Posted November 17, 2009 3:08 pm by with 9 comments

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Oh, how I wish this was a cool YouTube video that could go viral. But it’s not. Instead, it’s some pretty interesting research by PostRank on how reader engagement in blogging has evolved over the last three years.

Not so surprisingly, trackbacks as a means of joining the conversation have dropped off in favor of taking the discussion to Twitter or other social sites. Over the last there years, trackbacks have dropped from 19% of total engagement to 3%, while social networks have soared from <1% to 29%.

This is indicative of the larger trend—the move to engagement off the site itself:
On-site engagement is down 50%, but total engagement engagement is still high—the conversation has just moved onto Facebook, Twitter and other social networks because of the “Share this” phenomenon.

Finally, the study also found that posts have a longer lifespan of engagement, due largely to the fact that engagement in the first hour has decreased:

Back in 2007, we observed that over 94% of all the engagement occurred within the first day of publishing the article. Even more interestingly, the 98% of the engagement on that first day occurred within the first hour. In other words, the half-life of a story was, and still is, less than an hour!

Fast forward to 2008 and 2009, and we’re seeing a steady increase in the lifespan of a story: down to 83% of total engagement for the first hour in 2008, and 64% in 2009.

While the majority of engagement still takes place in the first hour, the engagement is also more spread out today—because more and more people are discovering the post later, thanks to the social sharing options that have become so popular.

What do you think? Have you seen this phenomenon in your blogging and sharing?


  • The results make sense i dont think people are commenting as much anymore and its def obvious people are talking more about the blog posts on social sites like twitter or their own blogs instead of leaving comments. I think some one needs to come up with some better ways to engage users better on blogs.

  • Rym

    It is how people share information these days. I usually post blog permalinks on Twitter and Facebook status to immediately share that to my contacts and friends, and from there, the discussion begins. So the graph just makes sense. Coversations are much easier done where the post (blog link) was first seen.

  • Twitter and other sharing services have definitely taken away from on-site interaction. Which is too bad, because the on-site comments provide the most meaningful conversation and engagement. Leaving a comment is more rewarding for the writer because it gives them feedback on how their message was interpreted. It creates the dialogue.

    It seems we are becoming a message centric world though. Keep it short, make it simple to send.

    Keep the conversation going by making a point to comment on discussions that add value to your life.

    .-= Bob Williams´s last blog ..My Work Philosophy =-.

  • I mostly use facebook although I communicate only with some friends whom I have already known before. I have an account in Twitter but I seldom use. I sometimes write articles which then I submit to several marketing websites.

  • I think a lot of sharing has moved to the likes of social networking, although personally I prefer to comment because I think it acts as a ‘heads up’ for the author, and lets them know that somebody has taken the time to read (& comment), rather than just hitting the retweet button.

  • It seems blogging is facing a saturated stage.

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  • Indeed. This is why social network marketing has become so important and useful for bloggers, webmasters, and business owners.
    .-= WebTraffic´s last blog ..How To Get Backlinks and What Are Backlinks? =-.