Pencil Blogs – Talk the Talk 3


Welcome to the next post in our Pencil Blog Stats series. This time we’re adding what is probably the second oldest English-language pencil blog into the mix: Pencil Talk.

The other Pencil Talk

The official address is http://www.penciltalk.org/. I am mentioning this because for many years there was also http://www.penciltalk.com, which I think belongs or belonged to a school teacher. At some stage visitors got a warning about malicious code on that web site when trying to load the web site in their browser, but these days you just get a 403 and 404 error.

The Numbers

OK, let’s look at the number of blog posts over time.

Pencil Talk Blog Posts over the Years

The horizontal axis shows time (the more left, the longer ago), the vertical axis shows blog posts (starting with 0 at the bottom, reaching more than 600 blog posts near the top).

Pencil Talk’s first blog post was end of 2005. If we look at the blog posts over time there seem to be five distinct phases.

 

Pencil Talk Blog Posts over the Years

Phase A – Off to a good Start

Pencil Talk Blog Posts 2006 - 2008

Pencil Talk Blog Posts 2006 – 2008 (Different Scale for Vertical Axis)

At the end of 2005 Pencil Talk is off to a good and consistent start. The number of blog posts grows steadily.

Phase B – The Spurt

Pencil Talk Blog Posts 2007 - 2012

Pencil Talk Blog Posts 2007 – 2012

Then, in the Summer of 2007, we have the beginning of Pencil Talk’s spurt. We’ll see later that this spurt is matched in strength by the blog we looked at previously, but that the length of Pencil Talk’s spurt, from the Summer of 2007 to the end of 2010 / beginning of 2011 is unmatched.

Phase C – The Slow Down

Pencil Talk Blog Posts 2011 - 2015

Pencil Talk Blog Posts 2011 – 2015

Between the beginning of 2011 and Autumn 2014, we have the slow down where new blog posts became more and more scarce.

Phase D – The Big Empty

Pencil Talk Blog Posts 2014 - 2017

Pencil Talk Blog Posts 2014 – 2017

The blog was then taken offline in Autumn 2014 and was only put back online two years later. I was running a mirror for a day, but took it offline at the request of Pencil Talk, so access to the Pencil Talk content was only possible via the archive.org web site.

Phase E – A New Hope

Pencil Talk Blog Posts 2016 - 2018

Pencil Talk Blog Posts 2016 – 2018

Yay, Pencil Talk is back online. We’re all so happy.

Throw the Talk in the Mix

When comparing Pencil Talk with Pencil Revolution it’s becoming clear how enormous Pencil Talk’s spurt (Phase B) actually was. The gradient is similar to Pencil Revolution’s most productive periods, but it lasted more than three years. During this spurt, in Spring of 2008 Pencil Talk overtook Pencil Revolution in terms of the number of blog posts.

All the blogs so far: Posts over Time for Pencil Revolution and Pencil Talk

All the blogs so far: Posts over Time for Pencil Revolution and Pencil Talk

Awards, Awards, Awards…

I am happy to announce that

  • Pencil Revolution deserves the Golden Pencil Case for being the oldest pencil blog and that
  • Pencil Talk deserves the Golden Pencil for having most posts.

In case you wonder. Both awards are purely virtual. (Bleistift.blog is a free blog without advertising, after all).

Coming soon: How does the word count compare?


As always in this series: if the blog owner contacts me and objects I will take this post about their pencil blog offline, so there is a chance that some of these stats posts won’t stay.

To simplify the data collection the cut off point for this blog post was the end of the first quarter 2018.


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3 thoughts on “Pencil Blogs – Talk the Talk

  • Stephen

    Thank you for the honour of receiving such an analysis!

    I’m honestly not sure where my blog is headed. A decade ago I treated it like a job. I no longer feel able to do that. And after going offline for a while – I see that the online climate has changed in many ways.

    One thing I hope you may look at are comments – that is an area where I feel Pencil Talk excelled, especially in Phase B, in both quality and quantity.

  • John

    Definitely. It’s hard to balance social media/a blog so that the posts garner discussion in the comments section. Comments on PR are almost non-existent because what discussion there is happens on social media — which is a little disappointing because it’s not all centralized in a conversion. It’s more like snippets on different platforms that never quite meld. Blogs like Pencil Talk, Seans’ blogs, and Gunther’s really have great discussions on a lot of their posts.

  • Matthias

    Thank you very much for your comments.

    Stephen, things have certainly changed a lot and unfortunately not really for the better. I will try to look at comments at some stage, the comments on your blog were really excellent. Including comments in this series of blog posts will probably not be in a qualitative way.

    John, but shouldn’t the discussion on Pencil Revolution posts happen in the comments section? Some blogs make is difficult to leave comments, you need a squarespace or disqus account, but your blog isn’t one of them, so I don’t get why people like to go somewhere else to discuss.