The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

State of the Blog

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On systematicHR’s third anniversary, I suppose it’s fitting to do a state of the blog. The basics are rather easy. Over 700 posts on a variety of topics in HR strategy and technology, and over 1700 comments. This is of course excluding the 250,000 spam comments that I so luckily have software and services filtering out for me.

I suppose more interesting is the analysis of readership trends. You (my readers) have not been growing over the last six months, and systematicHR seems to be stuck somewhere between the 5-10,000 unique readers mark on a daily basis. While I’ll easily compete with other top HR blogs and even many commercial or association sites, I’ve been rather “bummed” that the growth has stopped. There are an additional 2000 readers who receive full posts through their e-mail boxes or in a feed reader that are not included in these numbers. Overall, it makes for quite a healthy readership. While I have not taken a survey recently, the direct e-mail subscribers lists and the IP’s the hits come though show that you are who I thought you would be. There is a good representation from vendors and consultants. But by far, most of you are from name brand Fortune “2000” companies. (and no, I don’t think that people with Yahoo addresses work in Yahoo HR!)

While it’s been a mediocre year growing the readership, I attribute this to a couple of things.

  1. I’m often late responding to current events or even to posts written by fellow bloggers. systematicHR is written in advance by at least 60 days and often quite a bit more. This is only because I also have a “real” job to attend to, and honestly don’t have the time on a daily basis to manage the site.
  2. I’m much less active in the HR blogosphere than I used to be. Not only has there been an explosion of other HR bloggers, but I don’t really have as much time to go and read them all. Therefore, I’m a bit less engaged in discussions than I used to be, and perhaps systematicHR suffers for the lack of being cited as often.

systematicHR did have a good year in 2007 from a PR standpoint. HREonline put us in their best of the web list, and once again we were a nominee to the best blog awards by I’ve always tried to stay out of the fray here. For one thing, it’s really not important to me. For another, I don’t consider myself a recruiting blog. Therefore, I have generally not even bothered to let the readership know these things are going on. From a different angle, posts at systematicHR have been syndicated in a variety of ways appearing in both mainstream national print media as well as other popular news websites.  But truly, it doesn’t matter much what everyone else thinks.  I think this is the best HR blog out there based on my own criteria.  I write on a daily basis and put out content that I think will be interesting to HR strategists and technologists.  I don’t write about other blogging personalities, about what I had for dinner last night, or about politics.  At systematicHR, we stick to the point and we do it every day.

Every year I have to mention one more thing. People ask why I do this and when I find the time. The truth is, there is no time, but there is a reason. As Jeff Hunter once said, “it’s a labor of love.” People engage in social media to participate. I’d like to think that I can contribute to the HR community is a broader and more extensive way than if I was just sitting behind my desk. I’d like to think that my ideas are interesting, useful, and very occasionally valuable. But that’s for someone else to decide, as I’m obviously biased.

That said, I’m honestly thinking the end is near. It was my wish to be able to blog publicly and not behind the anonymity that is required for my situation. The energy that is put into maintaining a separation between this site and my job is not insignificant. However, and on a more positive note, my original goal was to publish 1000 quality posts with good information and ideas. I think that milestone will come sometime in mid-2009, and whether I get there or not remains to be seen, but I promise that I’m not signing off quite yet. Regardless of what happens to my participation in this site, it has been a fulfilling and enjoyable endeavor.

Thanks for reading.


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8 responses to “State of the Blog”

  1. Carleen MacKay Avatar

    Keep on writing – your Blog matters! – It appeals to the “head” and the “heart.”

  2. Bill Kutik Avatar
    Bill Kutik

    Happy Anniversary, Dubs. While I understand your natural business concern about lack of growth, I think your numbers are terrific, and you should be justly proud. Despite your disclaimer, I have seen you be responsive to other bloggers (and columnists, like me) and would suggest that an occasional real-time posting would restore the growth in readership you’ve seen lagging. And don’t even think about giving it up: You would be sorely missed!

  3. Syris Avatar

    I would echo Mr. Kutik’s comments about responsiveness to other bloggers and the occasional real-time posting. As you noted, your desire is to be a part of the social media and like anything else, this whole tends to be greater than the sum of its parts. Engaging in debate on a timely basis would definitely serve to enhance value of this already valuable source of information and perspective.

    Oh, and I would echo one more thing — shoudl you choose to hang it up, you would be sorely missed!

  4. The Other Systematic Avatar

    Good work, amigo. I think you should do as you see fit, it’s worked well so far.

  5. Ron Katz Avatar

    I thoroughly enjoy your writings and musings. yours is one of the few blogs that I look at virtually every day. keep it up as long as it interests you. And consider having “guests’ post their thoughts too (not everyone wants to take on the responsibility of a daily blog). You may find some joy in keeping this going that way.


  6. Michael Specht Avatar


    First your readership is great & and testament to the time a& effort you have put in over the last few years. I completely understand your position. As someone who had withdrawn fairly heavily from the HR blogosphere for the last 2 years I know what this does to readership numbers. I also understand that the growth in HR blogs now makes it very difficult to response, I have fond memories of when there were only 150 HR related (HR, IR, Performance, Recruitment, Tech etc) blogs out there & I could name each one of them.

    You do stick to the point very well, and that is important given your requirement for anonymity as I suspect if you ventured into other areas your anonymity might be lost. Unlike myself a public blogger, one who tends to blog about all sorts of things which probably reduces the value of the blog overall but does allow relationships to be built with other bloggers. Of course you have also built relationships with several bloggers, including myself regardless.

    Now back to your blog. You write very well & have a fantastic understanding of the industry. To the point where it would sometimes be great for an even further deep look at a particular subject. Based on your readership have you considered taking on advertising to maybe fund a partial withdrawal from your day job and blogging part time for money? Even spinning this further into general consulting off the back of your readership? Or maybe reduce the posting frequency but keep the same quality content?

    I guess the bottom line it would be sad to see you stop posting, so just throwing a few ideas out there.

    Good luck!

  7. Martin Snyder Avatar

    Dubs you may have to consider that your natural market is around 12K-15K readers and that you already own it- your numbers won’t go up much if you have already have 90% share.

    It may be true that there is a law of diminishing returns and this thing you do takes too much of your life for not all that much visible reward, but maybe there is a middle ground.

    Great blogs and bloggers have lifecycles; I still miss Steve Gilliard (RIP) and there was a writer named Billmon who signed off a few years ago that was just amazing- I still miss his (or her) work every day.

    I hope you keep it up- even if you only post a few times a month or when stuff happens, your viewpoint is needed, valuable, and would be sorely missed, and keeping it alive may allow you to grow it someday when your market grows or when the time is right to brand it to your real self……

    And lastly, may I suggest you pop a Paypal button aboard and fundraise once or twice a year ? I would happily pay a few bucks ( I support many of my favorite blogs) and Im sure others would too- you wont get a new Porsche out of it, but some mad money does soothe the pain !

  8. systematicHR Avatar

    Thanks everyone for the very positive feedback.