May 29, 2007

Blogosphere On Holiday Drops RSS Feeds by 40%

On Saturday, I speculated that U.S. Web traffic was down significantly for the Memorial Day weekend, as I had seen a spike in the percentage of international visits to the blog. But the drop-off wasn't nearly as stark as the reduction in total posts received by my tracked RSS feeds in Google Reader for a typical Monday. On the whole, total postings were down on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with Monday's holiday being down more than 40% off average.

I typically read about 500 RSS items per weekday, and half that number on Saturday and Sunday, according to my Google Reader trends.

My Google Reader stats, by day, with Mondays marked.

  • On May 28th, Memorial Day, I read exactly 300 items.
  • On May 21st, I read 509 items.
  • On May 14th, I read 553 items.
  • On May 7th, I read 530 items.
  • On April 30th, I read 515 items.

Assuming the total number of RSS feeds I read remained constant, the usual 526.75 average I could expect for a Monday had been whittled down by 44%.

Sunday and Saturday were also down, but to a lower degree. On May 27th, I read 259 items, whereas my typical Sunday list tops 280. The decline was only about 10%. On May 26th, I read 248 items, whereas a typical Saturday list is about 260. Saturdays are almost always the lightest days of the week, and the drop-off was miniscule.

Causes for the decline are numerous, of course. With most U.S. offices close, you would see a drop of work-related news, technology events to cover, and press releases to hit the wires. Some took the holiday away from the computer altogether. Others considered Monday a blog holiday as well. But rather than just have a gut feeling that traffic was down overall, Google Reader's stats give us a statistical benchmark.