Best Time to Publish Blog Posts

Visualization of view/link/comment activity throughout the week. As you might expect, activity peaks around lunch time. Interesting that views are lighter on the weekend, but comments are much heavier.

Tumblr vs. WordPress

I finally migrated my old blog entries from WordPress to Tumblr. Entries are backdated and tagged, so feel free to peruse at your leisure.

Some observations of how my usage differs across the 2 platforms:

WordPress Blog - maintained from Nov'08 to Jul'09

  • Post frequency varied greatly, but typically no more than 1 post every few days.
  • Material was often adapted from assignments for other classes, or summaries of notes from talks attended.
  • Blog posts tended to be rather long, containing multiple links to related articles, author’s musings, mix of theory and hypothesizing.
  • Posts often ended with a question encouraging engagement, such as “what do you think?”

Tumblr Microblog - started Jul'10

  • Content is posted quite frequently, often several times a day.
  • The most frequent type of post is sharing an interesting URL, and not always with a comment or explanation attached.
  • Posts are short, sometimes just a line or 2 in length, more to-the-point, and typically do not contain supporting research/articles.
  • Posts rarely make outright attempts to engage readers (by asking a question,etc.)

What caused me to shift from my lengthy musings to brief “reblogs”?

  • The most obvious one: As a user, I’ve changed. I’m no longer a student; I finally have free time, and that means more time to keep up-to-date with industry trends and share them out with others.
  • “Mobile” makes content sharing simple. Now that I have a smartphone, it takes just seconds to snap and upload a picture via the Tumblr app. When I think of something I’d like to share, I can create a note, save it as a draft, and then return to it later on my computer.
  • Social media integration helps me reach my audience. When I was on WP, my only readers were lost souls who stumbled across my portfolio. Now when I post on Tumblr, my Facebook friends see my posts and are able to comment on them through the Facebook UI. Their engagement motivates me to create/share more interesting material.
  • The meaning of blogging has shifted. No longer is it just about contributing content to the web. Now it’s about connecting with others by engaging with content that is of mutual interest. The outcome? A new way to define self-identity via technology, in which content assembled from other sources can help to define who you are.

Blogging to evade social norms

I recently had a discussion with a friend about how we are living in an “extremely narcissistic time.” Reading some of the academic literature on motivations for blogging, this claim seems like it has some validity to it. Many of the motivations for blogging seem tied to a desire for one-sided self-expression and indulgence.

A 2004 paper by Nardi et al. includes some interesting excerpts from blogs that are particularly telling. When bloggers write about events that happened during their day (typical “diary style” fodder), part of the motivation may be to look back on it for future enjoyment. Part may be for gaining personal insight by reflecting on past events. However, why use a public blog rather than a private diary? It seems that many bloggers are motivated by the knowledge that others may read and form impressions about the blogger based on their words. If the blog is entertaining, it suggests that the blogger is an entertaining person. If it teaches a skill, it suggests that the blogger is very skillful. If it captures life events that seem interesting or glamorous, then it suggests that the blogger is an interesting person. Self-projection, then, is key. Can we say that this is a form of Narcissism?

This seems to have strong similarities to the Facebook mini-feed phenomenon. When