Three blogging-related items:
The numbers: This morning’s San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting numbers sidebar in an article on Matt Mullenweg of Automattic (the WordPress people):
175,000: Blogs created daily
113 million: Number of blogs
7.5 million: Active blogs
184 million: Bloggers
570,000: Posts every 24 hours
It’s the second and third numbers that I find most interesting–that more than 93% of blogs are dead or dormant. As I told my wife, “I would have thought it was only about 85%.” (I don’t know how “active” is defined, of course.)
Although, now that I look at it, that fourth number is a little mysterious. Given all the bloggers with more than one blog, how is it that there are 71 million more bloggers than blogs–or, more to the point, 24.5 times as many people who call themselves bloggers as there are active blogs?
The printouts: As some of you know, I find it useful–indeed, necessary–to print out quite a few posts, either because I’ll want to use them later in PALINET Leadership Network articles or, more likely, because I want to categorize them, save them for a few months (or more), and use them as source material for Cites & Insights articles. (I don’t believe any online tagging system would meet my needs here; I need to be able to shuffle and sort the actual pages.)
Three problems with that:
- A fair number of blogs, especially SixApart blogs (TypePad, Movable Type), won’t allow me to print out more than a one-page post from Firefox–they use “clever” code that only works right (or not?) in IE. (Actually, there are a few that won’t work in either–where cut-and-paste is the only way to print them.)
- Long posts–the kind I’m most likely to save–use a fair amount of paper and ink jet ink.
- It takes a while to print articles, especially if I’m trying to save paper by duplex printing: My neat little Canon multifunction printer supports duplex printing, but it takes about four or five times as long as simplex printing. (The printer waits for one side to dry before printing the other side.)
The last time I was sorting-and-shuffling, I noticed something: I no longer mark up the printouts with sections to be used. I put them in the order I’m going to use them, but I go back to the originals to cut-and-paste the sections I want to comment on.
Aha! A solution (although it has one small problem): I only print the first page of a post or article (or, for some clever WordPress users who’ve managed to make it so that all their sidebars print BEFORE the post itself, the first page of the post). Fast, minimizes paper and ink use, most blogs will print the first page of a post in FireFox.
What’s the one little problem? If a blog or article disappears between the time I print the first page and the time I want to use it, I’m SOL (unless I find a cached copy or only want stuff from the first page). Fortunately, the blogs I’m inclined to quote from are usually fairly stable.
Not the concept. I understand that Twitter works great (when it’s working) for loads of people and purposes.
The term bothers me, though. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.
Most blog posts I read these days are little essays: One or more paragraphs on one or more topics, sometimes (not always) with links, usually (not always) fairly informal, usually (not always) coherent and with a brief narrative arc.
I don’t think you can do an essay in 160 characters or less, and I don’t think that’s what Twitter and its ilk are used for.
“Microcontent”? Sure, since “content” is almost as meaningless as “information.” “I’ll be at the corner of 5th and Elm in 10 minutes” is microcontent–but I don’t think it has much to do with blogging.
I’ve seen some suggestions that Twitter and its ilk are resulting in fewer really tiny or trivial blog posts. That might be true, and if it is, that’s fine. (I love good trivial blog posts–don’t get me wrong–but I’m not fond of “here’s what I’m doing right now.” Nor do I remember seeing much of that before Twitter was popular, at least in liblogs.)
Of course, it’s natural to try to combine different things under a common heading. I still remember the time when a number of people insisted that Cites & Insights was a blog, which was stretching a point a whole lot more than “microblogging” does.
There are many different ways to communicate. Always have been. Is Twitter “broadcast chat”? I think that’s closer than “microblogging.” Or am I, as usual, just hung up on language?