Blogging on an island as opposed to an archipelago

On a Twitter conversation it came up yesterday that a lot of people know each other from blogging in the 2000s. It was a different world back then, and the pond was much smaller. To my knowledge Derek Lowe is the only continuously active science blogger who has been at this longer than me (there are some, such as Dave Appell, who began blogging before me, but stopped for a while before starting up again). I’ve seen a lot of changes. Some good. Some perhaps not so good.

One major aspect is that blogging is no longer a conversation with many nodes. Rather, it’s a platform for individuals or networks to speak to their particular audience. I’m obviously part of this. I don’t subscribe to many blogs in my RSS feed. Basically I use Twitter to find blog posts. There are a few blogs I subscribe to, like Why Evolution Is True, but mostly I just wait until content shows up in my timeline.

And I’m not the only one. I have Google Analytics that go back very far. Below are referrals by site for equivalent periods in 2007, 2012, and 2017. I’ve standardized the top referral source (in pageviews) to 100.

2017, June – Aug
1 twitter 100
2 mobile facebook 38
3 36
4 facebook 33
5 20
6 19
7 11
8 9
9 9
10 6
2012, June – Aug
1 100
2 60
3 49
4 34
5 31
6 31
7 pulsenews 21
8 twitter 13
9 12
10 10
2007, June – Aug
1 100
2 38
3 20
4 19
5 17
6 11
7 6
8 4
9 4
10 3

I removed stuff like organic Google search, which I get a fair amount of. Additionally, I bolded all the sites where I am somehow involved in driving the traffic. So in 2017 I bolded Twitter because I have a big Twitter footprint that drives a lot of the traffic. I did not bold Facebook because I don’t use Facebook much to promote this website. Other people are sharing my posts. I separated mobile and non-mobile Facebook to show you that in 2017 mobile really matters.

You can see that over the years I’ve had to drive more and more of the traffic. I never posted my posts to Reddit. But for Twitter I push all my own content.

4 thoughts on “Blogging on an island as opposed to an archipelago

  1. Can you get stats for Google Reader from when it existed? Currently I use Feedly as I tend to use only rss for blogs.

  2. I use feedly to keep up here as well (sometimes clicking through).

    If it’s not too nosy, could you link to a “Why Evolution is True” post that you think might appeal to readers here?

  3. I should clarify that I only use Feedly to collect rss feeds; I use several different apps to actually read them, notably Press on Android and Readiy on Windows.

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