There have been a few posts floating around on the age and the history of the Bloggernacle. This post is all about the future of this collection of Mormon blogs and those who visit them that we call the Bloggernacle.
How big are we?
LDS blogs: Dave at A Soft Answer has tried to keep up with all of the Mormon blogs out there. He has a new site designed for that purpose alone. There are distinctions that have arisen: There are Mormon blogs (blogs about Mormon topics) and there are blogs by Mormons (Blogs about topics unrelated to their Mormonism). And of course there are plenty that mix in a little of both. I help run ldsblogs.org (home of the Mormon Archipelago) and there we try to include feeds for the active Mormon blogs that we know of (at least those that meet some minimum requirements.) There are currently just over 40 active Mormon blogs on that list.
Current Bloggernacle traffic numbers: The daily traffic to these blogs ranges from almost 0 to 2000+ visits per day. It is nearly impossible to know how many actual people log on to the Bloggernacle on any given day because most counters report visits, not unique daily visitors; but I image it is somewhere approaching 2000 unique users everyday. My guess is that there are a lot of people that only check the blogs out on occasion so I suspect that perhaps up to 12,000 saints have ever visited out a Mormon blog. Perhaps half of those users check back on very rare occasion and the other half have no interest. That’s a pretty big number, really. It surpasses the numbers of subscribers to BYU Studies, Dialogue, and Sunstone combined. When compared to the overall church it is a small number still.
How big will we get?
My guess is that the Bloggernacle has more than doubled in size in the last 12 months. If we look at the number of blogs, only a handful of smaller Mormon blogs have persevered from last August until now. Most of the active smaller blogs are less than a year old. Group blogs seem to have more longevity (probably because there are plenty of backup bloggers if a few bow out). But even with a healthy attrition rate, my guess is that we will have more than 120 active Mormon blogs running by August of 2006 (a 200% gain). There will probably be some consolidation and new group blogs formed as well.
When it comes to users, I suspect that last August there may have been 500-800 daily unique Bloggernacle visitors instead of the 1500-2000 we see today. So what will the numbers be like next August? Well I’ll guess a 200% increase in daily users as well. That would put the number of individual Mormons checking out one or more of the islands in the Bloggernacle at about 6000. If we are staying with this tripling theme that would mean the total number of Mormons that have ever visited any LDS blog would be up to 36,000 by then.
What will the ‘Nacle look like in August of 2006?
Personnel turnover: I suspect that several of the current mainstay bloggers in the ‘Nacle will have burned out or will have real jobs in a year and will have given the hobby up as a result. We, of course, will have lots of new move-ins that will pick up the slack, though.
Veterans Disease: The old-timer post-writing bloggers will get increasingly bored with the subjects that newcomers want to talk about and accordingly will end up posting on increasingly obscure or controversial subjects just to stay interested. This will drive many newcomers to newer blogs where they can talk about those things that seem like old hat to the grizzled veterans.
Mormon Studies: Those who are able to produce quality Mormon studies pieces will begin to publish papers directly online in permanent pages. Then lots of posts will immediately go up discussing the strengths, weaknesses, and implications of the papers. Some bloggers will then submit revised drafts of the same papers to those off-line Mormon Studies Journals to reach the few techno-phobes that aren’t in the ‘Nacle yet. Eventually all will realize that the offline version only matters to the aspiring college professors out there and will begin to only publish where the vast majority of readers are – in the ever-growing Bloggernacle.
Brethren, meet the Bloggernacle
How big must the Bloggernacle become before the Brethren start to care? One could argue that they will never care, but that seems unlikely. If Mormon blogs and bloggers begin influencing large numbers of saints, Church leaders will care about that influence. Last Spring over at T&S were guessing on which General Conference will be the first to include a talk mentioning the Bloggernacle (in whatever name they give it). I guessed April of 2006 back in March. I think it might take longer than that now. I would say it has a pretty good chance of happening by October of next year, though. What do you think?