I just had one of those sinking feeling, Vertigo shot, “oh, crap” moments, as I tried to log into the admin panel for this site to delete some spam comments. I couldn’t load the page at all, and when I tried to ask the WordPress forums for help, my username wasn’t recognized. For a little while, I feared my blog presence had evaporated into the aether.
Now that I’ve solved the problem, I have to address another one: to wit, my blog presence has more or less evaporated anyway, as I have not been posting over the past several months. Unforgivable, I know, and the reasons for my absence aren’t relevant to most readers. But watch me spin this into a useful post anyway.
Have you ever heard of blogfade? It’s a phenomenon that started to show up in 2009, once the first blush of blogging had worn off. Essentially, any blog, no matter the motivations for starting, runs out of steam now and again. Sometimes it’s temporary, other times it’s permanent. It’s hard to come up with new content all the time, even when you’re an ace writer like me.
It’s not just individually owned blogs (and Twitter feeds, and YouTube channels, and Tumblrs, etc.) that fade; many businesses start blogging with the best of intentions, only to slowly wither. Maybe the person who started the blog left the company and those remaining didn’t see the urgency in keeping it updated. Maybe corporate shut the project down. Maybe nobody was reading it, or there weren’t enough things to say that weren’t already in press releases. Whatever the excuse—blogfade.
A policy on blogfade should be built into anybody’s (or any company’s) rules of engagement for social media. “Thou shalt not abandon thy blog without an explanation, or at least a goodbye.” The reason is simple. Looking for updates that don’t come is frustrating at first, which is bad. Over time it leads to apathy, which is worse. Producing or curating social content is a responsibility once you decide to do it.
Nobody likes to be left hanging. If you’re going to say goodbye, say it. If you need to take a break, say so—or explain your absence once you come back.
Here’s to the return of the Third Idea blog. Let’s see if I can live up to my punditry.