Cold Hard Cash
Also, for a little while, it seemed like
any successful blog was guaranteed a book deal. It made sense, in a way; if a
blogger had a large audience, they'd probably buy a book containing new
content, and if they were already capable of attracting readers, then putting
their words in print might attract even more. Belle de Jour published several
books about her adventures as a call girl; Julie Powell's cooking blog, Julie
and Julia, became a book (and then a film); and books have also been made from
the blogs of Steve Dublanica (Waiter Rant), Tom Reynolds (Random Acts of
Reality) and Suzi Brent (Nee Naw) - and, of course, lots more that we haven't
ot room to list here. Unfortunately, after the books were published, many of
those bloggers stopped writing online, either because they were busy with other
things, or were saving their material for other outlets, or they just lost
Wherever traditional media has met the
blogging world, it seems to have been to the detriment of blogs, and somewhere
along the line, blogging stopped being about fun, or about self-expression, or
simply sharing stories that deserved a wider audience, and became about making
a living. As of last year, Technorati re that 8% of the blogosphere was
corporate; 18% made either all or part of their living through blogging; and
13% of bloggers were classified as entrepreneurs, blogging on behalf of a
company. That's a sizeable of blogs that are written for money, as opposed to
for the love of it, or as a hobby.
How Many People Use Blogging Sites Now?
To some extent, maybe it's just that
personal blogging has fallen out of fashion. But it's not all over yet; the
numbers show a lot of people still use blogging sites to publish posts.
Of all the blogging platforms out there,
LiveJournal is the most personal. It's not usually used as a professional
platform; instead, with its filters, comment threads, and communities, it's
about people sharing their lives and making friends. Right now, LiveJournal has
36,572,295 accounts, in total. Of those, 19,332,614 (about 53%) have ever
posted a blog entry, 826,702 (about 2%) posted in the last month, and 111,871
(0.3%) posted within 24 hours of writing. Over 15% of LiveJournal users are
located in the USA, where the site was created, but second on the list of
countries most LiveJournal users hail from is Russia.
About 8% of LiveJournal users are based in
the Russian Federation, which is maybe unsurprising because SUP Media, a
Russian company, bought the site back in 2007. There, it's popular with
political writers, and the site has become a target for DDoS attacks as a
result (in December last year, there was a LiveJournal outage thanks to denial
of service attacks coinciding with the Russian Legislative elections). Clearly,
blogging is still relevant to some people.
Most legitimate-seeming blogs in the US and
UK tend to use other services, though, and WordPress reckons it still sees
plenty of traffic: according to WordPress's stats, more than 100,000 new
WordPress sites are created every day, while over 500,000 new posts are written
and 400,000 new comments are posted on any given day, and over 342 million
people look at some 2.5 billion WordPress pages every month. There is still
life out there, somewhere...
So Is Personal Blogging Dead?
Personal blogs may seem to be on the
decline, but it's not all over yet. The poster woman for personal blogging,
Heather Armstrong, still blogs regularly at her site, dooce.com, recently
talking about her separation from her husband. She's been writing since 2001,
got the sack for things she'd written about her job in 2002, and managed to
turn the blog into her livelihood. She gets around 100,000 visitors per day,
and makes an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 per month (yup: per month). But there
aren't many like her, and there aren't likely to be many others who can follow
in her footsteps now.
It's mostly that the way people blog has
changed. Yet another confessional, tell-all blog might not garner as much
interest online nowadays as it did back in the early 2000s; however, a blog
that addresses a particular niche might have better luck building an audience.
But bloggers today are going to have to self-promote like mad, over a variety
of channels and platforms, to make names for themselves.