly a feeling
of self-consciousness and exposure.

Now...facebook is mainly about
socialization. Notice how the
groups rise and fall, like so
many dieing forums, and yet the
comments, messages, and asides
are far more busily traded than
at a blog. The 'shade' of partial
privacy makes all that less risky.
There are so many blog comments
I wish I didn't make, but the
facebook chatter comes and goes
without such permanent spectacle.

Great to talk about all this!
I've been trying to fathom the
online and offline population
for a few days now. I am seeing
large numbers of poets who appear
in jornals, but don't have a site
and don't have a facebook presence
either.

If a public audience for actual
poetry is the goal, I can't see
either facebook or blogs working
that well. Recent dramatic
readings at a local hoot have made
me wonder whether some youtube-like
performance venue would be useful.
A set number of occupants in each
"house", with a 'block party'
linksite. I want something to
simplify...both blog searches
and facebook clutter leave me
dazed. Notice how twitter sort
of came and went in po...things
are still unsettled.

Whatever we think right now, it's
good not to stop thinking...!

cinderkeys said...

Facebook is more for thoughts of the moment. I would rather read and write longer, more reflective posts on blogs.

Pris said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Yes, blogs and facebook are two different animals. I doubt we would be having this discussion on facebook (though it's possible). Jim, I like your youtube idea. I have trouble with the proliferation on very long online radio readings which, with my hearing loss are impossible, anyway. A single or double poem video reading listed possibly to youtube with the links offered more suits my interest, especially if posted with the poem. Not just because of the hearing...I honestly don't think anyone can get all of the words on an online reading...but also because I can see how the poet laid out the poem.

mister jim said...

Just sort of brainstorming..there are more radical approaches to the clutter issue..
For example: let's say there is already a list of poets' links that have showcase poetry. The adage "poetry is personal" leads to a 'matchmaking service', where the visitor puts in factors and poets are listed by matching strength. Things like "vehemence", "alliteration", scene-based", "story-based", "pathos", "sensual", "surreal", "plain-faced narrative", "high eloquence", "the unexpected", "phrase-coining", "sound play", etc...

I analyze journals and contests
this way, to avoid broad 'typing'.
They keep saying "read us before you
submit". OK: that, and then some.
I am 'matchmaking' when I do the
first pass on a flock of poems.
After that, it switches the other
way, to original quirks. In their
ballpark, but not so easy to catch.
Lenny Bruce talked about the inherent pardox of the "virgin whore", as it were. Performance art, a relationship?
Amazon tries to suggest movies, suss out your wants..
Maybe something like that.

This would be great chat in a forum, but forums (and groups) are short-lived creatures. People get 'said out' soon.

Anyway...just stirring the pot, lol.

Pris said...

You stir the pot well:-)

Lyle Daggett said...

I started the blog to do public things with it. The more limited searchability of Facebook is one of the reasons why I've mostly avoided Facebook. I do have a Facebook account, mainly so I can visit the Facebook pages of a few friends (actual friends, as distinguished from FB "friends").

I've also noticed how a lot of bloggers have stopped posting in their blogs (or are doing so much less), and I know of some specifically who now spend much more time in Facebook.

It's seemed to me sometimes that comments have become a little less frequent on my blog, although the number of comments was never huge (I think the most I ever had on a single post was nine, and I think that included at least one reply I posted myself.)

I don't have a hit counter in my blog so I have no idea how many visitors I get, though I hear from people now and then (through e-mail or other means) about things they've read there. I've actually gotten back in touch with a couple of acquaintances from the past through the blog.

In the end I think people will seek what interests them. For some people, their interests may change frequently, and so they may try the latest new gadget for a year or six months and then move on. Others seem to be more interested in digging in for a longer haul. In general, in my life, I've tended toward that approach.

The high-speed constant mutation of the computer world does, in a way, encourage a kind of transient and ephemeral quality to whatever is transmitted through it. Click a button and a world disappears. In turn, thought and perception begin to change in quality, to form-fit more closely to the constantly morphing character of the internet and its offspring: affecting capacity for patience, attention span, facility with making non-linear connections, and who knows what else. McLuhan's old "the medium is the message" notion.

15 years ago or so (less than a blink in the history of the earth), when I would have conversations with people who were serious deep-divers in the burgeoning internet and other high-tech scenes, I liked pointing out occasionally that there are large amounts of data stored electronically on hardware and software that has already become obsolete or has simply worn out and no longer works; while, on the other hand, the epic of Gilgamesh still survives (albeit in fragments) on ancient clay tablets.

Just saying.

Lyle Daggett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mister jim said...

Cool. Please "just say"! (I say)
It's good to put it all
in perspective, any perspective
at all. A lot of this angsting
is because we simply don't know
how most of it will play out.
As a 'virtual bookshelf item',
there are definitely hurdles.

Will there ever be another
Gilgamesh? If there is, what will
it look like? Surely, not some kid
doing mock light saber play with
a broom on youtube
(hehe...I hope)

Pris said...

You're right, Lyle, that people will seek what they want and facebook really IS another type of reality. It's as I said earlier about my own blog. I put things here that I would never put on facebook since some posts take more time than the average facebook user wants to spend.

About those stone tablets....I ran across a few letters a penpal wrote me in sixth grade. I treasure those. I don't print out my email to save so no longer soon will we have letters anywhere in the handwriting of the person sending.

Jim, more good thoughts...and I hope no saber play, too:-)

Laurel said...

I tend to use FB to connect with old friends, and not for posting all my ME/CFS comments and writings. Most of my FB friends don't have ME/CFS, and I don't want to annoy them with too many posts about my illness. I figure if they are interested, they will visit my blog. :) I know many people use it for both, though. I hope blogs are not on the way out, as I just started mine about a year ago, and it's been such an enjoyable experience.

Pris said...

Hi Laurel, I use it for connections, too...friends..poets..and now a group based on people from my old hometown of 2500. I'll add a link about ME/CFS there but don't write about it as I do when I'm having a really tough time here on my blog. I think a blog works better for more personal posts.

Anna G Raman said...

Hi Pris,
I do read blogs, actually mostly only blog posts. Facebook is so cluttered now. I can easily read comments on my own posts there but its hard to find something interesting unless I'm tagged. That way, I'll have an email or it will show up on my profile page. I'm not a big fan of facebook. I spend 5% of my time on it now that I haven't yet set up my computer after moving and don't plan to even after I do. I like blogs, they're simpler, and easier to find interesting reads.

Pris said...

Hi Anna,
I spend time on both, but both are limited due to my energy/cognitive issues. MySpace was the biggie for a while. Everybody left for the same reason people are beginning to complain about Facebook. It gets larger and larger, with too many demands on your time.

Collin Kelley said...

Sorry I'm late to this post. I wrote about the defection from blogs to Facebook/Twitter several months ago. I think the idea of letting them work together is a great idea, but I know for a fact that I have more followers and readers at Facebook than I do now on my blog. About this time last year, I averaged between 1,000 and 2,000 visits to my blog each week. Now it's 500 to 600.

Pris said...

Hi Collin, if you have a direct link to that post I'd love to read what you said. Yes, two different animals for two different purposes. I get waay more response on facebook to a post, too, and my numbers of visitors to my blog have dropped, as well. Never big like yours.