Thursday, 20 October 2016

Signs of Life in Blogland

Is it true that blogging is dead, and if so, why do bloggers give up?

This was the basic theme for a couple of recent posts from Jonathan Lethbridge, aka Wanstead Birder.

Well, is blogging dead? No, despite an evident decline in bloggish activity, I don't think so. That said, it cannot be denied that many blogs are dead! Which brings us to the second question: why do bloggers give up? For me, this is the interesting one, because I have 'given up' on more than one occasion but never thought to analyse why. So, prompted by JL, I have done so, and am slightly surprised by my conclusions...

Right now I am well into middle age. Never, in all my years, have I not had an active hobby. There have been several. Some are history and will remain so, but one or two are, for want of a better expression, in my blood - birding and fishing, for example. Yet there is something about my personality which renders me quite incapable of pursuing any hobby at a steady, consistent level of effort ad infinitum. I am all peaks and troughs. And in the troughs I stop enjoying it, and therefore stop doing it.

So. Blogging. It's taken me a while to get it, but just recently the penny dropped: writing has become one of my hobbies! Mind you, I have never been one to keep a journal or diary, so why now, so late in life, and why blogging? Short, brutal answer: narcissism. The creative medium of blogging provides a budding writer with an instant audience and, through this, enough feedback to let him know whether his output has any merit. To me this is important. In any hobby I've ever pursued I have always tried to be as good at it as my potential will allow, and I guess writing is no different. An audience allows you to gauge the quality of your writing effort. And in the same way that a skillfully caught fish, or a pleasing half-marathon result, or finding and correctly identifying a scarce bird, all provide a sense of accomplishment, so too a good response to a blog post does likewise. Although I write for myself in the sense that I get satisfaction from the process of putting a post together (dare I say 'crafting a post'?) and do enjoy reading old posts from time to time, if I'm honest I am writing mainly for the reader. Let's be frank: rationalise it any way you like, but a public blog on the internet is a blog looking for an audience...

Anyway, none of this introspection has exactly answered the question 'why do bloggers give up?'

Re other blogs I can only speculate, though I expect the reasons are many and varied. But in my case the answer is easy. Now that I realise writing is one of my hobbies, it fits perfectly the pattern of every other hobby I have ever embraced. Peaks and troughs. Hardly auspicious perhaps. However, those hobbies where the bug has bitten deep have always - eventually - risen like a phoenix from the ashes. NQS is currently fluttering weakly with new life...

7 comments:

  1. More peaks please Gav, and fewer troughs!

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    1. Ha ha! Steve, that sounds like my pep talk to myself!

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  2. I think you describe the reasons why most of us blog very well. I have considered stopping on many occasions but have settled for posting less. For me, there are only two reasons why I have considered stopping, one I run out out of things to write about and two, I love to receive comments back, regardless of whether they are complimentary or not. Unfortunately my blogs rarely attract many, if any comments and I find that a bit depressing.

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    1. Thanks Derek. I sympathise with both your points, though for me it's less a lack of material, more a lack of desire to write about it. I too love comments, but I don't quite know how to guarantee them.

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  3. Welcome back, at least temporarily! It is most welcome.

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  4. I am glad to see you back, however long it lasts this time. And already in two posts (not the cycling one!) inspired some thoughts in me. For instance hobbies, as like you I have always had hobbies – some that persist, and some that wax and wane. And now that I think about it I also cannot maintain a steady interest in anything, and similarly if I feel I’m not enjoying something sufficiently it is likely to get binned. Like twitching. I had thought this inability to maintain any consistent focus was down to time but in fact in may just be down to me. One to explore in a future post, but only once I have related the rebirth of the twitch!

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    1. Thanks Jono. Complex creatures it is that we are...

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