Roughly a month ago, I posted “but still they post…” with the first line “…but perhaps not very often.”
(At the time, the post title was my working title for the book that will may emerge from the 2007-2009 liblog analysis project I’m working on, or, rather, will go back to working on after I write an essay for the December Cites & Insights. I’ve since changed it to “But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009,” since “blog” is probably a better verb for the overall process.)
That post included a challenge of sorts:
- I subscribe to 499500 501 blog feeds, of which 461462 463 are liblogs (defined broadly, including some open access and museum blogs) Note 9/21: In the process of completing the scan, I added one liblog–but it won’t change the overall frequency significantly, I don’t believe. Note 9/24: One more liblog added, but only 10 posts over 3 months, so no big deal.
- Of the “firehose” blogs, I subscribe to Open Access News but not ResourceShelf or Slaw or, as far as I know, any of the other megablogs–and my 38 “other” blogs don’t include any of the high-frequency magazine-blogs/newsletter-blogs like boingboing, Huffington or whatever. (Well, I do subscribe to Whatever, John Scalzi’s blog, but that’s not a high-frequency blog.)
Then, for the period from September 16 through (say) October 15, what will be the average number of new posts per day?
I could barely cope with the overwhelming flood of guesses–one from Steve Lawson, left as a comment, guesstimating “98,” and another one that I’ve managed to misplace, which I believe was considerably higher (sorry: I can’t find it in Gmail or FriendFeed, but I’m not very good at searching FriendFeed).
It’s been a month, so…
The envelope, please
At the end of the one-month period, I subscribe to 500 blogs, having added a couple and deleted a couple. (If I added one, I subtracted 9 from that day’s count, since Bloglines returns the most recent 10 posts on a new subscription.)
Over the course of the month, the average number of posts per day was 77.2, and the median was 78, so “about 78” is a good number–and “98” is pretty close.
That means that, on average, blogs had one post every six days. That’s a little off, to be sure, since I do subscribe to one of several very prolific blogs (Open Access News); I think “about once a week” is about right.
Since I sometimes checked Bloglines twice each day, I can’t really provide numbers for the number of blogs represented in those posts (since a blog might have posts in both checks), but looking at the highest number of blogs each day, the average is 40.8 and the median is 41. (If I do add both checks together, I come up with an average of 50.7 and a median of 50–so you could say that, on the average day, either one-tenth or one-twelfth of blogs had posts.) Hmm. Based on that, you could say the typical blog had one post every week and a half…
Some other numbers:
- The highest number of posts in one day was 200, but I think that may have been one of two or three occasions where Bloglines did its “you didn’t really read these, did you?” renewal of some posts.
- The highest firm number of blogs in one day was 75–but it might be as high as 105.
- Four days had at least 100 posts. 13 had fewer than 70–including five with fewer than 50 (not all of them weekends or holidays).
Update October 17: Coincidentally, I was reading the May 2008 Cites & Insights (I deliberately read the printed issues a long time after they appear), which included a similar “how many posts?” trial done in March 2008–but then, the universe was larger (542 blogs) and included all of the super-prolific current awareness services.
That said, the daily average was a lot higher–around 250 posts per day, or 221 after deleting three of the most prolific blogs, with an average of 60 to 150 blogs updated each day.
Has posting actually declined by 2/3 since 2008? I don’t believe so–and certainly not overall (where the decline from 2008 to 2009 is 15%-20%). There are a lot of very prolific blogs I no longer subscribe to, for various reasons. Looking at the dozen most prolific blogs in the current study (not always the same 12), they accounted for 62 posts per day in 2007, 59 per day in 2008–and 65 per day in 2009!
These results do argue for doing something I’ve been considering: A chapter in the book that trims out a variety of “edge cases” (and blogs with incomplete metrics) and looks at trends within what might be considered the most normal liblogs.