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Disappeared

Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Dave!Tonight as I was waiting for my computer backup to process, I started going through my webfeeds to clear out any dead blogs I might be subscribed to. There were a lot more than I thought there would be... twenty-seven to be exact. The fact that these people have (apparently) given up on their blogs and moved on with their lives is not surprising. Most blogs don't last more than a year, and those that do seem to suffer burn-out as they pass year two. Even hitting that magical third year hump isn't the guarantee it once was. With social networks like Twitter and FaceBook becoming more and more of a time-sucking vortex, people seem to be blogging less and less.

What is surprising is how most people have chosen (presumably) to end their blog.

They just disappear one day and don't come back.

Thirteen of the blogs I deleted have a last entry which gives no indication that the author was even considering quitting. On the contrary, eight of them were making promises for future posts... like "I'll post pictures when I get back"... and "I'll write more about that later." Of course, those days never came. I can only assume that they were killed in a tragic accident or somehow ended up with amnesia and forgot they even have a blog.

Six of the blogs just kind of petered out. They posted less and less until all they were posting is random updates weeks (or even months) apart saying something like "I'm still alive" or "Haven't had time for blogging recently" or "Wow, I'm neglecting this blog lately, but I promise to start writing again soon!" Of course, they rarely do.

Five of the blogs mentioned something about "taking a break" or "going on hiatus." That's all well and good, but if it's been longer than six months, I'm just going to consider it a permanent hiatus.

Two of the blogs went private.

Only one blog... one... posted "It would seem I'm not blogging here anymore, so I guess I'll be shutting this site down soon." It's refreshing to have somebody actually come out and say it rather than leave you hanging and wondering if they're dead or alive. No promises. No dragging it out for a slow, painful death. Just a decision to stop blogging one day, and a note to let people know about it.

When I eventually pack it in, I hope that's the way I'll go. It only seems polite, really.

Hmmmm...

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Comments

  1. ssp says:

    That’s the reason why I’m always weary of people promising to write, publish or release something ‘soon’ or ‘in a few weeks’. Quite regularly that never happens _and_ that post of theirs leaves then looking like idiots.

    I also find it strange when people post ‘I’m alive’ posts. The more new-media-douchebag they are, the more people seem to be likely to say that, suggesting that their reader actually care. Posting a kitty photo would be just as good ‘I’m alive’-wise. It’d be cute as well.

    But the shocking thing is that some people’s blogs stop being updated _because_ they died. It may still be rare given the age group of most bloggers, but I found it quite disconcerting.

  2. theMike says:

    Hell, when you end it, you SHOULD say so, then come back blogging on a different site, then a year later retire again, only to start blogging on a yet different site.

    OR

    Big explosion.

  3. I think you might have quoted me there. I was a burnout, and it was fun while it lasted.

  4. Dave H says:

    I promise I’ll blog again soon…

    Actually I know I wont. And I know I’ve made that promise several times before. I’m just not a blogger! Good thing there’s people like you in the world Dave!

  5. Avitable says:

    I feel that if you’re a blogger participating in the community of blogging, it just seems like a courtesy to let that community of people (who have commented on your blog and supported you) know that you’re leaving. Otherwise, good riddance.

  6. whitenoise says:

    Thanks for saying that. Readers make an emotional investment in a blogger- it’s inconsiderate to ignore and devalue that relationship. I followed a twenty-something girl who had battled leukemia and was trying to live a full life. I feared the worst when she stopped writing until I saw her commentng randomly in other places almost a year later. Some sort of short post letting us know that she was okay, just pursuing other interests would have been appreciated.

  7. sandra says:

    You reminded me to check on when I’d last posted…which, as it turns out, was at the end of April. Hmm.

  8. Nobody owes me an explanation. Folks I met through blogging that I’m in contact with by other means (email, phone, whatever) are the ones I care about. But people I just know through their blogs – no. I’m not owed an explanation by people I don’t actually know.

  9. Dave2 says:

    Oh I agree with that… bloggers don’t really “owe” their readers anything. I’m just saying that once you’ve welcomed people into a bit of your life, it’s common courtesy to tell them you’re leaving rather than sneak away and leave them wondering if you’re dead or alive.

    If a blogger says “I’ll post photos from my trip tomorrow” and then disappears for months… I worry that they never made it home. That’s not really fair, is it?

  10. Hilly says:

    I completely agree with you. Were I to ever really leave blogging (which I am sure someday I will), I’d write a good-bye post and thank everyone for their readership/friendship or whatever.

    I hate it when people say “it’s just a blog!”. I mean yes, yes it is….however, you invest yourself in people’s lives and the sense of community then they just disappear? Seems somewhat flippant and uncaring to me.

  11. adena says:

    I know I suck, but it’s only been a weeks since I last posted!

  12. Tracy says:

    I’m sure I’m one of the yahoos who just got weeded out. I have all the intentions in the world to sit down and write, but I don’t. I am not a blogger, as much as I would love to be. I’m a way better commenter!

  13. the patient says:

    I’m not dead yet! Can’t help it if your reader doesn’t like my super special blog hacks.

  14. Finn says:

    When someone just stops blogging, I often wonder if they didn’t just die in a car accident or something and nobody knew how to get to their blog to tell us.

    I’m currently on hiatus, but I fully intend to be back at the end of next month.

    Unless I get hit by a bus.

  15. heather says:

    i am fairly new to the blogosphere (just a reader not a writer) and i was just thinking today how so many of the blogs that i have just started reading (i am new, they are not) have decided to end – i was wondering if it was me!

    don’t go just yet, o.k.?

  16. It’s hard not to be in denial about these “hiatus” times, especially when you’re an optimist with good intentions and a desire to keep in touch with friends you’ve developed through this medium. And I should know because I’m one of the guilty parties. I can’t believe it was over THREE YEARS of virtually nothing. I was sad that I was being bullied out of my beloved domain by stalkers and kept hoping that they would give up and get a life. No such luck.

  17. whall says:

    I like how some people don’t have time to keep up with their own blogs, and you have time to count, bag and tag them.

    Why do you hoard all the time? There are only 86,400 seconds in a day, yet you waste them like they were an unlimited resource. It’s not like minutes and hours are sold by the barrel, Dave. Wake up and be the conscientious CliMinute Change person I know you can be.

  18. claire says:

    I wonder if how people end their blogs corresponds to how many comments they get. If a blog has a lot of lurkers, the writer may not realize anyone would even notice if they stopped blogging…

  19. John says:

    I’m glad a seasoned veteran blogger addressed this issue. More and more, I find myself considering packing it in (move than ever lately) simply because, well, for a variety of reasons, really. As you pointed out, I think Facebook has REALLY detracted from blogging, and because it isn’t such a subculture, many more people seem to connect with it. As for me, most of my life is either not noteworthy enough that *I* would have any interest in reading about it, or too personal to make public knowledge. But if I decide to leave or go private, I will say goodbye. I think I want to stay, but it sure feels like my blog is slipping further into the abyss. RESPECT to those of you who have been around more than 3 years. : )

  20. Jessica Torres says:

    dude. i’d like to know if you were quitting.

    not that you owe me or anything like that
    i mean i’ve only been following you blog for a while
    by chance by getting the dave app for my mac
    but dude. i like your blog.
    i’m not interesting enough to keep one, but i’m glad you are man.

  21. Sybil Law says:

    I stopped for a few months and. in fact, it was YOUR comment that made me go and post again. All you said was something like, “SYBIL! Gasp – WHERE ARE YOU?” Or something like that, and I was like, “Crap! I suck. I at least need to let people know I am alive. I mean, the bloggers I talk to daily knew, but a lot didn’t. I felt awful. So.. thanks for making me feel awful! Ha – I am kidding. but I did appreciate your concern and your nudge to make me post. I don’t think I ever told you that – so, thanks. :)

  22. Göran says:

    I’ve always been bad at updating but I intend to continue in that pattern/behaviour.

    It is sad when good bloggers with interesting stories discontinue their writing. On the other hand, I’m lso bad at keeping up with everything in my feeds. Yours is one I won’t miss though.

  23. martymankins says:

    I know I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog with the “sorry it’s been a while” statements. But rest assured, IF… that’s a GIANT IF.. I ever pack it in with Banal Leakage, everyone will know, even my Twitter followers. But I don’t foresee that happening, even if my posting is irregular.

  24. Robin says:

    I used to feel that way until I had some personal issues I needed (and still need) to work out recently and blogging/tweeting was the LAST thing I needed or wanted to do.

    I think that if people are really that concerned, they will reach out to the party directly and ask what happened, that’s all. I know I have done that in the past. Just makes things easier, dont’cha think?

  25. Jeff says:

    It’s funny how the various information platforms have progressed (regressed?) in terms of ease and data volume. Years ago your only option was to publish and laboriously update a web site. Then blogs made it easier to write smaller and more frequent posts. Then MySpace and Facebook made it easier to quickly update the masses. Now you can Twitter with only 140 characters and send an update every 5 seconds if you want. What’s next… live webcam streaming of everything we’re seeing and hearing? Or does iPhone already have an app for that?

  26. Colin B. says:

    When I came back to life last week (blogally – it’s a word I just made up), I found a lot of the blogs in my newsreader were dead too. Because I hadn’t checked any of them in so long I had missed final posts or even posts informing us that they were moving. Only a couple had stopped updating and there were a few more that had simply gone offline.

    I didn’t delete any of the blogs that had not been updated in a while because I know that a lot of people will come back and I still want to read them. I was one of those who found comfort in twitter and since I didn’t have time for grown-up blogging I tried to keep my peeps (lol) updated through it. Twitter can easily take over and kill blogs unless it is used carefully.

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