We have moved blogs to http://sercusw.wordpress.com The new blog will be focused on sustainability issues as before but will also highlight work being carried out at the Sustainable Environment Research Centre at the University of South Wales. It will also … Continue reading
The Wales Blog Awards have released their long list of nominated blogs, including categories for Best Sports Blog, Best Political Blog, Best Welsh Language Blog, Best Community Blog, Best Lifestyle Blog, Best Writing on a Blog and Best Technology Blog.
As far as I can tell, there are no Welsh language blogs in any category aside from Best Welsh Language Blog (no I haven’t checked them all, so yes, I could be wrong). As far as I can tell, nominators were free to choose whatever category they wanted to compete in.
I’m not sure what (if anything) this tells us about Welsh language blogging, did Welsh language bloggers only chose to compete in the Welsh language category, were the English language blogs just judged to be better than the Welsh language blogs, were Welsh language blogs not considered in non Welsh language categories?
Does anyone have any insight on these matters? Is Welsh language blogging in a malaise, is blogging just old hat and are all the cwl cats are now tweeting?
Anyway – nice to see some of the best of Welsh language blogging celebrated – congratulations to all those who were nominated – I’m looking forward to the results on the 14th October!
This morning I woke up and knew where the mistake was in the calculations.
So the estimate was wrong, but how wrong…
...and wrong where?
The base of the 22% from the OII was internet users, whereas for the Welsh language estimate I used the whole poulation. Doh! Should have spotted that one!
Now I don’t have the historical figures to hand, but I have good reason to belive that a reasonable current estimate for use of the internet by fluent Welsh speakers is 67%.
This would give a base of 18,3342 internet using, competent Welsh writers, if 22% of these were blogging, we would have about 40,335 blogs.
Well I guess we have accounted for 20,000 “missing” blogs, now we just need to account for the other 40,000.
Actually once I get back to work (yes I am on holiday) I should be able to calculate a pretty accurate estime for 2006 as I think I have a complete set of all the necessary statistics for that year.
I was reflecting on my last blog post about opportunities provided by new media and whether or not the Welsh language was taking advantage of these opportunities, and this led me to wonder how many Welsh language blogs we would expect there to be, and how many there actually are. So I set out to do some estimates…
According to the Oxford Internet Institute’s The Internet in Britain 2009 report (pdf 1.9MB) 22% of people in Britain aged 14+ write a blog.
Messing about rather crudely with figures from the Welsh Language Board’s The Welsh Language Use Surveys of 2004-06 report (pdf) I arrive at a figure of 273,646 Welsh speakers aged 14+ who describe the extent to which they can write Welsh as “very well” or “well”.
Now these numbers are somewhat rough around the edges and the time periods don’t match – but if we assumed that 22% of these Welsh speakers were blogging, that would suggest they would create somewhere in the region of 60,200 blogs. If we use the 2005 figure for blogging in Britain (17%) that would suggest somewhere in the region of 46,500 blogs.
So how many Welsh language blogs are there? Well, I would put a hugely optimistic top figure of 200, including blogs produced by learners, people from overseas, blogs which are pretty much inactive and so on. If we are talking about blogs produced from within Wales, written “well” or “very well” in Welsh and updated at least every couple of months, I would be surprised if there were more than 100.
Whichever way you look at it I recon we are somewhere in the region of 46-60,000 blogs short. Now my first instinct is simply to think I have a decimal place wrong somewhere – embarrassing as that would be, I would actually be quite relieved! Feel free to point out the obvious error I have overlooked! However, you need to move that decimal point quite a lot to reduce the deficit to zero.
So how can we explain this apparent deficit?
1) Actually blogging isn’t evenly distributed across Britain – people in Wales don’t blog much.
2) Actually blogging isn’t evenly distributed across languages, Welsh speakers don’t blog much.
3) Actually 22% (or 17%) of Welsh speakers do blog, they just do it in English.
4) Actually my maths was just horribly wrong and there is no deficit.
5) Errors and differences in the statistics have been compounded and multipled to give an inaccurate estimate.
6) Open to suggestions…
Even if I am only vaguely right on my numbers, and if the explanation is 1, 2, or 3, this seems remarkable. It certainly for me raises some interesting questions about the vitality of the Welsh language online.
Whilst rummaging through the comments on Rhys’ Smiling Under Buses in the hope of finding something to blog about I came across this interesting tidbit – a 30 minute programme on Gaelic speakers and blogging. It’s in Gaelic with subtitles, but I can’t tell you much more than that at the moment as I don’t have 30 minutes to watch it! I’m sure there is some clever way I could embed it here, but lacking time I shall just provide you with the link…
Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price has won the British Computer Society’s best MP website award, as reported in a piece on the BBCs website. It is not entirely clear what the criteria used were, though they are reported as “design, engagement, accessibility” with the best overall considered to be an outstanding example of the very best incorporation of all three qualities.
What encourages me about this is that Adam’s website is bilingual, showing that it is entirely possible to have an excellent site and make a bilingual provision – the two are not mutually exclusive as many people who resist making a bilingual provision might like us to believe.
However it is interesting to note that his blog, whilst featuring entries in both Welsh and English is not bilingual (not every story is available in both languages). This pattern of presenting relatively static content bilingually and more volatile content monolingually (usually in English) has certainly been a characteristic of Welsh political party websites, though Plaid has adopted a fully bilingual approach since the launch of their redesigned and rebranded website. Similar attitudes towards volatile content can also be seen on some commercial sites, Outlook Expeditions for example state “Due to the dynamic nature of this website we apologise we are unable to produce a Welsh translation. ” They do however offer to send a copy of their bilingual brochure (again static content). Once again we see the Welsh language being minorised not only in terms of content availability, but also in terms of a language of consumption (after translation) rather than original creation.
Thanks to Beverley for pointing this story out to me.