I seem to remember reading a post from a liblogger suggesting that, in general, libloggers were posting less now than in the past–and, if I remember correctly, suggesting that I might have actual numbers. (Sorry, lost track of the post where this was mentioned.)
Well, I do and I don’t–and the situation’s a little complicated.
In the immediate sense, it’s almost certainly true that libloggers (that is, library people who blog) are posting less now–because it’s summer, a whole bunch of people have announced they’re taking the summer off from blogging, people are on vacation more…
In a broader sense? Yes, I have the same naive sense–and eventually I should have reasonably good evidence, probably with a whole bunch of ancillary suggestions. (Yes, I’m the midst of One Project. More on that soon, either here or in C&I.)
So far, I can look at “200″ liblogs (well, actually 197, but who’s counting?), of which 154 had posts both in March-May 2007 and March-May 2008. (Some of the others began between June and December 2007, my cutoff; some shut down before March 2008; some simply didn’t have any posts during one quarter or the other.)
BUT–and it’s a big caveat–I have no reason at all to believe those 197 liblogs are representative of the “visible English-language liblog universe,” even as I define it (which contains somewhere around 580 liblogs in all). They might be; they might not. What they have in common is that the sortable blog names (that is, shorn of initial articles and odd punctuation) begin with A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H–and the first four of 40-odd ones beginning with I.
So these numbers may mean nothing at all, but here they are:
- 42 of the 154 (27%) had significantly more posts in 2008 than in 2007–I’m defining “significantly” as at least 10% more. Of those, 31 (20%) had at least 25% more posts.
- 14–that is, 9%–stayed roughly the same, with from 10% fewer to 10% more posts in 2008.
- 98 of the 154 (64%) had significantly fewer posts in 2008 than in 2007, including 51 (one-third) with fewer than half as many posts. There’s your big figure: More libloggers posted less than half as often in 2008 than posted significantly more often.
- Overall, there were 23% fewer posts among these blogs.
There are all sorts of correlations you could do (are the posts longer, for example), and I plan to do some of those. I did one quick one, because I also had a naive sense about this: That, in general, people might be commenting more on each post.
Just looking at cases where there were significant changes in comments per post (again using +10% or -10% as the boundaries for significance):
- 58 of the 154 (38%) had at least 10% more comments per post, and in all casea had at least 20% more comments per post. Of those, 49 (32%) hat at least 50% more comments per post.
- 48 of the 154 (31%) had at least 10% fewer comments per post–but only 18 (12%) had fewer than half as many comments per post. (The rest? Some had no real changes; some don’t allow comments; some simply didn’t have any comments in 2007–in which case percentages couldn’t be calculated.)
- So: More liblogs had at least 50% more comments per post in 2008 than had any significant decline in comments per post. For this subgroup, it appears to be true that people are commenting more on each post.
That’s enough numbers for now, particularly given that huge caveat. Would the umpty-zillion liblogs beginning with “L” show sharply different characteristics? Time will tell…or not, because that’s sort of a silly subanalysis once the metrics are complete.
["Umpty-zillion" is a term useful in NSWAG work--that is, non-scientific wild-ass guessing. I think the actual number for this universe is somewhere betweeen 80 and 120. Isn't it odd that so many liblogs start with "l"--and mostly with "lib"! Imagine that.]
In other news, for anyone who’s read this far: Yahoo! is giving another object lesson in Why You Don’t Own DRM-Heavy Purchases–You’re Just Renting Them (under terms you don’t control).
That’s right–the protected music you purchased from Yahoo! will soon lose its transferability, unless you evade the DRM by burning the tracks to CD as CD Audio, then reripping. And, of course, if you rerip in any lossy format, the results will probably be worse than the originals, since taking music through multiple lossy compression/expansion cycles works even worse than it does with photos.
Microsoft was ready to do the same thing, but after uproar they’ve decided to support the servers for at least a few more years.
Admittedly, we’re dealing with tiny obscure little companies here. Presumably you feel safe that a giant like Apple would never, ever shut down a service, so you’re safe with your DRM tracks from iTunes…
No, I’m not directly affected: I’ve never purchased downloadable audio of any sort, and if I do, it will be DRM-free. I may be indirectly affected, though: I used and loved MusicMatch Jukebox Pro to manage my all-ripped-from-my-CDs music collection (it had great label-printing and CD insert-printing facilities and, in the Pro version, solid ripping and burning capabilities). Yahoo bought the company and shut down MusicMatch Jukebox. The transfer to Yahoo Jukebox eventually worked fairly well…but I’m wondering whether there is any long-term future for that program and whether my software will eventually come up short. Note that this was Pro: I paid for the software. (Comments on the desirability of switching to iTunes will be cheerfully ignored.)
Remember: DRM protects the publisher‘s “rights,” not yours–Digital Restrictions Management continues to be a better expansion of the term. (Yes, sigh, I do buy media with DRM…but they’re physical media–DVDs–so there are slightly fewer issues. And I don’t much care for it even there.)