Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Abandoned Blogs: Why Do They Exist?

"Embraced by Words" - Robbert van der Steeg via Flickr
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A once frequently updated, searched, and visited online journal, now left abandoned by it's creator. 


by El Jay Terry January 24, 2009
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When surfing across the web, occasionally I come across a brilliantly written post, look at the date, and then realize that the post itself dates back to the dawn of the Internet era.

A dead blog, long abandoned by the writer who once filled it to its digital brim with posts.

Arriving at a party that ended a week ago. All the commenter-guests have left to who-knows-where, and the author-host is long gone. Flat soda and soft potato chips (never doubt the power of preservatives) sit on the table, exactly where the everyone left them. I decide not to dig into a bowl of fossilized fast-food french fries. 

There is a camera. And within, there are pictures and videos. The party is over, but I can flip through the photos to see what everyone did. What everyone said.

Now--back to the abandoned blog. I decide to linger, scrolling through their posts to see what they were up to, when, and who they were.

...Why did they stop? 

Sometimes there's a single post within a year saying, "I'm not gone! A lot of things came up, but I'm still here!" and no subsequent posts after that. In the older blogs that once garnered an active community of commenters, I wonder if their regular readers waited for them to come back...or if life just continued on like always.

...Where are they now? 

I scroll through their posts, particularly during their most productive eras. A few tentative initial posts in 2009. Abundant--hundreds of posts in 2010 through 2012, tapering off into a mere 54 in 2013. The blog had its good run...until whatever fueled the initial creation of the blog ran dry.

The author ran out of ideas. This is particularly true with some informational blogs in fields that lack the constant new this, new that. I came across a treasure trove in the form of a well-written frugal living blog that featured tips on how to save money in many aspects of life. Eventually, the author must have run out of ideas, or found a different way to supplement her income.

The author ran out of content. This is true particularly in blogs birthed by grief or trauma, sustained by the process of the griever/victim sorting out their thoughts and questions in their minds, before ultimately moving on with their life and leaving the messy emotions behind in the form of digital bits and pieces floating across the web. Sometimes the blog author leaves a goodbye message to his or her readers. I like to think that they are in a happier place now, one in which they no longer have to use a blog as an outlet to deal with pain.

The author got bored. These "digital graveyards" are smaller, mostly because the blog never made it into a "golden era" of productivity and sharply tapered off after one or two initial, lackluster posts. I, too, have abandoned several blogs soon after starting them, especially if I realized that I didn't want to carry this through to the end. The commitment was too great for the amount of enthusiasm I had when creating the blog.

The author had other priorities. Probably the most common one that I've seen happen, particularly to myself and this blog. School happens. Work happens. Weddings happen. Sometimes there is a hiatus due to life-craziness-schedules-etc, which can span a few days to...a year. Life intercepts, whisks the author from the chair, and that's it.

The author found a new and better platform. Not sure if I'd count this as a digital graveyard because the author is continuing the same project, only in a different space. These aren't as sad because the original blog author usually leaves a link to the new and updated blog website.

I like to think that the original blog authors have moved onto bigger and better things. Meanwhile, the blog functions as a digital time capsule of who they were and the era that once encapsulated these people. Some of you reading may be blog owners yourselves. Have you ever deleted or abandoned a blog, and why? 

3 comments:

  1. Nice post!! I always wonder what happens to blogs that are abandoned.

    I have deleted or abandoned a blog. However, I'd like to start another blog... One pertaining to knitting. I started knitting last April or May (???) and want to chronicle my knitting journey... Like focusing on projects I'm working on or have completed. Plus, share knitting websites I like or YouTube videos that have been helpful to me in my knitting journey, but I just haven't had the time to start a knitting blog despite the fact that I've come up with a name for a knitting blog.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! A knitting blog would be so lovely, especially if you'll be sharing knitting websites while documenting your journey along the yarn. Maybe you can create the blog and keep it private for now so that you have the domain when you're ready to run with it.

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    2. Thanks for the encouragement on starting a knitting blog... When I can find the time, I'll make posts for the world at large to see... I do like your idea of keeping the knitting blog private for awhile though until I'm ready to share it with the world. I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens!!

      I realized I made a typo in my comment above. I meant to write that I haven't abandoned or deleted a blog before... Oops, I need to proof read before posting comments!!

      Happy reading!!

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