Thursday, June 7, 2012

Now We Are Five

Good numbers on internet ephemera are hard to find. The only people in a position to collect the data are the same ones who have a financial stake in how it is spun. They might, for instance, need to salt a stock offering for a popular social networking platform whose revenue stream is fundamentally linked to the market rate of internet advertising (tip: sell).

But I digress. What I was getting at is, there aren’t hard numbers on the half-life of the common web-log. But the few studies out there tend to underline the obvious: less than a third of blogs make it into a second month of publication, and the median number of posts in the lifetime of a blog is very probably two. The average life span of a blog that lasts longer than a month, according to one study, is 126 days.

Today is the fifth anniversary of Infinite Art Tournament, the blog formerly known as The Life and Times of Michael5000. (Don’t quibble about continuity, chuckdaddy. It’s the same goddamn URL.) This is the 1612th post.

It has certainly occurred to me that it would be a logical place to stop.

Like many blogs, this one found its origins in workplace dissatisfaction. In the first post (1, 2, Oh My God, June 7, 2007) I talk about getting ready for a job interview. That organization didn’t hire me, which was foolish; I would have been a steal for them. A while later, another organization nearly brought me on board for what seemed like a very exciting and dynamic position; my disappointment on being passed over by them one lasted only a few months, until I learned that they had suddenly gone out of business in unpleasant circumstances. At a third place, I blew a final interview by drinking about a gallon of coffee beforehand and chattering like a cokehead while the interview panel sat looking at me in puzzlement, occasionally interrupting my stream of gibberish in an attempt to ask one of their questions.

So I stayed where I was, and things slowly got better, and then they got quite a bit better. I’m in a highly specialized line of work now that I take seriously, and I like it; and damned if I didn’t get a minor promotion just this morning. That probably just means I’ll stay late more without getting paid, and I don’t even care. Which is to say, the days of the blog being the outlet for creative energies that were stifled in the workplace are long gone. Yet the blog endures. I guess it fills the space in my life that other people devote to cumbersome hobbies of their own, such as raising a family, or tending their house and land, or becoming involved in community affairs, or developing an artistic talent of some kind.

I like that the first word of the first post was “Mrs.5000.”

Most blogs don’t last long; similarly, most blogs don’t get read much. One survey asks us to assume that “100 million people regularly read blogs and that they each read 50 other peoples' blogs,” and that there are “20 million active bloggers.” With that (grossly inflated, I think) readership estimate, you end up with what the author termed “Nanoaudiences”:
250 readers per blog, far smaller audiences than any traditional one-to-many communication method. And this is just an average; in practice many blogs have no more than two dozen readers.
I feel very honored, considering the singular content choices I have made, to have about two dozen regular readers and another three or four dozen long-term sporadic readers. The Tournament is honored by its voters. It is very sweet to have a nanoaudience. In fact, if I could somehow snap my fingers and give Infinite Art Tournament an audience of tens of thousands, you know what?

Well, I’d do it in a heartbeat, of course.

But I’d probably be sorry I had.

Thanks for reading,


Jenners said...

I love the term nanoaudience!! That is what blogging is … and it is a kick. I thought I'd be a quitter but here I am, still going, and I really have to thank you for helping me get there in the first place! Long live the blog!

mrs.5000 said...

Happy Fifth Anniversary, M5K! Thanks for all the thoughts provoked, tales told, questions posed, elements researched, flags considered, votes tallied, postcards pulled from oblivion, etc. etc.!

Eavan Moore said...

It is certainly an impressive accomplishment to have published so steadily for five years, and I am pleased to be a part of your nanoaudience.

pfly said...

I found your blog by random chance a while back via the flag stuff and the related vexillology blog--and I found that blog by random chance via one of those google searches for finding the answer to some trivial question that didn't really matter and one would have pondered and forgotten in the time before Google and the Internet.

Browsing over from the Vexillology blog at first I thought this blog was "weird". Boring postcards? Okay.... But over time, well, I'm not a big blog reader--I follow about 20 that post regularly and perhaps 20 more that post infrequently--I find myself looking to see if there's new posts on your blog first. I daresay this might be my favorite blog. Still not sure about the boring postcards, though it is a "curious" topic at least. Your monthly "reports" about goals and such have inspired me to work on getting in better shape and health.

Anyway, thanks! Keep it up, weird, curious and all!

margaret said...

I, too, am proud to be among the M5K nanoaudience. BTW, is there anything smaller than "nano"—'cause that's what my blog/s have. Not to gripe—blogging is as much a help to myself as it is to anyone out there reading. Plus, it's fun!

Now I tried to click on that very first post and got this error message:

"Your current account ( does not have access to view this page."

Does visiting your archive require some kind of uprade?

Oh, and most import: Congratulations! I can always count on checking in here for insight and giggles and yeah, those scintillating boring postcards.

dhkendall said...

One key reason for the success of IAT(fLaToM5K) - quality. Quality stays, crap doesn't. You may not always have what I like (unless it's flags! (just kidding, our interests collide in a few other areas too, like stamps and cycling)) but yo always have what someone (several someones) like, and That's A Good Thing.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I'm a long-time reader, probably from the beginning, and I appreciate the work and research you put into your blog.

I'm one of a dozen who likes what you do.

: )