The long and short of blogs (But Still They Blog, 4)

Last year, it seemed reasonable to suppose that, on the whole, liblogs would have fewer posts but longer posts, as Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook and others replaced many of the uses for very short posts.

If anything, that’s even more true in 2009, even as a number of bloggers simply stopped blogging. One new liblog is an extreme case: In the Library with the Lead Pipe, a group blog that’s essentially an essay magazine done in blog form, with each (reviewed and edited) entry the length of a typical magazine or journal article.

While more of the remaining libloggers seem likely to write essays rather than quick posts, there are still blogs for which the single sentence or two is the norm, including link blogs and some others.

In Case It’s Not Obvious…

This post is about Chapter 4 of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009, now available at the special introductory price of $29.50 paperback, $20 PDF.

This 319-page trade paperback provides a sweeping look at liblogs (blogs created by library people but, generally, not blogs that are official library publications), with trends, facts, figures, graphs, and profiles for each of 521 liblogs. It continues the most comprehensive detailed look at liblogs (or any category of blogs) that I know of, showing measurable characteristics and how they’re changing over the years.

The Long and Short of Blogs

Chapter 4 begins with metrics on overall blog length and how they’ve changed. The longest blogs seem to get longer every year: While March-May 2007 tops out at 186,467 words, March-May 2008 jumps past the 200K mark (204,517 words) and March-May 2009 finds one blog all the way up to 238,351…noting that it wasn’t feasible to measure total length of some blogs. At the same time, the median length declined each year–from 6,216 words in 2007 to 5,536 in 2008 and 3,621 in 2009.

More interesting, however, is post length, even if it’s only practical to measure average post length. (It would be interesting to measure length distribution within each blog, but also incredibly time-consuming…) Most of this very long chapter is devoted to discussions and tables relating to average words per post and how post length in blogs has changed over the years–and to the largest set of blog profiles in the book, partly because terse blogs (those averaging less than 100 words per post) are profiled along with the essayists.

Profiles of Longest Blogs, Essayists and Terse Blogs and Longer Posts

These blogs have profiles in Chapter 4 because they fall into one of those four categories and weren’t already profiled in Chapters 1-3.

4 Responses to “The long and short of blogs (But Still They Blog, 4)”

  1. Mark Says:

    Thinking I ought stop reading these posts since my book should be printing/shipping about now.

    Thanks for doing this work, Walt.

  2. walt Says:

    Well, some of the posts have little nuggets that aren’t in the book–but you can definitely skip the article in the January 2010 Cites & Insights that combines these posts (minus the profile lists, of course). That one will be wholly repetitious. If I could ever figure out the Venn diagram of blog readers and C&I readers…I’m pretty sure it’s overlapping circles, not one circle contained within the other.

  3. Mark Says:

    As to the nuggets, I know. I was just teasing you, Walt.

  4. walt Says:

    By the way, you’re welcome for the Thanks. I did my best not to do the work, but curiosity does matter, and that’s probably a good thing.

    Whew. Just finished preparing the rest of the posts, which will appear between now and next Tuesday. Let’s see: Given my target of two posts a week, this covers me for the next six weeks, if I’m feeling unusually lazy.


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