What’s the biggest blog in the bloggernacle? It’s By Common Consent.
In this Part 2 of ‘Nacle Numbers 2007, I’ll be looking at how the blogs in my sample (see Part 1 of ‘Nacle Numbers for more on the sample) differed from one another.
In 2007, BCC had 681 posts, the most of any blog in the sample. That’s nearly 2 a day, or about 13 a week. BCC also had the most words in posts, 373,090 total, or about one and a quarter Books of Mormon (293,472 words).
Here’s a table for all eleven blogs in the sample. They are sorted by total number of posts. I’ve linked to each one in case you have difficulty with my abbreviations. The largest value in each column is highlighted.
|Blog||Posts||Words in Posts|
So BCC had more posts and words than did the bottom four–Nine Moons, Faith Promoting Rumor, New Cool Thang, and Zelophehad’s Daughters–put together. Times and Seasons was number two to BCC, both in total posts and words. The big three (BCC, T&S, and Feminist Mormon Housewives) were surprisingly spread out in total posts. I tend to think of them as being fairly similar in activity level, but BCC had about 20% more posts than T&S, and T&S in turn had about 20% more posts than FMH. Mormon Mommy Wars and Mormon Mentality lagged FMH by a similar proportion, about 25%.
T&S had the longest posts–a mean of 628 words–of the big three, and in fact longer posts than any other blog in the sample except the two lowest post volume blogs, ZD and NCT. MMW and Nine Moons had by far the shortest posts.
Here’s a bar chart showing each blog’s number of posts and number of words in posts. The mean post length for the entire sample was a little over 500 words, so the scale for number of words is set to be 500 times as big as the scale for number of posts. Blogs for which the left (red) bar is taller had shorter posts than average; blogs for which the right (blue) bar is taller had longer posts than average.
You can see overall style differences in the blogs. T&S had lots of long posts. BCC and FMH also had lots of posts, with BCC’s being slightly longer than average and FMH’s being slightly shorter. MMW had lots of posts, but they were much shorter than average. At the other end of the spectrum, NCT and ZD had very few posts, just 3 and 2 per week, but they tended to be quite long.
Looking back to the table, all the blogs in the sample had a higher mean post length than median, indicating the distributions of post lengths were skewed. In other words, a small number of longer posts were pulling the mean up, but the bulk of the posts were shorter than the mean. ZD was an odd case violating this pattern, though, with a mean (676) and median (671) that were nearly equal. This suggests that ZD post lengths were pretty regularly distributed, without a small group of longer posts pulling the mean up. ZD’s low standard deviation (lowest among blogs having a mean of 500 or more) and relatively short longest post (shorter than all but MMW’s longest) suggest the same conclusion. So at ZD, perhaps our tagline should be “Not just long-winded, consistently long-winded.”
So what about number of comments? BCC was again the largest, again by a fairly large margin, with 33,880, or about 93 per day. (No wonder I have a hard time keeping up with conversations there!) Here’s a table for number of comments by blog, sorted by total number of comments. Again, the largest value in each column is highlighted.
|Blog||Comments on Posts|
T&S and FMH remained #2 and #3, but FMH was a lot closer than it was in total posts. In comments per post, FMH had more than any other blog, but BCC was a close second, and actually had a higher median. This, and FMH’s higher standard deviation, suggests that FMH had a few very high comment threads pulling its mean up, while BCC had more consistent comment numbers across posts.
There’s some reordering in the lower half of this table relative to the first table. Mormon Mentality had far more comments than did MMW, in spite of their similar numbers of posts. NCT vaulted all the way from next to last in number of posts to the middle of the pack in comments. ExII, on the other hand, had the fewest comments and the fewest comments per post.
As an aside, let me be explicit in pointing out that I’m not trying to make value judgments about numbers or sizes of posts or comments. I’m trying to use the numbers as a descriptive tool. Naturally I’m going to focus somewhat on the biggest and the smallest numbers. But I think they clearly reflect differences in how blogging is approached at different blogs rather than differences in how good blogs are. (Besides, value judgments are what the Niblets are about, right? ) For example, consider the difference between BCC and ExII. BCC has many posts designed to provoke discussion. Steve Evans’s Friday Firestorm series is an excellent example of this type of post. ExII, on the other hand, probably has more announcement-type posts than any other blog in the sample. Deborah’s Virtual Oases are like a detailed sidebar integrated into the blog, and they are not designed to draw lots of comments. I just think it’s fun that you can see this type of pattern–this difference in style–in the numbers.
Okay, now let’s look at total comment length. BCC was still the leader, with nearly 3 million words of comments. FMH was a surprisingly close second, though, considering that it only had two thirds as many posts and comments as BCC. Here is the table for all the blogs, sorted by total words in comments. Again, the largest value in each column is highlighted.
|Blog||Words in Comments|
This is where the big three were really big. They were more tightly clustered than by counts of posts, post words, or comments. And they were dramatically bigger than the other blogs: Mormon Mentality, the fourth place finisher in number of comment words, had less than half as many as T&S, in third place.
FMH had by far the longest comments on average of the big three, at 118 words. So FMH may have had the fewest posts of the big three, but it made up for that by having the most verbose commenters. A few of the smaller blogs had even longer average comments–FPR, ExII, and ZD. I’m sorry to keep bringing this up, but how weird are we? ZD’s average comment (146 words) was over 20% longer than the second longest average, FPR at 125. Not only are we long winded, we attract long-winded commenters. Or perhaps, more correctly, since there is quite a bit of overlap among commenters on these blogs, we provoke long-winded comments.
Here’s a bar chart showing each blog’s number of comments and number of words in comments. The mean comment length for the entire sample was slightly more than 100 words, so the scale for number of words is set to be 100 times as big as the scale for number of posts. Blogs for which the left (yellow) bar is taller had shorter comments than average; blogs for which the right (green) bar is taller had longer comments than average.
I think the chart really emphasizes the dominance of the big three. NCT and Millennial Star and ZD and FPR and ExII may have had long comments on average, but the big three had so many comments that the smaller blogs just pale in size comparison.
Okay, one more chart and I’ll quit. Here’s a pie chart that shows the percentage of the total words (in posts plus comments) belonging to each of the blogs in the sample. BCC, FMH, and T&S accounted for 24%, 20%, and 19% of all post plus comment words in the sample. No other blog accounted for as much as 10%.
In the next post on ‘Nacle Numbers, I’ll look at some comparisons of posts written by different bloggers, including figuring out who it was who wrote that 9072-word monstrosity treatise at BCC. And of course let me know in the comments if there’s anything in particular you’re interested in seeing.
- 3 March 2008