Wednesday 12 October 2016

So why do bloggers give up?

It’s gratifying to know that a few people still read it and that a few people would be sad if I stopped, and I thank those people for their kind words, but that wasn’t really where I was going with that last post on the death of blogging. In any event I’m not yet decided on what the future holds. On the one hand I’m tired of it, tired of the nagging feelings it can evoke. On the other hand I’ve not yet totally run out of things to write about, and I’ve not really even started on recycling, that great resource for lapsing bloggers. But whatever happens I won’t delete it, as Gavin mentioned blog authors are probably the greatest readers of their old posts and I would miss them too much.

So I should have been more explicit. Rather than responses along the lines of “Please don’t stop”, very kind though they are, what I really wanted to explore was why it is that blogging appears to be on the way out? Many of my favourite blogs have stopped – 3 months, 4 months, over a year in some instances. Why? Apathy? Malaise? Shift of focus? Lack of time?

For me it is a mixture of all of these things, but time pressure is close to the top. Do many bloggers perhaps start in their relative youth when they have a fair amount of time, but then as work gets busier, relationships start, family comes along, house moves, longer commutes – real life in other words, all of the things that typically begin to weigh people down in their mid-thirties or these days perhaps a little later than that – and so quietly drop it? Of course I didn’t start blogging until I had moved house and had three kids, but I’m just a sucker for punishment. But if any of you reading this are the people whose blogs I used to enjoy but who have gone quiet, why is that? What made you stop? And do you still read blogs even if you don’t now write one yourself? And what might make you start again?

There are parallels with twitching. Of the small group of guys that I typically travelled to see birds with, almost every single one of them barely goes any more. I‘m one of the lapsed. I’m busier than I have ever been and so I am actively attempting to be less busy by dropping out of things that don’t seem to matter as much anymore. Twitching is definitely one of those that's fallen by the wayside, but blogging may be as well. It is in that second tier list which could go either way. 

Most of the blogs I follow or followed were centered around birds and birding, just like mine hem hem. Is their demise or mothballing linked to their author’s current lack of birding? Phasing as it is known? Are bird bloggers falling into the trap of no birding equals no blogging? Reading that article I linked to, I am not sure that follows, as the subject matter there was mostly interpersonal, family-oriented “mom” blogs, and it’s not like parenting just stops is it? But just because it's possible that my favourite writers of yesteryear haven’t really been out birding for a while, does it also follow that they have nothing to say? Why not branch out? The best blogs I always felt were the ones that were more varied and didn’t rely purely on birding material which in some instances, say inland patch-working in June, can get really boring really quickly. But they’ve stopped too, which supports the more general malaise that I’m currently seeing.

So why this malaise?

If you once wrote a blog (especially one I followed) why don't you now?
If you once read blogs more frequently than you do now, why is that?
If you thought of starting one but didn't, what held you back?

Answers on a postcard blog please.

I should really try and generate a new one of these to see what has changed.


  1. Okay, this could be worth a resurrection post. Watch this space, or rather, that space over there...
    Be patient though.

  2. When I ran a blog I ran it for a specific reason, with a specific agenda. Birding in Ireland was toxic, with a number of low life's trolling the net with false identities.

    I started writing, openly, under my own name to tackle these. Satirically taking the piss out of Birding, brought in the readership, hundreds per day from Britain and Ireland, and that meant they were also reading about how I was finding birds, and seeing the shots by some of Cork's best photographers. This further served to combat the lowlifes and their rumourmill. Hard to rewrite the narrative on my birds when I've got the real story online first.

    This worked extremely effectively. They didn't want the piss taken out of them, surprisingly enough, and became ever more cautious about posting on the net. So that sorted that. But it meant I was running out of material to satirize. I had never wanted to write a Birding blog pure and simple, and I really didn't want to leave my shots in the public domain for the rarity committee to parasite off, so I wound it up.

    I find Twitter far more effective at tackling the issue now.

    1. Cheers Owen, yours I think was a pretty unique situation, and probably someone what of an outlier for 'reasons for blogging'. I get most of my bird news off Twitter these days, as well as dedicated Whatsapp groups.

  3. I started a bird blog in 2008. It died a slow death between 2013 and 2015, with posts dropping from every few days to every few months. Eventually, a few months ago, during a period of job hunting, I turned it off. Not deleted it - I'm a hoarder and can't ever actually bin things - just turned it off.

    While I'd never claim it had any quality whatsoever, I wrote it because I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being part of a community of (relatively) local bloggers writing about mostly the same stuff and I enjoyed that people read it. One of the reasons it trailed off was that I didn't feel the urgency to write that I once had. I was aware of it happening at the time, and that in my case it was down to two things.

    Firstly, the blog stopped being a "blog" and became a diary of where I went and the birds I saw. I got bored writing "went here, saw this" posts and I struggled to break out of that rut. Like I said, it was never good, but it was certainly more varied in the early years and I never let a lack of birding content (or any content, really) stop me from writing reams of utter toss. But later, I'd go somewhere, come home, and feel that I had to write about it. It had become a chore. So perhaps what I wanted, without knowing, was an easier way to write...

    Which, happily, was provided by twitter. I subscribed for the bird news and found, without meaning to, that it scratched many of the same itches as blogging had. A community, a like-mindedness, an audience... and all with one tenth the effort! What before I'd have strung out into a shitty blogpost, I spewed out as shitty tweets. And while I don't tweet nearly as much as I used to, it's still there as a potential outlet.

    I don't think blogging is dead - the same core needs that drove it in the first place are still there - but it is diminished. With everyone having a smartphone and that being our main internet-connection, in most cases long-form blogging just isn't practical. You can contribute easier these days with a tweet or instagram or a whatsapp group for cool birders. (I'm not cool enough or connected enough to be in such a group).

    So, in summary, not dead, just part of a more diverse bird-ternet and victim of a change driven, possibly, by technology as much as anything else. At least that's my thoughts.

    1. Hello! Very interesting. So you're agreed on the social instamedia point, which I think is very valid. Also you sound like Parus who also loved the word 'shitty'? Are you Parus?