I hope this isn't a pattern developing, but Anti-Dismal, an economics blog which has a track record of creating many interesting and informative articles, is shutting down due to a supposed 'lack of demand'. This is surely a case of demand-side economics being applied to things on which it is ill-equipped to speak.
So I demand that Anti-dismal supplies answers to the following questions:
- Where is the demand data?
- How was it obtained?
- Is there any hidden demand?
- What pricing analysis has been done to determine the elasticity of demand?
- What is the opposite of the 'tragedy of the commons'?
- On the supply side, were the articles of consistent standard, or did readers find the product of varying size / quality / colour?
- How was demand affected by article length, periodicy, topic choice and Internet congestion?
- If there is a downward trend, how do we know that the trend is not due to other factors?
- While in a depression now, is it possible that very shortly we will see a recovery?
- Have you tried cutting the base rate?
My approach to blogging is that the enjoyment and interest comes in taking part, and getting the stuff out of my head and onto the screen. Better out than in. The thought that someone else might read it was of little interest - for the first few weeks I didn't tell anyone about the blog. Now I am pleased to see a few people keeping up with my rantings, but not really expecting a huge readership - I don't have the time to post 10 items a day, nor to do the research that I would really like to do in some areas. I seldom admit to having a pro-human blog. Being an anti-human environmentalist is so much more trendy, and destructive.
Newspapers are printed and sent to you every day, whether you like it or not. In Christchurch we have to open the paper just to throw it out, so might as well at least glance at the front page. Many newspapers are delivered free to groaning letter boxes. It is not like there is a shortage of material. While not free in many cases, the cost is minimal, spread over 100,000+ readers. So it's no surprise that blogs have fewer readers.
Blogs are different. They are hard to find, you have to make an effort to read them each day, and the type of material is not quite so consistent (few blogs give you the weather, automotive, classified ads and gardening articles each day). Blogs are a type of 'narrow-casting', sometimes to only a few readers.
So I don't think people should be disheartened with a small readership. The issue is your contribution to the debate, not your popularity.
At the very least, I hope Anti-dismal will keep the blog there for archival purposes, and perhaps the odd post when a burning issue develops. After all, you need something to fill in the days, and the mass-produced coffee in Cafe-101 isn't that good...:-)