Sunday, 3 July 2011
Vanishing blog syndrome
When you have established a happy relationship with a blog, discovering a “dear John” note posted on there , usually to the effect of “it’s not you, it’s me, I don’t have the time / energy/ commitment anymore” can come as a shock. It is also a bit of a wakeup call, you start to smell the coffee in the kitchen and remember all the times you had blogger’s block , or had to assuage your guilt at all the things (or people!) you were neglecting in order to blog. You remember that those of us who blog invest a whole lot of time and energy in it for what might be seen as very little return.
I guess there is a shelf life for the average blog, and as is claimed here, 95% of blogs fail– although I am not sure a blog has failed if it eventually closes, after all by that definition 100% of human lives fail, but I had a read around and there may be several reasons why people experience blog burnout.
1. Blogging is time consuming and takes discipline: I suppose this is so obvious that it hardly needs stating, but the main reason bloggers give up is the sheer amount of time needed to blog regularly. Perhaps less obvious is that it is not just composing blog posts that is demanding, but the requirement to think of suitable subjects, to read other blogs for inspiration, information and to be in the know about other opinions and perspectives. Bloggers are amateurs and, unless you know your subject well, it is easy to write a post that is misinformed, or one which rehashes ideas and offers nothing fresh.
2. Lacking a niche: The need to understand where your blog is coming from and what it is actually doing is also important. Weblogs work best if they have a clear voice and sense of where they are coming from. Occupying a niche, even if it is a deadly dull one (Anglican Covenant post anyone?) does ensure that those with similar interests are likely to come back to your blog. This is not to say there can’t be variety, always blogging on the same topic can also be a dead end.
3. Discouraged by lack of readership and comments: It takes time to build up blog traffic and a regular readership and some people want instant results and become discouraged by poor blog traffic, a lack of comments, or by negative comments. I really value my readers and their comments, but I never really expected anyone to read my blog and I hope (I think) I blog largely for myself. Having said that, comments are lovely and the experience of being linked to on another blog, especially one you read yourself, is a great motivator. I do believe bloggers should encourage each other more and am thinking of introducing some kind of weekly review of other blogs.
4. No passion for your topic: If you are not interested in your subjects, it is very unlikely anyone else will be! The Church of England is increasingly becoming a “spectator sport” for me, but that in itself is not necessarily incompatible with good blogging. I also hope that I will continue to be and feel passionate about spirituality and faith.
So, for all you bloggers out there, I hope and pray that you will keep your blogging fire and passion for as long as possible. For, as Ben Johnson so beautifully put it:
Time will not be ours forever,
He at length our good will sever.
Spend not then his gifts in vain;
Suns that set may rise again,
But if once we lose this light,
'Tis with us perpetual night.