Is blogging dead? Or is it just dying?

Greenhouse lettuce and chervil

So:  What is it that makes people read other people’s blogs?  It was a Friday afternoon and my blog aggregator had been silent for hours.  Granted, historically Fridays (for whatever reason) aren’t a big day for posting…but as someone looking for a quick non-work-thought fix, I missed the lack of input.  And because my blog reader follows about 100 blogs, this silence was fairly deafening.

Where is everyone going?  Is Facebook so important a source of infotainment that it’s sucking all the communication bandwidth?  Is Twitter?  Or is it just that the blog format (words, pictures, generally more than 140 characters) is too…long both to write or to read?

Perhaps it’s just the blogs I read.  Those crowding my aggregator tend to be of the homesteady/gardeny/foody stripe:  all very much in the Look What I Can Do mode, and once someone’s accomplished something (their hens lay, their tomatoes ripen, their charcuterie dry) then it’s, well, done.  No need to revisit it, to post about it twice.  But (for what it’s worth) I haven’t particularly noticed the numbers of folks who read this blog fading…and we all know I go over the same material again and again.

[Also for what it is worth, I don’t think I plan to stop blogging any time soon:  I enjoy the writing exercise, the dialogue; and, strangely, I have a (perhaps hyperinflated) sense that what I say might be of interest to others.  I try to talk about my strange path without being too much of a pedant, too much of a tyrant.]

Anyway, wherever you are, you 100 bloggers, I miss you!  Whether I read you because you’re an emotional train wreck, because of your sparkling personality, your good stories, or because you likewise teach ME, I just wish you would post more often.

I would especially like it if you posted, say, during a long Friday afternoon?

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34 responses to “Is blogging dead? Or is it just dying?

  1. Phew – I was worried you were going to say you were done with blogging. I definitely learn a lot coming here and even if you repeat information, it is because what we do is so cyclical. I appreciate the inspiration, reminders, and added depth of knowledge you provide. Thank you and I’m trilled that you aren’t going anywhere soon!

  2. Well I’m still here and always look forward to reading your posts…and please do repeat topics as I am a bit of a slow learner.:)

  3. I’ve noticed a lot of my favorite blogs going silent lately—and these were women that posted A LOT. So, I don’t know what is going on, but I miss them.

  4. I’ve noticed that too sometimes… I think it’s not that blogging is dying out; it’s that individual blogs do. New ones pop up to fill their place, if you can find them.

  5. I might be a silent reader and learner from your weekly posts ,but I faithfully visit every Monday. Both our daughter and myself are interested in your topics so please keep them coming.

  6. Does your counter pick up hits if you are only read in the reader and not followed all the way to the post? I can almost never go to the posts directly anymore because of our websense blocks at work (actually I’m surprised I got here today because usually your site is blocked to me which means I can’t talk back to you for the most part). And PLEASE don’t stop writing!

  7. well wasn’t that just a grammatical disaster? more coffee, please. and pass me another database.

  8. Some post too much, and some post too little, and some make the porridge just right. (Now, come to think of it, why wouldn’t all the bears’ porridge be more of less the same temperature…?)

    I think it’s necessary to develop enough of an audience that one gets enough response that one doesn’t feel one is speaking to the void. If I were to post again and again without comment from the presumed readership, I’d have a hard time keeping it up. And even if there is reasonable response, it’s so open-ended–are we supposed to do this for freakin’ ever? Then, as you say, there’s the repetitive aspect that creeps in after a while, that can make the writing and topics seem stale for both writer and reader. Also, there’s the lonely, individualistic nature of it–columnists at newspapers, magazines, or online “publications” have editors and colleagues to bounce ideas off of. With a blog I imagine most folks are on their own.

    And finally (I could have made progress on a blog post in this time…), I think Facebook and Twitter do draw people away from blogs. I’ve noticed that since I started mentioning new posts on my Facebook page, people read the blog, but leave comments on Facebook, not the blog, where I’d rather see them.

    Well, blog on, El. I remain a faithful reader (and do sometimes post on Fridays!)~ Brett

  9. I also let out a “phew!” by the end of your post – I was hoping that it wasn’t the end for the FGtW journal! I noticed also that it is a slow trend of my favorite gardening/homesteading journals going quiet… I blame the change of weather. Everyone’s probably so busy keeping things up in their homes, so I understand!
    But for FGtW – I am a faithful Monday-reader! Sometimes I will visit mid-week when the other blogs are slow, and read your older posts for inspiration. Personally, I love your method of blogging, it’s seasonal! And waiting each week for a new post makes me enjoy them that much more.
    It still shocks me to see The Girl through the years, she’s getting so big! 😀

  10. I think, maybe, that this is the ‘slow down and unwind’ time of year for many homesteaders/gardeners. There just isn’t as much going on- at least at my house. I mean, who wants to hear, again, that it’s 28 and overcast. Of course, there are always blogs that come and go, but I think many will be back when they’ve got something to say.

  11. I agree it is a bit difficult finding a blog written on a fairly regular basis that is interesting in a broad sense. Somethimes they blog seems to take a very personal turn or a blogger has other life issues with which they must deal. Just finding a good blog can be hard. Sometimes I also feel I am talking to the void.

  12. I’ve noticed the same thing. I guess it’s time to follow some more blogs to replace those that have gone silent. All I know is it’s really annoying to log in when you want something to read and have nothing there! I used to never be able to catch up with my reader.

  13. I don’t think blogging is dead or even dying, but it is changing. .Ed and I post whenever we have something that we think is interesting or that we want to remember. As long as Google is still around we have our garden journal to read or search whenever we want .Interest my blog peaked in 2010. For the most part readers come and go but some are as faithful as the sunrise.. It is funny that some people don’t read blogs because they have not yet discovered them and others have moved on to something newer. By the way is it me or is it snowing on your greens?

  14. I don’t know the answer to your question, but the WordPress snowflakes are causing weird behavior in Firefox. There is a “follow” tab at the bottom of the screen with a scroll bar and it’s flicking up and down like a jumping bean. Please, make it stop … !

  15. Yeah! the snowflakes are back. I found that during the holidays and the summer blogging seems to drift off. Folks are busy during holidays, especially from Thanksgiving through New Years. Good for them, they seem to want to spend their time with friends and family. Summer is just busy with kids out of school.

    Thanks for keeping on. I check in every day, even though you post once a week.

  16. Well, you certainly haven’t died, blogwise.
    When my life feels overwhelming, I tend to circle the wagons and not post. But I’m enjoying posting more, even if few people respond. I assume that should I keep it up for a good long while it would help get my readership up. No answers — people have a lot of claims on their interests these days.

  17. Huh, I haven’t really noticed that happening personally. I check my blogroll every single day, sometimes twice when I’m bored! and I literally click on the link from the sidebar in my blog. My programmer fiance keeps telling me to get a reader or something to “speed up” my time spent checking 50 blogs… but I honestly like clicking every day, as I get to remind myself of recipes recently posted that I want to make, or just remind me where everyone is.

    But I’ve gone back and forth with lots of posts and then no posts, simply due to life. And once you get out of posting, it’s hard to get back in the habit. So I can understand the not-posting business. 😛

    Thanks for keeping up your own postings!

  18. I started with FB and twitter and couldn’t do what I wanted to which was to write. For now blogging seems to be the answer for me to keep the brain stimulated by writing a more in depth piece. I never was a big writer do I find it interesting that I am enjoying it. Now I just need an easy way to find blogs and have them update to an app on my mobile device.

  19. I haven’t been around Blog Land for long, but I have seen blog postings ebb and flow, too. I do think that the instant gratification facebook and twitter offers is something to consider when looking at where everyone is going, but personally, I prefer the stories and connections that are found and made through blogging. I am grateful to read what others choose to write and am grateful people choose to read what I have to write. I don’t intend to go anywhere any time soon, and I hope that you don’t either 🙂

  20. I’d chalk it up to back timing. I have so less time than I used to, and last Friday was a long day that followed a 12 hour day at work Thursday. Saturday and Sunday I did laundry (which involved hanging it on the new Homesteader rack in the living room, and then managing that so it would all dry) and working on a woodworking project for the dining room that I started back before I went back to work.

    Now I only have time to skim through my blogs, and most don’t get comments. I’m just tired; it’s not you.

  21. Well, December is down time for most gardening/farming blogs. Not mujch going on over here, I know. ALso I have done the round of the seasons four times on my blog and I do tend to struggle a bit with coming up with new interesting things to say. I have actually been thinking recently if I should open up the format of my blog a bit more into other topics, and if I do, should I change the name? I am not going anywhere, I think – I plan to be around next year and the year after that, but I have definitely been slowing down on the posting lately.

  22. I agree somewht that it’s the time of year. I try to get a new post up about once a week, and since I work on it over several days, it’s almost always too long for some people to hang in there to the end. I find that lots of people prefer short little one-topic blog posts and I am just not able to do that somehow.
    I find myself looking forward to the comments and when no one comments I do feel like I’m blogging into the void. Sometimes I look at my stats and it gets me a little discouraged when I see that, if everyone stuck with me, I’d have had 26 followers and not 21.
    But then as long as there is one person who comments regularly, or one person who tells me they enjoy my blog, I imagine I’ll keep blogging. My blog serves my own purposes as well… it is similar to a journal with the added benefit of pictures. As I compose my blog, it helps me to organize and figure out what I should do next. It holds me accountable in making me finish things I;ve started.
    But on the down side, it does tie up a lot of my time. Time that I should be using in DOING rather than TALKING. One has to be careful not to divulge too much info due to on-line predators. And there are, of course, personal things that happen to us that we just wouldn’t tell the world about, but which affect our attitudes and take up our time.

  23. Wow! You’ve struck a chord with this one.

    I was just scrolling through my feed reader trying to find something other than work to occupy me. I didn’t find much.

  24. Oh please don’t ever stop blogging, I still have so much to learn and we JUST bought this place. right now I am learning that it is cold in the winter. yep. news to me, who has lived in the city in a not-so-drafty home, snug with a great HVAC system. Now that we have been here a month and put in a new gas line, we have also discovered how quickly one goes through a tank of propane. We spent the morning buying a space heater (bought 2 will return one and purchase another of the 1st kind), discussing ways to weatherstrip and thinking about some good old fashioned heavy winter curtains and draft blockers. We have discovered that those who lived hear before may have thought they had a wood burning stove, but it is most definitely for coal only. This place is becoming a moneypit in winter and yet I love it. I need you and your inspiration to get me through spring time for my first garden on my own:)

  25. p.s. if you or your readers have great strategies for staying warm in an old, drafty home under renovation, post away!!!!!

  26. I hope you don’t stop. I am looking forward to your posts.

  27. Yep. Agreed. One, it’s December. Not having a greenhouse means not a whole lot of action growing anything more than my feral children this time of year. 😉
    I’m ashamed to be a Facebook gal myself. Though I try to check only once a day… my local friends/community/gardeners/midwives and birth workers are all there and it’s a fast, easy way to see what’s happening around our town (plus, I can do so on my phone!). I miss blogging and keep wondering how I was able to do so fairly regularly before but can’t do it now. Having a crazy toddler running around definitely cuts down my screen time, period. Besides not posting much myself, I only check my favorite blogs once or twice a month (!). Something is changing…makes me a little sad.

  28. I’m afraid I’m guilty as charged, El! I have stopped reading many blogs regularly as I had in the past for the quick fix of Facebook. One of my blogger friends, Maria Verivaki, started a Facebook page about a year ago at my urging in an attempt to boost her sagging readership to her blog, Organically Cooked. And it worked! People came to her Facebook page for her postings on Cretan food (& photos) and then looked to her blog for more information, recipes, etc. So that might be something to think about. Facebook is definitely the flavor of the month these days!

  29. I recently quit Facebook and went back to blogging – I think I prefer the slower pace and longer thoughts of blogging! I’ve been reading your blog for about five years now, and though I don’t comment as often as I probably should, it is always on my reading list.

  30. HI All: as you can imagine this was mostly a swipe at Facebook. I am not on it nor will I ever be mainly because I see it as such a time-suck and also because as a medium I think it’s even more subject to hurt feelings (unfriending for example) than, well, email. I guess I am also resentful because it’s blotted out so much of what I would consider to be normal discourse, like the telephone. If you try for years and finally get pregnant but only announce it on Facebook, how is it you can be mad at ME for not knowing you’re expecting, when I step into the “how’s the baby hunt thing going,” by phone, completely innocently.

    But it is true that people tire of the blogging medium; the average blog’s tenure tends to last only about two years. What I have been noticing has been different and, my guess, unrelated to seasonality. Either I have the misfortune of choosing bloggers who are all at the end of their blogging life, or something else is going on here. Thus, I blame FB.

    Andrea: thank you for the kind words. I always have appreciated your comments, and I agree, blogs can be great as reminders…or a kick in the pants!

    Oh Mike you are so not a slow learner. Have you fermented some beets yet? I can only imagine wifeypoo swooning over them.

    Sue, indeed; there seems to be a fire to post often, then something happens and then all of a sudden lots of time goes by. It’s a pity!

    And yeah, Jennie, I agree: finding new ones is hard!! Some of the best blogs I have found through the comments of my other favorite blogs, so there’s a source.

    Alecto, of course *you* would go all techy-schmecky on me and make me realize I have no clue about finding out if my counters take hits from readers or from regular clicks. One is one I subscribe to and one comes with WordPress…but their numbers are similar, which of course gives me no clue because they’re counting (or undercounting) the same thing. And yes, grammatical disasters are welcome, especially since I usually understand them…! Plus, I have a lot of history reading YOUR writing hah!! I wish I could be so stream-of-consciousness but somehow it gets detoured, usually between my brain and my elbow.

    Brett as you can see I did post on Friday. whew! Anyway, yeah, I think twitter and FB can be great at directing people to read your posts, and sometimes I see that is where the traffic here comes from…but there is something about the discouragement/speaking into the void thing that you mentioned that really rings true. Of course I think people should blog because it makes them happy! And then somewhere down the line the comments and all that creep in to the “why we do it” thing. The big plus is the back-and-forth that happens with bloggers and commenters…it’s one of the big reasons I try my hardest to respond to each and every comment. Politeness doesn’t even figure in that IMHO: this person has taken time out of his/her day to comment, damn! I am humbled, and the very least I can do is say THANKS. I am busy but I am not that damned busy.

    Aw, Donna B, thank you, sincerely. I am glad you enjoy my Monday madness, and that you can find something that encouraging in the words I have written. And it is kind of shocking how time flies with having a child: I haven’t changed much in 7 years but she sure has.

    Judy, hah! 28 and overcast could be my post every day. But I agree about the seasonality of it all…I simply try to find the “what’s different about today/this time of year/this last week” when I post, and that seems to help carry the momentum forward. But I do hope you’re right in that once someone has something to say, they’ll be back and say it…!

    Rachelle! I tell you it is hard…but one of the things I have tried to do is to start up email correspondence with my frequent commenters…you know, because after 10 comments I do feel like I kind of know them. That might help you step away from the void. There’s often this whole “hey I’m having a party and nobody has come” thing that is so discouraging about low- or no-comment posts. I always wonder if I have offended people or something.

    Sheila, same thing happened to me yesterday (Friday) afternoon: nothing. to. READ. so annoying. But yes, one great way to pay it forward is to link to other blogs of interest; I do like the Blogger thing that grabs favorite blogs’ recent posts, I wish my format did that.

    Hah, Becky, it is snowing. I appreciate your honesty in just saying your own interest has peaked and therefore your blog is a repository of things you wish to remember. (dang, that’s what mine is too, at least, that’s how it started.) But it’s also odd that there are people out there “new” to blogging. FB didn’t really have a period of innocence like that: it seemed to be “let’s all jump into this boat.” We’ll see where blogging goes, for sure.

    tchotchke, sorry! The whole snowflake thing will disappear after the New Year. Can you update Firefox and see if that takes care of it? I use Firefox and it’s always honked me off that it doesn’t automatically update (like the truly annoying IE that it replaced on my computer) but that might fix the problem. I like the newest Firefox.

    Jules, one of these years we’ll actually meet each other too. Hope you have a great holiday.

    Stef, yes, and you especially (2 puppies! whatareyouthinking!) but I do enjoy learning what-all you guys have going on especially since your climate is so much more forgiving than my own. FWIW we just took up archery ourselves…though there aren’t any standing waterpipes outside to aim at (yay).

    Dea-chan, there is much to say about having a reader, but remembering recipes or even what people’s blogs actually look like are not part of that equation at all. The one reader I have (Google) allows me to scroll backward through the things I had read recently-ish and that helps, but isn’t really that great…so you’re on to something!

    Bill, yes indeed, blogging should help with both the need to write and the practice of writing…I write a lot less for work now than I ever used to so this and email are my only two outlets for such a skill, sadly. And yes, just keep on doing it!

    Melissa, I will say that I recently forwarded this article http://gizmodo.com/5852148/facebook-is-better-than-sex
    to my husband about how FB is better than sex because of its instant-gratification thing alone. As we all know, sex is hard. Facebook, not so much. But I truly agree with you about the stories or the relationships that can better develop through blogging. Longer format, more fun.

    Paula, well, one must suffer to earn a living, surely. And yeah, it’s my #1 reason for not commenting much too…but believe me, I do read yours. Your rack sure does look interesting (DRYING RACK PEOPLE get your minds out of the gutter).

    Aimee, good point about widening the narrative. I do sometimes step into politics and the like and it’s interesting to me because that’s traditionally where some interesting commenters pop up. But maybe you should, especially if you’re personally going into new directions, you know?

    Ilene, exactly (all the reasons you listed as the “why” of your blogging) but most importantly I think it should be something you do because you like it! But yes it can be as big a timesuck as any other online thingy: we really do need to exercise a bit of judgment there or else we will truly be living online and not doing, unplugged. I love how you say blogging helps you finish things: SO true! Thanks.

    Diana I am bummed I can’t (or am too dumb to) grab your latest via a reader. You always have something to say! in a good way of course. I got a huge howl about what you would do if you ruled the world.

    Jocelyn, well, *I* keep warm in a drafty old home! I just wear lots of layers. We don’t heat above 58*. And yes I am wearing a wool hat, socks, and shearling slippers as I type this…in a t-shirt. SO it’s just what you’re going to have to figure out how to do: the #1 leakage is around your windows, so if you or the hub can get good with a tube of caulk you’re halfway there. Plastic over the windows likewise helps. Then, well, spend some $ on attic and foundation insulation, or, well, hold a child in your lap all the time! They’re little butterballs of warmth, aren’t they?

    Petra, no plans to! thanks!

    Amanda you do have the excuse that Ypsi is at least a TOWN and not a wee village like where I live: your support network is quite very local, all your birthin wimmin, so FB makes complete sense. But…well, your husband is great with tools: do you think he can figure out how to squeeze a greenhouse somewhere on the side 40 for you? I can’t believe your baby is no longer a baby, frankly. Where did THAT time go.

    Laurene well there you are! I had wondered what happened to you…I had worried your health had taken a turn for the worse, so I am so glad you piped up. And yeah, nah, sorry, no FB for me.

    Lyssa, well goodness I hope there are more of you all out there, quitting and re-blogging because I of course am simply selfish 🙂 But thank you! It kind of shocks me to think people have listened to me natter on for 5 years already. Sheesh.

  31. I have not done the beets yet but I will…it’s still on my “new things to try” list.

  32. El one thing that happened to me is firefox upgraded and now uses https instead of http so my old google reader doesn’t automatically pop up on me. With all my end of year deadlines I have not gone out of my way to do the igoogle thing which is where all my favorite blogs update. Maybe this has happened to others too? I miss you!!

  33. Your blog is educational and informative; this is the main reason I read it.
    But I also appreciate ALL the things you’re doing, the baking, the canning, the cheese making. It is inspiring, and even though I’ll never follow suit I love knowing how you live. It’s a pleasure to get to know a person way on the other side of the continent.
    Always look forward to a new post from you.

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