Where, oh where, have they gone? Where have “who” gone? Why bloggers, of course!
I have a love hate relationship with the feed reader which WordPress provides. They just call it “Reader” as if there were no other options but we all know that’s not true. However, I am lazy, incredibly lazy, and I’m quite happy just clicking on the icon in my WordPress application and going to the internal reader they provide. I don’t want to mess around with other applications.
For a few years not, in spite of my faithful use of Reader, Reader has not been faithful to me — or to all the people I try to follow. Reader decides quite arbitrarily who I want to follow and when. And it thinks nothing of shortening the number of blogs I want to see. As a result I have to manually dig into the list of managed blogs so as to force WordPress to search for recent blogs. I almost think it would be easier to use another feed reader. (Ah, but there’s the rub. I try to keep email to a minimum. Too many blogs in my mailbox seems oppressive and when they arrive that way I tend to trash them rather than read them. I’d rather go to Reader when I’m in the mood instead of seeing a cluttered mailbox all the time.)
So, the other day when I was feeling bored (a very rare occurrence), I satisfied my brain by looking back on blogs I used to follow with great interest. I don’t know if you know what I mean by “with great interest” — but to me it means that like great old friends I enjoy getting caught up but I don’t want them knocking at my door all the time.
Wow. What a surprise. More than 60% of of my “blogger friends” have stopped publishing! Perhaps I have fickle blogging friends? Or perhaps blogging is something that a lot of people try for a while and tire of the process. Or they tire of the discipline. Maybe the have no discipline. Or they tire of searching for new ideas about which to write. Whatever the reason there are a lot of people I was enjoying getting to know who have withdrawn from this little world of WordPress Blogging.
WordPress Reader has a function called “Discover” and this morning quite on a whim I clicked that button. I’ve done it a few times before but the results produced have never appealed to me so I rarely use the feature. Today, however, the first blog in the list was one about analyzing the content of your blog. I didn’t read the post. I did skim over the post though…
What seeing dissertation on how to make your blog better did for me was to help me understand one of the reasons I think folks give up on blogging is that they do it for the wrong reasons. They are impressed with the look and feel of someone else’s blog and they think that their own version isn’t up to snuff. Or they read about what you’re “supposed to do” with your blog, or how you’re blog is supposed to function and they judge themselves unworthy. Next thing you know it’s been two months since they last wrote, and then a year, and then simply perpetual silence.
I’m sure a lot of folks make money off their blog. Or at least a lot of folks seem to try to make money off their blog. Money has never been much of a motivator for me. And things I try to do just to make money never last very long. Besides, the Interweb world is a big and ugly place — trying to compete here for moolah is a thankless job: you are subject to whims and ever changing trends; one day you’re in, one day you’re out.
I’m sure a lot of folks start their blog to inform family and friends of what they are up to. Travelers are great for doing this, but the fact is that not everyone wants it rubbed in their nose the fact that someone is traveling and they are stuck at home — not traveling. Others spend their efforts writing yet another review of the same touristy destinations that 90% of the population have already visited. No sense in telling people who have already seen the Taj Mahal what it looks like. Or Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Or the Washington Monument in D.C.
It’s not a very popular way to blog but I have alway relied on the idea that there will always be a few people out there with whom I can connect. For some odd reason I communicate in a way they understand. Or I amuse them. Or I madden them and they can’t stay away, waiting to hear what complete and utter nonsense I will spout today, or tomorrow. It’s simply a matter that in a big world there are a few people you appeal to.
If I was vain I’d be depressed that my blog gets so few views. But then I’ve never been the popular guy — not at school, not at work, not at church. I have my friends, and associates, but people have never flocked to me as if drawn by some magical force — or my personality. And I accept that. In life and as a blogger.
Truth be told, I blog mostly for myself. I blog to process life; to allow the process of getting words onto paper to solidify my thoughts about all and sundry. Maybe I help others do the same. Maybe I’m just a momentary amusement. A literary amuse bauche: a verbal taste treat of some odd sort. I’ve been blogging off and on since 2007 at least. I had a few non-Wordpress-hosted blogs that may not have been included in that period, but it’s something that has been a regular part of my life for a relatively long time.
I don’t really journal. Peggy has a journal that she keeps of our activities. I suppose I could say blogging is my kind of journalling — but not really. I don’t blog to record what has happened in my life — as you know. Usually my blog is three or four days behind what’s happened. In part because it’s a security issue with me. I don’t necessarily want the wide, wide world to know where I am at any and every moment in time. But also I write so that I have a couple day’s posts queued up and ready to go — so they can’t be precisely timely as if I was writing to assume what was going to happen.
I miss those friends. I still have others. A lot of the folks I “met” while RV’ing and who were blogging about their travels have stopped writing. Perhaps they stopped RV’ing and now they think they have nothing to say. Maybe. Maybe not. In the meantime I’ve found new interests. I’m still interested in architecture, and photography, and bonsai, and…. well, it’s a long list. So I’m not without interesting topics to learn about. And I hope that there are a few who can find my blog with or without the help of WordPress Reader.
Goodbye to those of you who have given up on blogging. I’ll miss you. I utter those words (with my fingers) in the hopes that the echoes will reach you through the mists of the interWebs and give you comfort that all your efforts were well received even if you doubt your own ability. See you again, some day.