Is it just me...

...or has the sheen gone off blogging?

It's more than four years since Mr Stuart bullied me into setting up SirBenfro. In those heady, early days, I spewed forth all the usual nonsense; the naive mutterings and petulant rants that are so common on the interweb. And to my eternal surprise, complete strangers started to pop out of the woodwork and say hello. Some of you are even still here, after all those years, which I think says something about both of our states of mind. I'm not quite sure what it says. 'You're off your chuffer,' probably.

As seemed the thing to do back then, I collected a motley bunch of characters whose blogs I liked to read regularly. You can see them there to the right of the screen. Occasionally I welcome new oddballs to the crowd, but really what I should do is go in an weed the list, because quite a few of them simply don't blog anymore, or make such infrequent posts it's hardly worth the effort listing them.

There are professional bloggers out there, of course. PBW continues to post at least once a day, but given her literary output that's hardly surprising. Warren Ellis uses his blog as a braindump, which is just as well given what he puts there. I'd hate to have all that cluttering up my mind (Godzilla bukakke, anyone?) John Rogers has bolstered his monkey's Kung Fu by drafting in a couple of friends to make a group blog, and since those two friends write about comics and guitars, I'm not complaining. And then there's Scott Adams of Dilbert fame, whose daily sideways looks at life are a welcome distraction.

But what of everyone else? The once-daily Vincent and Sandra have both slipped back to a weekly schedule; Jen Jordan's daily mulletage seems to have has something of a haircut of late, just when I could really do with a cuteness buffer. The wonderful Monkeyfluids has dried up completely, and no-one knows what became of that girl. I don't know what's happened to Anonymous City Girl either, as she made her blog private and didn't invite me to join the party. A shame; I always enjoyed the picture she painted of Philly life.

Of course, I'm not without fault here. My last post was exactly a week ago, and there have been longer gaps. I don't leave nearly as many pithy comments on other people's blogs as I used to, so I can hardly complain when they fail to return the compliment. There are days I think 'I really must put something up on Sir Benfro' which is of course completely the wrong way of going about things. I should be looking at my daily life from all angles and thinking 'that's interesting, why don't I tell the world.' It's no good complaining that nothing interesting ever happens to me. Everything is interesting when looked at in a certain light.

It's a while since I last updated the left hand nonsense bar, too, and that's symptomatic of the same malaise. I can moan that it takes valuable time that I can't spare, but in truth it's just that I can't be bothered. I've been meaning to write a little code to automate the process for years now, just never got around to it. Not important enough. Better things to do.

And maybe that's what it's all about. Four years ago we were (most of us) all like little kids with a new toy. We've all grown up a bit since then (most of us), found better things to do with our time. Moved on.

Or maybe it's just been a long dark winter and now the sun's come out everyone will start tapping away madly at their keyboards. I hope so; I certainly aim to try.


Vincent said…
I must admit my blog has become something of an exercise in guilt too - I keep thinking I should post something up, but I rarely find myself composing blog posts in my head any more. I think it's partly because Twitter allows me to spew out thoughts pretty much as and when they occur, but also changing my writing routine to exclude access to the internet has kept me more focussed on writing stories than writing on the blog.

Of course, nothing has happened that's really worth writing about either, but that's one thing that I don't think has changed.

Despite my lack of updates, I still enjoy logging onto Bloglines to see unread other people's blog posts await. Perhaps that's the nub of the problem - writing takes far more time, effort and imagination than does simple reading.
Sandra Ruttan said…
I think for some of us, what happened was life. Cruel life, wreaking havoc on the day to day - and blogging was the furthest thing from our minds most of the time.

And by the time you start to come back from it, you realize it isn't just you. Your online community has been knocked off its foundation - Anne Frasier stopped blogging, Daniel Hatadi hasn't put up a post in months, etc. etc.

I think now, a lot of people are on twitter and it's the new "it" thing. I'm not on it, nor am I following anyone, but my partner's on it and I hear a fair bit about it. And I'm starting to hear second-hand news from it, like the fact that John Rickards signed a new book deal. Haven't seen it anywhere else but, yup, twitter.
JamesO said…
You're right, Sandra, a lot of people are tweeting. When it first started up, I thought it was mainly a mobile phone thing, and since I don't get a signal at home, there was no point my getting involved. Now I'm loath to start in case it swallows what little free time I have.

And I guess if people don't enjoy blogging, or feel it's a chore, then they won't do it anymore. Unless they're idiots like me, of course.
Vincent said…
Twitter's very good in some respects - posting a 140 character comment rarely takes any time and with a Client like Twhirl it makes replying and direct messaging very easy, plus it's easy to be selective about who you follow and who follows you... but I suppose any single 'tweet' carries less weight than a post. It's easily read, but also easily over-taken by the next message. I'm following about 150 people now and when I logon of a morning, there'll be dozens of tweets I missed while I was asleep. Of course, I don't bother going back and reading them all, but other people don't either - your gems of 140 character wisdom are lost or over-looked more easily than a blog post is.

Though, all that said, I have done the same thing with blogs when I haven't been keeping up to date with them, so calling Twitter micro-blogging really is an appropriate description.
Gabriele C. said…
Lol, I've just culled my list for dead blogs again. I do that every few months, not only for blogs that haven't updated since December, but also for those that have changed beyond what interested me when I added them to my blogroll (some got too political for my taste, fe.).

But there are blogs I've read for years that still update on some sort of schedule (it doesn't need to be daily, just a bit more often than once every 6 months, lol), so I don't think blogging is going to die any time soon. Sure, Twitter and Facebook are new toys for some people, but I've seen a few return to blogging. Those social sites have their disadvantages (I don't go there because I don't like the artificially socialising atmosphere and because I have witnessed enough of the friending/defriending drama on LJ already).

I also keep finding new blogs that interest me, albeit I must admit I check the archives for posting frequency these days and only add them if there are more than 8 post per year. :)

For myself, I try to keep a schedule of 2-3 posts per week. In stressful times that can mean the posts will be pictures with little text and not history essays, but my readers do get something. It also helps to have some sort of theme for your blog because it's easier to come up with topics that way than trying to make everyday life interesting, at least for me.
swallowtail said…
Good to consider "why am I doing this...?" blog or no blog. I find that the blog keeps me honest, in a way. Keeps me writing for "an audience," real or imagined. Keeps me remembering that I write. Twitter seems too short, like there is no attention-span involved. Of course, I don't know this, since I do not Twit. Facebook is fun to watch-over my wild nieces, nephews, and kids! It is all part of being a writing citizen, right? Wreading and righting. xoxoLC
John R said…
I've found hiving mine off from my 'professional' site (timely, given the defunctness of that name to write under) has freed me up to make as many cock jokes and churn out stuff wot I found funny for my own amusement, tumblelog-style, as I like without worrying about it.

But it's only natural, even without things like Twitter. Unless your life is endlessly varied and exciting, there's only so much you can say. Once you've covered all your basic opinions on every subject you can think of, the well's dry and you've got nothing left but day-by-day stuff.
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