Sunday, 7 January 2007

Is blogging worthwhile?

Sunday Editorial

I have read with interest - and some surprise - Guy Kawasaki's year-end statistics and financials (which I am quoting here below), and they gave me enough material to start wondering and meditating on how blogging is worth our (bloggers) while.
Guy summarises his blog "How to Change the World" statistics as follows:

  1. 2,436,117 page views for an average of approximately 6,200/day.
  2. 262 posts generated 6,961 comments and 1,937 trackbacks. That’s 25 comments/post and 7 trackbacks/post.
  3. 21,000 people receive RSS feeds via Feedburner and 1,457 receive emails via FeedBlitz.
  4. Total advertising revenue: approximately $3,350 = $1.39 cpm.
  5. Most linked-to posting (953): The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint
  6. ( ... )
  7. Ending Technorati ranking: #45. Highest ranking during the year: #35 or so.

Well in the first place I think that Guy's analysis is – in so far as cost/revenues are concerned - incomplete and somewhat too simplified. I deem that he should take into consideration his blogging into a wider perspective i.e. altogether with his other professional activities: principally writing books as well as being a speaker/evangelist, IT consultant, Garage CEO etc. His great success as a professional must be considered as the result of the combination of all his background and experience and these activities; therefore it is pointless trying to enucleate only the costs and revenues of the blogging in order to check its convenience. Moreover, instead, he should ponder that thank to the efforts he puts in blogging - obviously not exclusively, though - he might have sold and probably will sell more books this year, or will be invited to give more speeches than 2006 or, who knows, he might be getting some new professional assignments or corporate appointments. Following this course of thought for example in his tiny “cost/revenues” statement among the revenues he should probably put an “Advertising Savings” item/figure, since his blogging activity most certainly markets him better that any outrageously expensive - and dubious outcome - marketing/image consulting company…

Further on in his post, Guy Kawasaki laments that the duration of his readers' interest about his posts seldom survives one week:

9. Most disappointing realization: After a week, most postings are “gone.” Perhaps people’s expectations of blogs are so low that they don’t consider them reference sources. Hence, I have to write another book. My challenge is that I have three tasks: answering email, blogging, and writing a book, and I can only do two.

Well I deem that this is the destiny of any "journal". I do not recall any grief on the faces of journalists, typographers, reporters, photographers, chief and assistant editors that work the whole day and night to issue a newspaper whose pages the very day after will probably be used to wrap fish or greengroceries at the local outdoor market. The only difference is that thank to technology, we can try to create, arrange and manage better and more usable databases, allowing our readers to search easily some subjects that might be of their interest instead of going to the local library and search through microfilmed copies...

In conclusion even though I presume that Guy Kawasaki's eclectic personality would be able to perform and obtain great results in any other adventure, based on my previous considerations I would not terminate blogging, at least if those are the reasons for quitting. From the moral point of view I wish also to add that not everything ought to be done for the sake of money: very many people write - I daresay, probably the majority of the true bloggers do - just for the sake of sharing, some others instead are quite disillusioned with respect to the blogsphere. The greatest revenue may be for some people the personal satisfaction of seen published their articles, for others could be to receive comments and be able to respond, for others is just the graphical/technical embellishment of the blog with (alas!) less attention to content... All these can be considered rewards, because this is the spirit of blogging: it must be rewarding (in the sense I have here mentioned) and not financially worthwhile. Besides if revenues is the aim, well I am certain that there are dozens of more remunerative activities in the IT and Internet field.

Guy Mc Paul

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