More Bermudian Blog Ecology

Just fooling around with this idea a little more. Only Bda Sucks and BIAW have their stats publically available, and I of course have access to my own. I was curious to see how they would compare. I was wondering if blog growth followed a gradual accumulation of views or if it was more of a punctuated equilibria model of growth mixed with plateaus. Now this of course depends on the exact time scale that one is going to look at, be it by year, quarter, month, week or day. As only the data for monthly views were available from Bda Sucks and BIAW, it made sense to just go with that. The available data are below – I don’t know how to paste graphs here, so if anyone is curious to see how the patterns work out, just copy and paste these numbers to Excel and format them (lines are probably best). Bermuda Sucks began in 2005, both BIAW and this blog in 2007.

Bda Sucks BIAW Catch-A-Fire
Jan
Feb
March
April
May
June
July
Aug
Sept 402
Oct 42451
Nov 41198
Dec 24270
Jan 28796
Feb 29920
March 31559
April 20410
May 14497
June 15676
July 19606
Aug 20145
Sept 39410
Oct 52387
Nov 50264
Dec 39676
Jan 49963 -0 – 8
Feb 61620 -0- 844
March 39569 -0- 1186
April 111340 -0- 1124
May 108453 -0- 1066
June 135865 -0- 3009
July 211323 -0- 1469
Aug 259605 -0- 979
Sept 273089 -0- 1113
Oct 222002 – 35424 – 1045
Nov 210059 – 68741 – 2523
Dec 300435 – 92420 – 3385
Jan 269970 – 57396 – 5512
Feb 176966 – 22923 – 3611
March 189514 – 18781 – 4684
April 324630 – 16381 – 4370
May 397691 – 25143 – 4487
June 392306 – 18455 – 13798
July 321831 – 29791 – 29637
Aug 247794 – 74702 – 17529
Sept 282972 – 70525 – 7347
Oct 439285 – 114779 – 21827
Nov 507406 – 100163 – 1558
Dec 522173 – 88882 – 13375
Jan 541563 – 61437 – 9649

The above data confirms my geneal suspicion that Bda Sucks is the dominant blog, while BIAW is by comparison quite low; my own blog is much lower, but thats to be expected I think. Bda Sucks and BIAW are more ‘general discussion’ type formats and are generall group blogs rather than run by an individual like this one. Also, while Bermudian blogs seem to be dominated by politics, only my blog (of these three) has an explicit political orientation, and at that one that is hardly popular in capitalist Bermuda. While I would characterise Bda Sucks as being centre to centre-right, and BIAW as centre-right (these labels are not perfect), this reflect only the contributions of their members.

Its also important to note the dynamics between blogs. Bda Sucks pretty much absorbed the bulk of what had previously been Limey In Bermuda’s audience once Limey folded. BIAW is more or less a spin-off from Bda Sucks, and the relationship between these two since has varied between cold war and skirmishes of sorts; but they also share some posters, and I would imagine all of their lurkers.

In broad terms I think the data for my own blog reflects a tendency towards punctuated equilibria; it rose failr quickly to about 2000 views per month but stayed at that approximate plateau for most of 2007. In 2008 it changed quite a bit, with some varied fluctuations reflecting my departure and subsequent neglect of the blog due to work. I get the impression that it will stabilise this year to a plateau of about 10,000 views a month.

Bda Sucks also seems to reflect a degree of punctuated equilibria, although its growth has been more gradualist. Having said that I imagine it will plateau this year at about 500,000 views a month.

BIAW has an interesting growth pattern, one that I think is best explained by its origin as a spin-off due to a schism with Bda Sucks. In the heat of the schism and the novelty of a new blog its growth was quite good, and it started with a large number of views immediately due to the schism. It then went through a period where it looked like it was going to fizzle out and die, but then revived itself. I think its important to note that its origin correalated with the 2007 general election, and its period of dormancy immediately after seems to have been a general trend for many anti-PLP blogs at this time (Bda Sucks also exhibited a decline at this time). I think its growth from now on will mirror the general trends exhibited by the other two blogs. I imagine it will plateau this year at about 75,000 views a month.

This data is of course not perfect. For example it doesn’t indicate how many of these views reflect individuals and how many reflect the intensity of active bloggers (who might check every blog several times a day). I’m not sure how to figure that out, but I reckon there is a mathematical formula that can be constructed (based on observations/models) to separate those issues.

I also find it interesting to look at the changing political dynamics and numbers of Bermudian blogs over the years. I’ve selected what I consider to be the main and consistent blogs, and those that are mostly focused on politics, and indicated what years they existed:

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
BIAW 0 0 1 1 1
Limey 1 1 0 0 0
IMHO 1 1 1 0 0
Sucks 1 1 1 1 1
NewOnion 0 0 1 0 0
Freshie 0 0 0 1 1
Politics.bm 1 1 1 0 0
Vexed 0 0 1 1 1
CatchAFire 0 0 1 1 1
BdaFable 0 0 0 1 1
Beachlime 1 1 1 1 1
ProMinds 0 0 1 1 1
21 Square 0 0 1 1 1
Total = 5 5 10 9 9

This shows that 2007 was a pivotal year in the evolution of Bermudian blogs, with almost a double ncrease and then plateauing of blogs at nine. Now, if one does the same but account for the political orientation of blogs one finds:

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
pro-UBP 2 2 3 1 1
Anti-PLP 1 1 3 3 3
Centre 2 2 2 2 2
pro-PLP 0 0 2 3 3

I realise some people may take issue with my clarifications here, so I think I should offer an explanation for them. I’ve considered blogs to be pro-UBP mainly on the basis of whether the blog-owner is a member of the UBP. Those blogs who I don’t know who the owner is, or if they’re a UBP member, or if a reading of the blogs indicate a general anti-PLP bias, I have called anti-PLP. Centre blogs are those who have explicitly called themselves ‘liberal’ and opposed to both the UBP and PLP. Pro-PLP blogs are those whose owners are PLP. This of course is open to interpretation, but I do think the general shift, as seems to be reflected outside the blogs, has been one away from the UBP, and instead towards a general anti-PLP, while pro-PLP blogs have increased and now, numerically dominate pro-UBP sites; although the total number of anti-PLP (including pro-UBP and Centre) is six to the pro-PLP three.

This also doesn’t take into account the relative ‘market-share’ of the blogs. For example, I doubt the three pro-PLP blogs combined capture even half of the market-share of the non-PLP ones, as would be expected if this was equitably distributed. Together they may capture roughly 10% of the market share, but even this they would share with the other blogs.

These stats also do not reflect the changes, if any, in racial and gender terms in Bermudian blogging. I do believe there has been some changes, but Bermudian blogging for the most part would appear to be still dominated by Whites, and, I believe, males. How much of this is Bermudian and how much is ex-pat is also an interesting question. I would imagine that participation on the blogs would probably correlate with employment (white-collar workers who work with computers should blog more than blue-collar workers who do not), which in turn largely correlates with race and class in Bermuda. There is a large group of Black Bermudian women who do work in white-collar jobs, and while this is not (I think) adequately represented in the stats, I do think there is a tendency for where there are known Black Bermudians on the blogs they tend to be more than likely women. This of course is mostly speculation though. One would also wonder what the age demographics of Bermudian bloggers are too?

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30 thoughts on “More Bermudian Blog Ecology

  1. You’re allowed at least some HTML tagging in blog posts, maybe you can format your figures using tables, or at worst some preformatting…

    [test]

             2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
    pro-UBP  2    2    3    1    1
    Anti-PLP 1    1    3    3    3
    Centre   2    2    2    2    2
    pro-PLP  0    0    2    3    3

  2. Hey! You didn’t count mine in there! *grin* (And I certainly hope that you’d consider mine “Centre”!)
    I’ll see if I can dig up my stats, if you want ’em.

  3. When you look at page count I think you’ve got to consider the various web-bots. When I’ve checked who’s on line and what they’re looking at on Sucks for example I see a few members and several times as many guests – as I’m typing it shows 7 users and 23 guests and if you look at what the guests are viewing you’ll find that many of the threads are years old and haven’t been updated in literally years. That suggests some sort of automated program that’s in the process of archiving things.

    I don’t know if this site has been identified by any those programs (and I don’t want to check with the archival sites I usually use because that will automatically tag this site as something to be monitored and recorded) but that’s got to generate a significant number of hits.

  4. Hey UE,

    I wasn’t sure how to characterise your site to be honest, it was kind of a gray area. I flipped a coin with it to be perfectly honest. A big shiny 50p to be exact. Yeah, I’ld be up for teh stats, the more the merrier in order to get a better idea of Bermudian blog dynamics.

    Blankman, good point. I know the site has been trawled every other week or so, not sure how much that would inflate the numbers either.

  5. GOOD! That’s exactly how I want it.

    I didn’t want it to be a political blog, but wanted to make sure that it was clear that politics WAS an issue that could and would be discussed.
    Hearing “gray area” pleases me. *grin*

    From the looks of it, Devil Island gets most of it’s views from RSS viewers, which would indicate that I gots a regular chunk of folks and just a few randoms.
    And most are lurkers, but that’s the nature of the site, I guess.

  6. Actually, stats for the last year for my site are available: http://s29.sitemeter.com/stats.asp?site=s29volcano

    Prior to that I can use typepad but they only document page views, not visitors. If you want a copy let me know and I’ll email it to you.

    My blog has also been in existance since 2006, 2005 if you consider the now extinct predecessor http://www.bermudawiki.com.

    Of note, I found hits went up based upon the content of what you post along with the frequency and consistancy. In Nov/Dec 2007 I was averaging quite a few posts a week and hitting near 10k visitors a month compared to now when I haven’t had a post in months and am down to about 1k a month.

    I hope mine counts towards one of the centre ones as I’m definately not pro ubp or plp.

  7. Hi Denis,

    Yeah, I had you and Beachlime as the two ‘centre’ positions. Both of you had previously indicated you prefer to be classed as liberal I believe. In hindsight I realise I overlooked BermyOnionPatch, Sal’s blog and Bda Str8-No-Chaser. not sure how to characterise them; I see OnionPatch as a Black nationalist site, but sort-of aligned with the PLP, and Str8 as pro-PLP. Sal’s I guess would be anti-PLP.

    My error about your blogs exsitence also. I’ll take a look at your stats on the site you offered; otherwise I’ld be happy if you could email them to me, and I’ll add them to the data I have. Know if only I can figure out how to import graphs onto this…

  8. One of the best ways I’ve found to put graphs/charts into blog posts is simply by doing a screenshot of the chart in excel, cropping out the unnecessary bits and then uploading it as an image. Trying to convert it to html and all that other jazz is just too much work.

    If your on a windows machine I’d recommend selecting the app that your chart is in and pressing the CTRL+ALT+PrintScreen buttons. This will capture that window specifically. Then use an image editor to crop. I recommend http://www.irfanview.com as a simple free picture viewer/editor, just click the mouse and drag to select what you want to crop then click crop under edit. You can then copy and paste or save and upload the image to your blog.

  9. I think politically speaking my blog is just a teensy-bit left of centre 🙂 but probably best to have a third party dissect the content in case I’m tootin’ the wrong horn. I have no stats to provide (Blogger doesn’t offer native stat reports) but today registered for sitemeter thanks to you guys’ discussions. Check back in a year from now. As always, just trying to piggyback on the more well-known franchises. Thank goodness for RSS.

    Regarding who blogs and who visits these local blogs, it’s still dominated by males. The age range is hard to pin down though. Most of those who own their own blogs are in the 25-35 range right now; but I think those who contribute to say BS/BIAW appear to be of various ages, perhaps the majority are over 40. I think there are only TWO females who own Bermuda blogs and likely less than 10 females who contribute to online discussions (including the UTBS owner who’s since left Bermuda)

  10. Hey Jonny,

    Interesting topic. It has fascinated me to watch the growth of our site, BermudaSucks.com over the years.

    “Bda Sucks also seems to reflect a degree of punctuated equilibria, although its growth has been more gradualist”, is a delightful waffle if I’ve ever heard one. Sorry to pick on you on your own site, but mate, it is either punctuated equilibria or gradualist!

    Have a look at a graph I did almost a year ago to compare us to BIAW. Pretty much organic growth, I’d say.

    My critics and haterz would like to believe I run the site for the advertising money, but to be honest, for the 44 plus DAYS of my life I’ve spent on the site I would have been farther ahead washing dishes! I still have beloved friends in Bermuda and I honestly care about the Island even though I no longer live there. Of course, that doesn’t suit the rhetoric, so they want to paint me as an outsider and a “jaded malcontent”. That’s fine, it is a reflection on them, not on me.

    I’d challenge your assertion, “… I imagine it will plateau this year at about 500,000 views a month.” Contrary to Blankman’s belief that a lot of our page views are from bots, I see the unique IP address analysis and that number has been steadily growing. What I find particularly interesting is the growth in non-Bermuda readership. I’ve optimized the site for search engines, so we get a lot of hits from people searching for information on Bermuda.

    BermudaSucks forum continues to be the most popular site in the Bermuda blogosphere for the simple reasons that I don’t condone personal attacks, nor do I take sides. We have the most diverse range of members and they have come to expect they will be treated equally. Of course, that meant those with their elitist attitudes that expected to be able to do as they please have left, but that has just made room for more reasonable voices.

    Regards,
    Mike

  11. Hi Mike,

    Personally I’ld dispute the thing about punk ek and gradualist evolutionary trends (I believe both trends can be demonstrated by systems) but perhaps a separate thread would be better for that…

    Thanks for the comments though. I am generally interested in trying to get a clearer picture of the Bermudian blog scene though, mainly so that all of us active bloggers can get an idea of trends in it and get an idea of where to go from there. I think a division would have to be made between ‘group blogs’ – Bda Sucks & BIAW; and ‘individual blogs’ such as this one, Vexed, Bda Fables, FreshieBlog and 21Square (just some examples). My feeling is that the two genres should demonstrate rather different dynamics, although the comment-allowing blogs, like Bda Fables, Freshie and this one do share certain attributes. For example, I think more people view this site for the discussion than any of my individual posts.

    My comments about a plateau though stem from my thoughts about blog carrying capacity. Admittedly, its just a hypothesis, and a testable one at that, and we’ll see the development in the next few months. But seriously, how much views can an island of our size capture? Though, as you’ve geared your site to capture search engine searches, and with the probably increase in interest in Bermuda with the tax haven issue, your site, at least, may indicate an increased trend as a result.

    If you graph the numbers for BIAW (I have, but can’t seem to post them here, despite others giving me advice) you’ll see that they show a U-shape curve; the graph that you link to above only shows them at their lowest point, since then they have increased beyond the high that your graph shows. I think they are going to reach a point midway between where they are now and that of Bda Sucks, although that will depend on the internal vitality of the site.

    A fellow blogger, in private communication, has put forward an interesting point that I hadn’t considered at first, and it deserves discussion. [I’m only not naming the person cos of the private correspondence nature, but I’m sure the person will have no problem being open about it. Probably phrase it better too…] The question is how much of this increase in viewing (which is theorised to increase with increasing use of the internet) should be characterised at sheer noise, basically going around in the same circle, and how much of it should be characterised as informed debate that actually adds to our common good? A related question of course would be what exactly do we as bloggers hope, if anything, to achieve through our blogging?

    My answers to these are of course rather mixed. I see alot of the discussion on my site and others going around and around in a predictable circle, and ultimately accounts for just so much noise. Some discussions actually add to our common knowledge, and there are indeed out there and trying to have a conversation. But is it getting through? Is the noise too great? Personally i try to focus on the discourse and not the noise, but they seem to grow in equal proportions.

    As to what, if anything, is hoped to be acheived by blogging? Well, this blog obviously hopes to develop socialist consciousness (or constructive discussion on it). I think its been a rather total failure on that, although maybe its increased the acceptance of that political philosophy a little in Bermudian discussion, I don’t know. I do think its helped address the political imbalance of the blog scene by providing at least A pro-PLP voice. Now, even this blog, and the existence of Bda Fables and ProMinds illustrates the diversity of opinion and personality within the Party, and even that is beneficial for us all I think. Additionally I think its contributed to a discussion on race in Bermuda, and also to the general understanding of race and class issues in Bermuda, at least thats my perception. Its also helped bring out some pro-PLP voices that, however sporadic some of them may be, have not been seen in the Bda blog scene, who for some reason have not felt comfortable contributing elsewhere, and I think that is a good thing also. But can blogs actively contribute to constructive change in society? Can the discourse we have online translate itself into practical action offline? i mean, isn’t that the point?

    To a degree I do think the collective blogs are contributing somewhat indirectly, in that there is a good chance that some members of the civil service and IB probably read some of them, and perhaps this discourse has helped contribute ideas or understanding. Can that be qualified though? And what else should we hope to acheive?

  12. “BermudaSucks forum continues to be the most popular site in the Bermuda blogosphere for the simple reasons that I don’t condone personal attacks, nor do I take sides.”

    O.O

    HA HAHAHAHAAAAAAHAHAAAA…

    Now THAT is some funny shit right there!

  13. Mike,

    “Of course, that meant those with their elitist attitudes that expected to be able to do as they please have left, but that has just made room for more reasonable voices.”

    Care to define who you are referring to in this comment? Just curious and would like some clarification as to who you deem to be those with elitist attitudes.

  14. BermudaIsAnotherWorld.org is an alternative forum set up after the so-called “Bunny Wars” 17 months ago… where a number of us who regularly posted on sux seriously disagreed with the way the forum was being moderated. This apparently is still an issue over there as our site has grown recently to include a number of disgruntled sux members who have migrate over. BIAW does not allow personal attacks on members… we have no trolls, and we have banned two posters for that… we are much freer with our speech… we are left of centre, even progressive in our politics… and we try to have some FUN with some unusual and creative on-going threads. Moderation is done by the three owners of the site, and most decisions are made by a vote. You are all invited to check us out @ http://bermudaisanotherworld.org/forum/index.php After all, competition is good for business.

  15. I was kind of worried that this would happen after reading Mike’s post. There were some parts of it that I thought were like a red flag to a bull on the whole BdaSucks vs BIAW conflict. I’m not all that interested in my blog becoming a battleground for partisans of this bizarre war. I would take issue with some assertions of both sites about disallowing personal attacks, but as I’ve said, I’m not interested in my blog being a battleground for this war.

    Thankyou.

  16. Hi Mike,

    There have been a number of totally off the wall attacks by Bill towards Uncle Elvis, most of which I have deleted, and so you may not have seen them. Uncle Elvis would have been responding to them. Bill’s attacks were kind of out of the blue and unprovoked as far as I’ve seen. I don’t catch all of the attacks, and I try not to censor as much as possible, and sometimes I make mistakes. I hope that clears things up a bit.

  17. Hi Elvis,

    I debated a little about whether or not to let the last sentence go through. You see, that, as with Mike’s bit about ‘bitter men’ they only continue the spiral that has come to characterise our blogs at the moment. Seriously, there are some things that people should just let go off and move on. This isn’t directed towards you, Elvis, its just a general comment. But there are much bigger battles out there to fight than personality ones, and these potshots that people keep adding to comments, well, people focus on them and not the messages, and the whole discussion reduces to mudslinging. And in the end we all suffer, and we have to face up to that.

    The question remains, what do we want to achieve from these blog conversations? Is it mutual sniping and self-aggrandisement, or are we committed to advancing mutual understanding, exploring the serious issues our community – White, Black, UBP, PLP, whatever – are facing? Or something else altogether? I mean like, whats the point if its all about slinging mud?

  18. Sorry. Jonny. I keep trying to keep my mouth shut, but folks keep taking shots at me.
    I’ll try to do better. I’d like to say that I am “committed to advancing mutual understanding, exploring the serious issues our community – White, Black, UBP, PLP, whatever – are facing?”, and will try to concentrate on that, rather than defending myself against lies.

  19. I’m sorry I said bitter. I will try to be more empathetic and put myself in the shoes of those whom I don’t understand or agree with.

    I forgive them for their outbursts against me; carrying a grudge is only a burden to the one doing the carrying.

  20. You mention Progressive Minds in an earlier entry (13), Jonnystar. I’ve feared that the Prog Minds blog is totally not what it had set out to be. There were high hopes for a blog that promoted the opinions and ideas of people who supported the PLP when the blogosphere environment was dominated by those who either were UBP supporters or wished to bash the PLP unabatedly.

    However, despite your recent efforts to stimulate discussion there doesn’t seem to be much contribution from said persons. There’s one voice who pretty much pushes a “UBP sucks” dialogue, a few who call out that particular author and that’s about it. That said, maybe that site gets high viewership stats because it’s somewhat high-profile and gets promotion from the official PLP blog.

  21. I think the biggest problem that the ProMind blog encountered was an apparent lack of online proPLPers. The blogs remain dominated by anti-PLPers of various shades, something which was very much evident on that site, and this one also. As I’ve said earlier there are mayber 20-30 ‘regulars’ throughout the entire blog scene here, and of those I think there are maybe five (including me) that would be classified as pro-PLP (although certainly not all party-liners).

    That in itself shouldn’t have been a problem though; the concept was that if we – the PLP – were in the right, then we should be capable of engaging with opponents and defeat them through argument, and by argument I mean rational dialouge and not ‘shouting down’ opponents. Different factors however intervened, some predicted, some not so. We expected it to be a learning curve of getting those of us who were not familiar with blogging into the culture of blogging, if that makes any sense. I still think that the ProMinds blog has the potential to add to our discourse and mutual understanding, but to do this requires dedication and patience from its participants.

    One experience of that blog was though that people simply didn’t engage when thought-provoking pieces were posted, but instead focused on those that were written in a more provocative/combative style. To a degree thats understandable, its always easier to react than to reflect.

    I have my own blog, and while I will still post on ProMinds from time to time, I believe I can contribute more to the blog political balance from my own site than ProMinds – ideally it would be best if ProMinds and other pro-PLP blogs complemented themselves and allow for a vibrant online pro-PLP discourse. This would be advantageous for the Party (internal critique would be better than external, and allows for developing future leaders), and for the blog scene as a whole.

    I believe that with time the above will happen, but I am not sure about the tempo of such development. Right now I think ProMinds, the group itself, has somewhat distanced itself from its online namesake and is in a state of reorganisation, and is more focused on that (as it should be) than on running the blog.

  22. Before the ’07 election, Facebook got a lot of attention as well. There were, among others, local groups which discussed politics and what each political party was doing/not doing. There was one called “You gotta love Bermudian politics” that probably got more members and viewers in a short period than all of the local blogs and forums put together. Discussion came at a fierce pace at times. But it’s all but dead now. That particular bit should come into consideration when it comes to discussing the online community in Bermuda with regards to politics.

  23. Those are some good points, ones I really hadn’t thought of to be honest. It certainly would make quantifying the local online scene much harder though. From those sites though, its evident that there are people out there, interested in politics and passionate enough to discuss them. Why is that not better reflected on the local blogs, and why has it died down now? I think with Facebook, its very nature as a networking site tends to facilitate sch temporary groups. If one friend is involved in a discussion, other friends will notice it and also get invovled, and it snowballs from there. With the blogs its not that easy – you have to literally search them out I guess.

  24. Am a member of the Plp but politics is about government and the people negative re-enforcement increases performance. My father used to tell me i would die before him but i will be putting flowers on his grave come Easter. You cant expect a ten year old boy to be as informed as thirty year old seasoned veteran. The Government needs to hide their fear of the opposition.

  25. its extreemly ironic that the very people who are now complaining about how people under pen names and the talk shows, and the letters to tha editors…. choose to use their freedom of speech to speak out against this so called plp…are the same people that had no problems wit us when we spoke out against the ubp when they were in power….my my how fast things change.

    they must really think people are stupid and nieve enuff to think that if they (the official un official plp spokes woman / head of the plp gistapo and mps knew the names of their critics that some form of reprisal (whitelisting) wont happen…..lol

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