It’s been eons since I’ve posted a blog. Since my initial blog in November 2010, when the kids were five and seven, I went from weekly postings (Nov 2010 – Oct 2011), to bi-weekly postings (Nov 2011- Dec 2012), to monthly (Jan 2013- Oct 2013) to a significant hiatus (Nov 2013 – Jan 2014). Now, three years into edamomie, the kids are eight and ten. I’ve posted 102 blogs and seen almost 20,000 views. So what’s with my three-month leave of absence? I’ve been pondering this for a while and recently, when checking out 200 some food-oriented bloggers for a client, I discovered a pattern. Many blogs run about three years, then disappear.
When these blogger’s posts trailed off, they acknowledged this gap, explained their absence – I moved, new career, no time/something had to give, started a new blog, etc – and either recommitted or as in most cases, disappeared. I’m not sure which category I’m in yet.
What’s behind this common disappearing act?
The Fun-Factor and Freedom of Choice:
Bloggers all start with a passion to share their thoughts and ideas and many of them set a consistent schedule, i.e. committing to one post a week for one year, like I did. No one’s forcing a post. It’s sharing for fun. When the novelty wears off and there’s no one telling you that you have to post something because they desperately miss you (although my family and friends have wondered, What’s up?), you can stop. That’s the beauty of it too — free choice.
For many, adhering to a schedule and generating content forces the exploration and discovery process. When I was blogging weekly, I was engaging the kids in projects, ideas, outings, etc. Some of this happened spontaneously while other times, I deliberately sought out content for my blog. Either way, it caused me to be thoughtful, frequent and proactive in planning in the types of activities we did.
Bloggers don’t always receive comments and the futility of posting something no one will read weighs on us. For me, I started writing about my experiences with my kids as a form of scrapbooking, which I abandoned shortly after their third birthdays (read: guilt complex). My purpose for blogging was to create more of a picture album and diary of our lives. Of course, my family soaked this stuff up, but beyond that, what did I care who read my blog? It was a positive, creative outlet for me and a glimpse back into the kids’ lives for them at some future date.
Community and Interaction:
There’s also this blogging community where bloggers of like-minded subjects follow and comment on each other’s blogs. Interaction happens and this is rewarding, inspirational and educational at times. In the absence of interaction, we look at our stats and if xx people viewed us yet we have no comments, we tend to be okay with that. However if our goal is to gain likes and comments and there are few, this becomes a reason to jump ship.
I also considered how the rise of new social networking channels played a role. For me, I became an avid Instagram user in Nov 2012 and essentially started posting my stories previously in blog format, with instant, filtered photos that captured an immediate slice of our lives. Did I really need to blog about the entire experience? It seemed redundant and less compelling. Or maybe I was just getting lazy.
To top it off, my subjects who started as my five year-old son and seven year-old daughter, grew up. Last year at ages seven and nine, they turned into sometimes non-compliant participants who did not always want to have their picture taken or their lives documented in detail. Often times, I would take photos of their silhouette or obscure them in the background, but when they began expressing their concern with my writing/posting, it became clear I needed to back off.
In summary, the causes cited for a blogger’s exit include lack of interesting content, fading fun-factor, disinterest in the topic(s), shortage of time, decreasing rewards and interaction, new and improved social channels for sharing and other focuses. And in general, it takes about three years of blogging for these causes to equal an exit.
I talked with my kids about my (our) blog. I told Ava, As a parent, I have so many concerns about issues, I could refocus my efforts there. She asked me, what do you want to write about? I listed a few topics like super-short school recess, parental slavery to kids’ athletic and extracurricular pursuits, allergies: food and environmental, online and technology norms and behaviors and how to make dinner when your parents are out. She said, Cool, you should write about that then. She would say that.