Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Disappearing Blogs

Having kicked over the discussional anthill with my post the other day about health care (I'm still busy reading comments and links sent in by readers who have very definite ideas on the subject), I thought I'd back off for a day and discuss - what else? - blogs. More accurately, disappearing blogs.

Yesterday evening my coworker John forwarded me a link to this short article from Slashdot.org ("News For Nerds"): Most Blogs Now Abandoned. A link in that article led me to the original article from the New York Times, Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest, which contained this quote: "According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days."

Why do blogs die?

In some cases, it's because the original thrill goes away as bloggers discover that everyone in the world isn't interested in what they have to say. It can be tough writing something new each day, knowing that only a tiny handful of people are reading it, and fewer of those are interested enough to comment. In my own case, it took more than a year for my blog to get more than a few hits per week and to start generating comments ... today, I average between 30-50 hits per day, with spikes when the occasional post is picked up by DC Blogs or linked to another blog or news article.

Sometimes, the blogger gets started with the idea that there's money to be made in blogging. There may be, but there probably aren't more than a few of those 133 million blogs Technorati tracks that will ever make enough money to make them worth the time and effort required to keep them up.

In other cases, the blogger just runs out of topics or interest. This is a problem I don't have, being interested in just about everything and full of opinions on all of it. There are very few days I sit down at the keyboard and wonder what on earth to blog about, and I like to think that the end result is interesting to my readers.

Perhaps it's not a lack of topics or interest, but a desire only to post when one has something worthwhile to say, rather than just churn out words to fill blank space. I think Gilahi, one of my favorite bloggers, falls into this category.

Limited time is another factor. Blogging represents an investment of time that many people don't have too much of. It takes me about 30 minutes to an hour to do an average post, and I can only manage the time by doing it very early in the morning, before all the other demands on my time ramp up. I'm always amazed that Amanda posts so regularly, despite the incredible demands of an active toddler and her frequent travels around Asia. Then there are folks like Mike, who never tire of reminding us that they're retired and have all the time in the world. $%#&!.

Finally, some bloggers may find that they don't want to give up their online anonymity, or are upset by some of the comments their posts received. I've had occasional disagreements with some readers of my blog (right, lacochran and SuzyQ?), but never a serious flame war. The closest I came was a comment I received a few years ago that started with "You're an idiot" and went downhill from there.

Blogs disappear or are updated only occasionally for any number of reasons. Those that remain are powered by the interest of their owners and the support of their readers. I enjoy blogging as a creative outlet and an opportunity to vent on all the things that interest me (or piss me off, which is just as often the case).

But speaking of time for blogging, that time is now over. It's time to go to work. Darn. But at least I get paid for doing that.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

Most people get bored or too busy. Guess it says something for me, eh? I've been blogging since August of 2002

Alex said...

I think you hit it; the large part of the world who thought a) the rest of the world would be reading, b) there was oodles of money to be made. Outside a few famous bloggers, that just isn't the case.

Those who enjoy writing and have/make the time for it seem to stick around longer.

Gilahi said...

"...one of my favorite bloggers..."

Really? I had no idea. I'm flattered. Thanks!

Leslie David said...

It seems that as long as people do crazy stuff there's plenty of material for you to blog about.

Amanda said...

I'm one of those that started blogging thinking of the money but I soon discovered that the people I 'met' interested me a lot more. I still leave one of those ads on my blog though....$25 every 3 months is better than nothing :)

SusieQ said...

I like your blog, Bilbo, because you are witty and you have opinions. Plus, I know I can count on your writing something every day.

Do not take offense when I disagree with you and state my own opinion. Like yourself, I am only being an American when I do that. :-)

Maybe, just maybe, we will get this health care thing settled to the satisfaction of most. You might not like him personally or his politics, but Newt has some great ideas for health care reform. Smart man!

I follow a handful of blogs religiously. Some of these blogs invite discussion which I thoroughly enjoy. We are respectful, but we don't all agree and that is what makes it so stimulating and fun. I have come to know these bloggers quite well and consider them my friends.

My poor little blog cries out for my attention. I am not as dedicated to posting as you and others. I would like to post something at least once a week, but usually posting once a month is all I manage these days. I find that writing a post takes much more time and effort than writing a few comments at other people's blogs.

Keep up the good work.

Melissa B. said...

I've been in the blogosphere for 15 months, and haven't lost interest yet. I think I may fall in your category...I'm opinionated, and hardly ever run out of things to say. But because I'm employed by Our Humble High School, sometimes those opinions must be tempered in the name of a paycheck.

The thing that frustrates me the most about blogging is the comments...or lack, thereof. I get dozens of page-views per day, but on a GOOD day I get maybe a dozen comments. I'm told I need to get over my concern. My blog is by me, for me. If others enjoy it, that's just gravy, I guess.

Mike said...

Hey, I was actually busy today. And it's killin' me. I think I need a nap before I go to bed.

twinkie said...

I've been blogging since 2006 and I do it just because I'm narcissistic and love the sound of my own voice errr.... words on paper...errr... computer screen. But sometimes I do neglect it a little.