China Blogs: Losing Steam?

Looking at several China-related blogs, those run for fun or out of a sense of mission as well as those run by media corporations, I’m getting the impression that China-related blogging is losing steam. Declining numbers of comments seem to suggest that. A declining number of posts on the blogs I read most, too.

So does traffic on this blog, although that may be a justrecently-specific case, and no general trend. On a month-to-month basis, clicks on this blog continually rose from April 2008 to August 2008. Oddly, after that (and therefore past the Beijing Olympic Games), they rose much more sharply in September, than any time before. After September, the graph took almost the same shape as from April 08 to August 08 – but on a level about four times as high as during spring and summer.

February this year marked the peak. March was about as good as December, and a rough estimate suggests that April this year will be as good as November 08.

One of the reasons – if my hunches about blogging activities are correct – could be that most bloggers and commenters feel that they have said everything they wanted to say.

Then there is the more general picture, beyond China- and CNN-related blogging. Tai De, who writes about quite different topics, tells me that his clicks rose slowly from October 08 until November 08, had a small dent in December, then rose sharply in January and February, and have been stable during March and April (still slightly rising in March).

That could be logical. I guess that my blog is read by people who are in some kind of business, while more of his readers, with an interest in Turkey and the Middle East, are people from non-commercial trades. They may be teachers, theologicans, and so on – people whose jobs are much less affected by the gobal economic crisis than people with China-related jobs. In short, there is less time left than before to read blogs – especially from an office computer. Those who are still there, may now be much more busy with spreadsheets, than with the internet.

More general blogging numbers from WordPress (my random pick – I had no look at November, December, or February) …

October 08January 09March 09

… and Justrecently’s little calculations on those general WP stats…

Per Blog October 08 January 09 March 09
Per blog Per blog Per blog
Comments 6,25 6,39 7,98
Pageviews 1.287,49 1.470,04 2.077,09

Posts per blog 11,70 13,67 18,90
Words per blog 830,92 943,50 1.309,54

As you can see from the respective monthly wrap-ups yourself, the number of active blogs was 1,418,933 in October 08; 1,373,108 in January 09; and 1,111,892 in March 09.

And of course, there are some footnotes to every criterion mentioned above – you can read them up under the October, January and March WordPress links above the table, too.

So, if I got all that right, the general trend with WordPress blogs is that

  • the absolute number of active blogs is slightly, but continuously declining
  • he remaining active blogs become more active in terms of comments,
  • in terms of pageviews (strongly so)
  • in terms of posts per blog (also strongly)

The following are the WordPress and Justrecently graphs, respectively …

Wordpress, average number of posts per blog

WORDPRESS, average number of posts per blog

Justrecently's Blog, number of posts per month

JUSTRECENTLY, number of posts

Wordpress, average monthly number of pageviews per blog

WORDPRESS, average number of pageviews per blog

Justrecently, number of pageviews per month

JUSTRECENTLY, number of pageviews

Wordpress, average number of comments per blog

WORDPRESS, average number of comments per blog

Justrecently's Blog, number of comments

JUSTRECENTLY, number of comments

Justrecently’s absolute numbers are higher than the average ones, all the way – the graphs are meant to depict the trends only.

If this blog’s traffic trends are more or less typical of the average China-related blog, this would suggest that China is no longer as hot a topic as last year. It would also suggest that some or many Fifty-Cent-Party jobs are in danger, just as many real-economy ones. China’s stimulus plans to date mention infrastructure, the countryside, the textile industry etc., but not the Wumaodang.

But granted, the basis of this little all-but-powerpoint presentation is rather narrow in that it only counts WordPress stats, and JR’s. Besides, hadn’t WordPress blogs (apparently) become accessible from mainland China, this blog would probably have seen a bigger decline in pageviews.

4 Comments to “China Blogs: Losing Steam?”

  1. Despite the last four months being my best ever, and having had more unique hits this year thus far than all of 2008, I do agree that, in general, blogging has slowed for China Bloggers. I’m not sure why, but in my case, work is a big factory – I’m simply too busy to spend time writing anything that isn’t marketing or a report.


  2. Same here – I used to be more active. Btw, I wrote a line of bullshit in this post – not all my absolute numbers are higher than WordPress average. This blog doesn’t get 2,077 pageviews a month. Not yet anyway.


  3. Maybe we got all the attention with the happenings before, during and after the olympics. The Sichuan earthquake was another traffic spike, although I didn’t write about the earthquake really.

    People forget about China again and their attention moves to other subjects. It’s not the right time to write a China blog if You are looking for a lot of readers. Let’s wait for the next desaster or event in China. I can see world expo 2010 on the horizon and should write something about that one.


  4. A blog is like an airship. You need to keep inflating it with hot air to keep it floating ;).
    That said, I’m feeling kind of relieved. I didn’t want this blog become a site to fight, and I’m looking forward to further comments that add to my knowledge, rather than ones that excite ppl (the latter is fine too, of course, but always prone to go overboard.
    For sure, the controversial phase is gone for now.


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