Why do bloggers keep falling off?

Does the novelty of blogging wear off so quickly that people aren't keeping up their blogs? I notice that many of the people I have linked to have just let their blogs go. And I am actively unlinking for sure. Are we all such perfectionists that if we can't be the best (or be Scoble, for example), we aren't going to blog at all? Or are we just too impatient, not wanting to wait until our activity results in something.

I don't get it. Starting a blog implies that you are going to, like....blog. Feels like you are breaking a promise if you disappear without an explanation. Or a goodbye. Am I being too sensitive? ; )

Comments (18)

  1. lukaszg says:

    I don’t think that disappearing bloggers actually plan on disappearing… More likely they just put it off and since they’re not really done with the blog, they can’t say goodbye ("I’ll get to it… next week."). Leaving it hanging is much easier than putting an end to it anyway. Still, I’d rather see blogs die rather than degenerate into pure fluff (some fluff is good, if not essential).

  2. I had a two-week hiatus as I went through a different phase of my life. I could offer my opinion (http://www.ensight.org/archives/2003/12/08/blogging_pressure.html), but really I think it’s part of the evolution we all go through as individuals (how many other things have you started only to stop?) as well as writers (to some degree, the fulfillment blogging brings by itself needs to be filled with something else in order to stay fulfilling).

  3. Heather says:

    Jeremy-I see your point. Maybe I should as why corporate bloggers fall off. Personal bloggers fall off for personal reasons. But if blogging is part of my job…

    lukaszg-your explanation sounds pretty accurate. The procrastination factor. I happen to be a professional procrastinator myself. Then, when I absolutely have to do the dreaded thing that I’ve been putting up, I see how fast I can get it over with. Which is why I hate laundry (don’t like to do it and can’t do it quickly to get it over with).

    With my blog-I find that I struggle with coming up with stuff that’s interesting enough to blog on. I know a lot of people will just create blog entries simply to link to someone else’s post. But someone out there has to be doing the original, interesting posts. And they are not easy to think of ; )

  4. Matt says:

    I think many of these bloggers started blogging because they had a fair number of things to say, probably related to their current project or past works. Once they shot their wad of information out into the blogosphere they just did not know what else to say, thinking the only useful information they had was the particular knowledge they already shared.

    Some say they are too busy, life has changed for them, etc, etc, but what really has happened is they lost the nerve, because blogging from then on would require actually having ideas, opinions and the like on subjects that have not had many years to stew inside their skulls.

    Real thoughts are scary.

  5. I think the weblog is a low priority for most people, corporate bloggers included. At the first hint of a time crunch, the weblog gets put on the back burner, and then once you break the habit, it gets hard to come back.

  6. Alex Lowe says:

    I think that technical blogs can actually be difficult to post to frequently because, at least in my position at Microsoft, it takes a lot of work for me find things that I can blog about. That is, often the things I’d like to blog about are bound by NDA and/or they have direct ties to a customer (I work in the field) so it is a lot of work for me to find technical things to post. If I was not limited to technical topics then I’d post more frequently.

    Just my two cents.

  7. My problem tends to be that I want to post an article and have it perfect. That is rather than throwing out half baked ideas and possibilities about doing something I want to have finished it, give a sample project and screen shots, and have fresh coffee for my visitors.

    That’s impossible, obviously, but I do tend to feel I’m giving visitors the short shrift when I leave posts unedited or "incomplete". My personal thoughts and opinions certainly exist, but they are not ready for public display. Indeed, I rather think the men with white suits would come visit me if I began to blog those regularly. 🙂

    All in all it’s a give and take thing that I chalk up to people being the way people are. As Matt says many of us want to simply say our thing and walk away, but we want to do so without outside interference or rules (ala Community Sites). Others of us have a great idea for a few things but when people don’t come flocking to our doors, we give up in despair. Then finally you have the I’m too busy or I don’t care syndrome.

    I don’t attribute this to malice. On a lot of programming teams I’ve noticed the performance of an individual can vary greatly depending upon how interested he is in the project. If that interest in blog drives you to post daily, great! What happens when your blog loses to your build-a-car-kit? Or your sanding and staining of the deck? Okay, okay, the last one is pushing it. I think I’d rather pound nails into my head than sand my deck.

    There’s only so much time in the day and technology workers, in general, have little to spare. A blog is — or should be, IMHO — optional to most of us. Because it is optional, and because it is for ourselves, we tend to drop it first.

    Personally I blog because it forces me to put my thoughts into focus and order. I may think I understand something but until I attempt to explain my understanding I don’t know for certain if I do. Because I’m a perfectionist (as noted above) I also tend to research things I’m hazy on, to ensure I don’t pass on faulty information. This further clarifies my understanding of the topic at hand. Finally, because I blog for myself and because some very painful life occurrences taught me that I must put myself first at some point in time, I tend to blog regularly.

  8. Alex says:

    Most people stop blogging because they run out of subjects that are both interesting to them and don’t require a lot of energy to write in terms of ideas. Nobody is going to admit it so they come up with various excuses which your previous commenters have so aptly pointed out.

  9. Heather says:

    Brian-if the men in white jackets show up for you, you might as well send them over to my office as well 😉 I’m still resisting the urge to blog about my dog

  10. Heather says:

    Alex-are you the little voice inside my head? That is exactly what I was thinking

  11. Alex says:

    Could be!! I’m one of God’s little soldiers which is another story. Unfortunately, God never tells me what he has in mind when I answer questions in Blogs. He / She works on a "Need To Know Basis" and just like a large well run organization (You’re one Microsoft in spite of what you may think) very few people need to know the "big" picture.

  12. David Hayden says:

    I think you have to look at the underlying motives for blogging.

    First, and probably the most compelling reason for blogging, is marketing. If you are an independent developer, you will probably market more than a corporate developer.

    The second main reason for blogging is probably a feeling of belonging. This is especially important for independent developers as they may work more out of their homes. Small business developers will also blog more as they may be the only developer in the business or be a part of a really small team. Corporate developers typically have plenty of interaction with other developers and will not have that need to be part of something "bigger."

    A third reason for blogging is to genuinely help others. This is rare by itself and usually exists in combination with the first and second reasons. Someone really interested in helping others, totally altruistic, will continue to always blog for the benefit of others.

    Other reasons for blogging are totally based on the ego – a feeling of importance, the pride of being a "connector", the building of one’s reputation, etc. If the results are not met in some measurable way, these people will stop blogging as they do not receive the external gratification they seek.

    So why do corporate bloggers stop maintaining their blog? I think it depends on the underlying motivation as to why they started in the first place. Aside from the excitement of starting something new or it being a part of their job (a marketing reason by the company), there has to be a reason why you spend the time to maintain a blog. If there is no motivation, the payoff does not come at the anticipated time, which is different for each developer, or success is not measurable, they will stop blogging.

    As an independent developer, I personally blog for reasons 1, 2, and 3 above. I also see the results of blogging payoff in many measurable ways. 60% of my customers find me via the Internet. Other developers contact me via my blog asking questions and thanking me for the usefulness of my blog. And, I genuinely enjoy helping others as others have helped me.

    Take Care, Heather. I enjoy your blog!

  13. I think that most blogs tend to be "me too" blogs that won’t really be missed anyway. It’s new to me, but I’m having fun doing it, and it can never hurt to practice writing anyway.

  14. Check the stats of how many people start diaries and then give them up. Blogging requires passion, discipline and of course something to say.

  15. Gary Learned says:

    They say that it takes 21 days to create a new habit, and in general I’ve found that to be true. It would be interesting to plot how many blogs fail in the first 21 days.

  16. Eric King says:

    I think it all depends on what people have to say. If I can’t think of anything to blog about on any given day, then I probably won’t post anything. I also think there is a "novelty" factor that can wear off in time for some people.

    A friend of mine who is a Microsoft Regional Director once told me that he didn’t like reading blogs about people’s dogs or cats, or the fact that someone’s aunt Ethel turned 80 years old. He wanted meaty content about writing code.

    I’m afraid I am much more liberal in my blogging. I try to share something that I think someone would enjoy reading. I might post something that is focused on the Microsoft Community, writing code, or just something from my own sense of humor. I actually like it when people blog about a broader scope of topics because it gives you some insight into who the author is as a person, and not just a developer.

    BTW Heather, if you happen to see this, I have really enjoyed reading your blog. So keep it up!

  17. Heather says:

    Thanks for the comment Eric! ; )

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