Is there any value in blogging when you get no comments?
Any long time readers or people who have heard me speak about blogs (which has been at least a couple of years ago now) know that I'm not bent around the axle about getting comments -- which is lucky, since I rarely get comments on this blog. I mean almost never and when I do they are very likely to be from people I've also met offline at some point or another.
Yet from the earliest days of blogs there have been pronouncements that you need to post so many times per time period (once a day? three times a week? no less than 4 times per month?) and do all other sorts of things to build and grow readership. Some people do all sorts of stunts to get readers. Likewise, there are all sorts of pronouncements (and in another place this week) that you have to have comments and trackbacks to have community and without communities blogs are pointless.
So I was reminded of this when two different people at the most recent conference and a few people at the two SLA events I attended this year made a point of telling me that they enjoy reading my blog. Very flattering and nice to hear, thank you. (another person mistook me for Jessica Baumgart, but anyway). Also, my blog has fairly decent readership stats (I knew there were ~160 in bloglines, but just thought to check feedburner - holy cow, 670? hm, maybe includes some bots?). Actually, though, my primary reasons to blog have always been:
- to park ideas for later or so that I can think of something else
- for personal information management
- to try out new ideas
So it's all about me :) I go through long stretches when I don't post anything -- I've been terribly cranky recently and I've deleted posts I was working on because there was really nothing constructive in them at all - not for anyone. I think people find me via searches and subscribe to my feed... so I'm not really worried that people forget about my blog and I'm not going to write posts in some - what I think is vain - attempt to get people to actually visit the site.
Obviously some of my posts are directed at certain audiences - like how to do a bit of citation analysis or how weeding works or ones about various interfaces or the couple I've done for ResearchBlogging. I'll keep doing those when I think I have something to contribute. I'll also blog conference sessions when I can - I refer back to those frequently.
I post on twitter and on friendfeed - but for me, those are a different animal than my blog. Those are really for - oh, look! - alerts and of course complaining that another service is down.
I hope that a certain British STS/Information Science researcher who said she was planning to start a blog does so, because I'd like to read it. So many practitioners in LIS blog, but hardly any researchers or professors and I think this is unfortunate because it makes it seem like there is a large divide when there really isn't one.
In interviews with a few scientists who blog, they also mentioned the personal information management bit - one said how much easier it was to search his blog than his LaTeX files on his desktop. Yep.