Sunday, July 04, 2010

A Death

This post has been rolling around my head for a while now, and even though it may be disjointed and not well thought out, I'm going to write it today anyway.

The topic is the death of blogging. A few months back I write about the same topic and some of us had a good conversation around the thought and some others promised to blog more. Unfortunately, since that post there have been four more of my favorite blogs that have fell silent. For me that brings a mixture of anger and sadness.

The anger comes from a place that sees the instant-gratification of things like Facebook and Twitter being quicker to digest and use than blogs. The anger goes away (to some extent) when I realize the irony of that statement in relation to what blogging has done to physical book/thesis reading. So part of me doesn't want to complain, but the other part can't help being sad such a great thing is dying off.

Sure there are folks who still regularly blog. Guy still posts two or three times a day. Kimmy still puts up a thought-provoking post once every week or so. And following the family ramblings of Jen, Karin, and Melissa keeps me laughing. But those are the exceptions. On my blogroll alone, there are over fifteen bloggers who used to post often but rarely, if ever, post anymore. Of those fifteen, I know at least ten of them have a Facebook and/or Twitter account they regularly use.

I don't want this to be a bash post about those network sites or the people that use them. (See my irony comment a couple paragraphs back.) They are great tools to use and have fun with. And I know busy lifestyles make those sites much easier and quicker to access on the go. But like I said, I'm mad and sad that so many of the people I used to respect for their blogging have gone away. The reasons for their silence is as many as the headcount, and I am not attacking anyone for those reasons. I just wanted to state my emotions concerning their exits. Most of them used to write stuff that was really worthwhile to read and spend my time digesting.

The other side of the interaction is the amount of people still visiting the blogs. When no one is writing, there is no need for others to visit. I don't always write for comment-sake, but there are times I (or others) write a post that has great potential for conversation, but with no one reading or visiting the blogosphere anymore, the post lies dead where it was written. I saw this recently on my friend Betsy's blog, where she wrote a great piece on American versus French sentiments. I turned out to be the only responder. Two or three years ago that would have been at least a ten comment post and there could have been some great dialogue there and some opportunites for personal growth and development.

I think the sadness and madness have finally taken their toll on me. I have so much going on in my life I'm not sure I want to bother writing and typing here on Eleven anymore, especially if no one is around to read it. I simply see no reason to keep ignoring the obvious signs of the demise of the blog. It had it's time in the sun, and now it shall go away. I don't think I'll take Eleven down or anything, and I doubt I'll stop checking in with those that are still writing. But for now, I need a break from the gripping sense of loss. Which sounds weird to say about something inanimate like blogging, but I really do feel like something died. Quite sad.


Blogger Kimmy said...

I agree. There was something really cool about having a active blog circle. It felt like some type of close-knit community and I loved it! Deep discussions, healthy debates and lots of fun and games too. It was a great time.

Now when I write a post, it just doesn't feel the same. Not knowing if anyone is really even reading anymore takes a lot of the fun out of it.

I think Facebook is really cool and there is much I love about it, but I also kinda hate it. Sometimes I wish it didn't exist!

To use a food analogy, I feel like we went from having home-cooked meals around a big table, relaxing, enjoying the stopping at the drive-thru of the local fast food joint and waving "Hi" at each other as we pass by. Blogging was like a home-cooked meal. Looks like we are eating at McDonald's now.

For what it's worth, I hope you keep on blogging. Perhaps someday, Facebook and the like will fade away and blogging will make a comeback.

We can hope.

2:22 PM  
Blogger HennHouse said...

Kimmy.... I love the home-cooked meal analogy.

It is a commitment to continue to blog. Just as it is with any friendship, it takes work to keep it going. Perhaps more so with online friendships. Sometimes it is fun and easy, other times more work than ease. But I admit, I have made some deep connections while blogging. And now, those relationships are more important than how they started.

Relationships--real, deep, interesting relationships have ebbs and flows (days, weeks, months between visits) and I think the same is true with online friendships. Ebbs and flows. Ups and downs.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Swedish Mama said...

Sam, I check your blog almost everyday, looking for your latest wit. I enjoy reading the few I regularly visit. It is a great way to keep up to date with each other. A whole lot better than the pony express!! When time allows (what is extra time?) I check out some everyones favorites.

Summary: I am still reading...

9:43 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I must admit.
I don't blog like I would like to, since I use it mostly to share fun pictures of the kids with others and have not had the chance to put pictures on a computer for awhile.
Also, for me, it is pretty discouraging to add a blog when so few people even look at mine. If anyone at all... And if they do, no one comments. I don't feel like writing/posting when no one is looking. Anyway, like you, I don't do it for the comments, but it would be nice to know if people are even looking at it.
Oh well. I'll still go and check out those I choose to check, and I'll leave it at that. Thanks for sharing your emotions and thoughts. We down here like it when you post because sometimes it is the only connection we have with you that is so personal. And I will continue to post pictures on mine for family and friends who live far away and can't see the kids growing up. But I'm not sure that anyone cares. Love You!!!

10:14 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Even the responses so far kind of add to the frustration. Kimmy added a great analogy to the discussion and then the rest were from my family. (Thanks family for still reading.) Blogging used to be a network of people, ideas, attitudes, and it used to be far reaching for contributors. Now all it is, is a (albeit nice) way for families to keep up with each other. And in all reality, we should be doing more of that on the phone and even in emails than on the public interwebs.

Like I said in the post, I still faithfully read those people who are still posting. But in my current blog list of 29 blogs, there are only 10 who still most more than once or twice a month. And that doesn't count the over 20 blogs who have come and gone through the list who fell off because they stopped blogging. So if my math is right, there are less than 20% of once active bloggers -- that I was personally linked to -- still active. And the real question is, how many of those 80% are on facebook? If the number even hits the 20% mark, therin lies my sadness. Again, nothing against FB, but be honest, it's nothing like blogging.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

true. there is nothing like blogging. i fought joining the fb world for a long time. finally joined. but still keep at my blog, as my blog is mine. feels like it's my own. the fact that you gave me a shout out in this post (assuming im the jen you mentioned ;) makes it all worth it for me. i go through ups and downs with my blogging... just as i do with my everyday living. life. and the ups and downs are ok. totally natural. im so glad to have gotten to know you a bit through 'eleven'. selfishly, i hope this is just a valley, and that you will continue on as you wish. (((HUGS)))

3:22 PM  
Blogger Melissa Blair said...

I enjoy reading your posts, Sam (Jeff does too). I completely understand the need for a sabbatical...I just hope it is not permanent :).

As for the whole facebook vs. blogging thing. I love my FB because I can easily keep up with family and old friends. It gives me a sense of being a part of their everyday lives. I also love reading my blogs - I actually follow more than what I list on my blog. In addition to keeping up with the blogger's "everyday updates", I also get to see beyond that into a world of feeling and emotion that most people don't often share on places like Facebook. Thanks for letting us share in your world. I hope that you continue to blog on Eleven whenever the mood strikes you. Until then, enjoy reading from your blog list!

6:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

I have personally never liked blogging as I have alwasy felt frustrated and empty. While it is a means to stay connected with those you love, it becomes too necessary. People can forget how nice it is to hear someones voice, see facial reactions and have personal conversations. Plus converstaions often need tailored differently depending on the audience, especially if it is more personal.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous chelchel said...

Sam- I feel a bit like what Kristen said when she thinks that so few people read it anyway. The other reason that I limit the blogging is the protection of my self, the fear that I am putting myslef out there...If you do read mine regularly you have seen that theme, I have written so many blogs, published them, and then deleted it shortly after... I did just post a very intimate blog and decided to leave it up... we will see what happens!!! I do ready yours very regularly, and several others that post... Facebook is a means for me to stay connected with a lot of out of towners by sharing photos , etc. But I also feel a bit like the 200 plus "friends" or whatever I have on there is a joke...

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogging isn't for everyone. I don't feel I have much going with my life that anyone would care to read about. So- I quit wasting time with my blog & deleted it.

I figure, if you know well enough and wanna see what's up with me,send me a text or just drop by my house.

1:59 AM  
Blogger *Austin Mommy* said...

Well Sam, it looks like you got your 10 comment post written - well done! For me, FB is a means of staying connected, like others have said, and I can check in quickly, scroll down real quick and move on with my day, cause let's face it, LIFE IS BUSY for us right now! (Speaking of which, you guys should come check out our new place - we'll be in it in 2 weeks!!) I do enjoy blogging (although I do miss the deeper stuff, but my comments and discussions were too much sometimes, I was starting to get ill feelings after reading people's thoughts and opinions). Please don't quit on us now,'ve stuck with the good stuff all along - what would we readers do without it??

11:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sam, thought i'd swing bye your blog since it's been a while. (strange story i woke up last night in the middle of the night and thought i should pray for you. hope all is well) anyway interesting post. I think it would go back to the reason people blog.

For me it's a way for putting the finishing touches on things i've been chewing on and a way to keep friends and family informed about what we're up to. (we live physically far from them) So as I'm learning and breathing my blog is a way that i'm growing.

Now facebook and twitter are connecting points for me not informing points. So i connect to all my kids via facebook and twitter. There are ties that bind the connecting and the informing points together.

So for me it's all about reason behind the social media. This all might have been stated earlier in the comments i just skimmed them.

Hope ur summer is much cooler then where I am.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

When I used to post (somewhat) regularly, I did so for a few reasons. First, I always thought that the conversational nature and laid back feel of the blog allowed for a good way to write down thoughts that doesn't feel overbearingly academic and does feel comfortable. Oddly enough I've used the blog posting atmosphere to write a couple sermons because it just feels different than writing on MS word. I don't feel like I have to get every sentence exactly right so some figurative walls are broken down.

The second reason is that it made me feel good to get a bunch of comments. I'm a glutton for praise and sometimes I got it on the blog. Not so sure that people read or comment any more, so I guess I looked elsewhere for my praise lust...

I hope the next page that gets turned in your life is one where the story gets really exciting and nobody wants to put the book down.

I'm glad you're my friend and I'm grateful for your introducing me to the blogosphere.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

If you'd take one, i would give you a hug..ha.....don't be sad. I don't blog because I can't get my mind to THINK! That's the truth! I feel very insecure about my blog so I haven't put much forth into it. There's more to that, but I am also avoiding someones blog that makes me feel badly. I know that's not a great answer, but there it is. FWIW, I don't Facebook anymore either. I totally WANT to blog more than once a week, but I can't get my thoughts out there very well anymore and i get too frustrated. My dream is to blog daily, but you sure wouldn't know it from myblog...hahahahahaaaaa.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

And kimmy, I suppose we will talk about this when we meet tonight over tea.... :-)

3:29 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I'm so glad I got all my bookmarks restored and was able to come to read this. (My computer got completely restored and I forgot to export all my bookmarks).

I agree with Kimmy so much on this. I know that I have found that one of the things about Facebook and Twitter is that just about every new cell phone has those apps on them making it easy to access those sites and check in regularly. Now I'm not excusing the lack of blogging. I miss blogging SO VERY MUCH! I've been thinking about this a lot and how to get myself back into the swing of blogging. For me, reading this post may be just what I need to spark that fire again. Thank you for sharing Sam. And for the record, I've always enjoyed your blog!

10:05 AM  

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