Friday, October 1, 2010

State of the Blog, Q3 2010

It's time for quarterly navel-gazing again.  The above shows the monthly visits since I started the blog last November (pretty soon I'm going to have to start a spreadsheet before the early data rolls out of view).

The obvious thing about the last quarter is that readership has now plateaued at around 16k per month.  Probably there's a bit of seasonality going on - just as every blog's readership generally goes down on the weekend, I imagine there's a tendency to go down a bit in the summer too when a certain fraction of folks are always away.  Still, I expect it's mostly a real effect.  It feels to me like I've been a little distracted by moving and house-hunting and that's probably taken a toll.

I would also expect that, after a while, readership will probably rise somewhat further, if more slowly.

I'm not unhappy or unmotivated by the current level of readership.  Indeed, I am noticeably happier since I've been blogging than when I wasn't.  A feature of the blog that I didn't really expect, but perhaps should have, is that it's driven a good deal of personal evolution in how I live my own life - I think it was an essential catalyst for my reaching the decision to leave the Bay Area, for example.  And I feel good that it's basically led me to place a public stake in the ground that I will make my personal life carbon negative over the course of the next few years, and provides me a vehicle for thinking through the details of how to make that happen.

Still, I would like to see readership rise further, as long as it can be done without compromising my integrity/authenticity as a blogger.

It's probably not the case that I could put more time into the blog (currently ranging from about 1.5-3 hours a day), or at least not for several years in the best case.  So the question becomes is there any way, within the current time commitment, that I could get better at blogging, such that my readership and authority would rise?

Readers are invited to make their suggestions about how I could serve them better in comments...


jay said...

Dear Stuart,
I am a passionate reader of yours and am reading your posts with interest from your "oil drum" days.
You are among only very few who has the rare combination of the abilities of depth, acumen, vision, technical savyness,intellectuality as well as precise presenting of facts.
As an example I relished very well the critique about Thomas Friedman's piece.Your last line "Damned if we do, and damned if we don't, as far as I can see at the present."is mind blowing. By the way this observation also precisely sums up your blog title "early warning" in an eery way.
That reminds me the joke of a student quipping to a reputed professor who taught with passion
operations research, "what should one do after getting a perfect system".
Here is my request to you : Irrespective of readership pl. continue your excellent and valuable service as there are only very few like you that readers like us can turn to fulfil our intellectual curiosity on a day to day basis.
Thank you and hats of to you from the bottom of my heart.


Anonymous said...

The blog is good. I follow because I'm chasing alpha but would also like to see how your life evolves far from the madding crowd.

suicide kitten said...

Stuart, I found your blog through the Oil Drum (which I don't read regularly anymore). I guess you must have some idea about the readership of your articles at TOD - and I assume it was wider. I would imagine people who read you then would be as interested to read you now - the question is how would they find the blog?

The current format is excellent - concise, thought provoking and well written. So I don't think you have to change anything - it's more a matter of getting traffic through links and references in other sites.

Mike Aucott said...

Yours is one of the most insightful and informative blogs around, and it often generates some great comments. Keep on doing what you're doing!

Alan Post said...


Many years ago now David Pollard published an article called "What the Blogosphere Needs More Of":

It may be something on that is high utility and low effort for you.

Stuart Staniford said...

My thanks to all for the thoughtful comments!

Stuart Staniford said...

suicide kitten:

You raise an interesting point. Yes, no question TOD readership was (and is) much bigger. At the same time, I felt quality of articles overall at TOD was so uneven that it was becoming non-linkable from mainstream political/economic blogs. So my sense is that TOD is serving an audience of true believers (and serving them quite well), but not reaching outside that circle very well. There are some excellent pieces and writers there, but also much that is not excellent. And my guess is that is why influential aggregators like Paul Kedrosky or Kevin Drum who pretty regularly link to me rarely or never link to TOD (I could be wrong - I haven't asked them).

Anyway, I just became increasingly unhappy being there, and am much happier with my own blog, so it's not really an option regardless of the readership. No point in doing something that makes me unhappy when I'm not being paid. They have once in a while republished a piece of mine (which is fine with me) or linked to it when the mood strikes them, but less so recently.

I have a quite good relationship with Bart at the Energy Bulletin and he oftens republishes my pieces (sometimes just because he likes one - I gave him standing permission to republish anything he wants - other times because I alert him that I think he might like something). So those pieces get some much larger readership that I don't track closely (but EB has ballpark similar sized readership to TOD).

One thing that I wonder about in comparing my current vehicle to my time at TOD - there I would publish much longer pieces on what was roughly a weekly interval (but irregular). I do miss being able to really dig into something deeply like that. But if I were to do that here, I would have to switch to something like a weekly schedule (eg as the Archdruid does). I've thought about doing that a few times, but so far I've always felt like the daily format allows me to cover more ground, even if sometimes in a more shallow way. Anyway, I'd be interested in reader perspectives on that.

Unknown said...

Hi're talented and in this day and age of emotional rhetoric, and science determined by politics, you sling not mud, but push that aside to get to the heart of the matter...I read you, the Archdruid, and Tom Whipple, and to calibrate my senses, [for an opposting point of reference], I listen to mainstream media and occasionally other hyperbolists ! Sharing your intelligence with all of us is the most beautiful of gifts...and so, Thank you!! Jim O

Unknown said...

Hi Stuart,

Just wanted to let you know that there are people as far as in Finland reading and enjoying your posts.

Looks like we are steadily transcending our geographical limits in how ideas spread and evolve. I believe we are entering an era where human-to-human communication keeps on speeding up until, well, something completely different emerges.

But first we need to replace the traditional, centralized, easily corruptible media with something that's more self-organizing, personalized and peer-to-peer. In our era, good ideas cannot be silenced anymore. Thank you so much for your contributions! =)