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Random Thoughts: Here One Day, Gone the Next

Blogging isn’t a new phenomenon. Blogs have been around since the mid-1990’s according to Wikipedia, but it took almost ten years for them to be considered mainstream. Now, there are millions of blogs in existence. Some are long-established and others just blink into existence and blink out just as quickly.

One thing that separates most blogs from traditional media is the ease of which they can be started-up and the ease of which they can be stopped. There is no big announcement that must be made. There are no refunds that must be given to subscribers. There is no staff that must be let go.

For many blogs, it’s just the blogger and their blog. They are held accountable only to themselves. This is especially true with book blogs.

I haven’t been blogging for that long, or doing extensive research to track down all the book blogs out there, but most of the blogs I’ve come across are typically run by one or two people.

The blog is solely dependent upon that blogger to update it by adding new content as frequently as they see fit. If for some reason the blogger chooses not to create a new post, that blog sits dormant. And unless it is a paid domain name or website, that blog can sit there year upon year, frozen in time.

Many of the bloggers I have met over the course of my blogging “career” are quite dedicated to their blogs. They put in an enormous amount of time and effort to create their posts and to update their blogs with timely and relevant information that pertains to the book blogging world. They also put in a their time networking on a multitude of social media sites to promote their blog and to gain followers.

All of this effort serves to give their blog credibility. It tells those who visit the site – be they authors, publishers, readers or other bloggers – that the blogger is serious and their blog is more than just a whim. The goals may be different – some may do it to establish a repoire with authors and publishers, others may do it to make a connection to other bloggers with similar interests – but whatever the reason, if the blogger makes the commitment to be seen as an established blog, it’s all the more confusing when they just cease to exist.

And it’s not typically like the blog shuts down. There is no “under construction” or “domain name available” message on the site. It’s simply as if after days, months, years of blogging regularly, one day, the blogger has just vanished. The last post date continues to get further and further away with no explanation given.

Blogging, for most of us, isn’t for compensation. Even those who get some money for advertisements on their site, aren’t making enough to self-sustain. So, when life gets in the way, it’s easy to sacrifice those things that aren’t absolutely essential to our existence. And as much as we may love our blogs, that pesky everyday stuff takes precedence.

But unless real tragedy strikes, it takes just a moment to add a message to the blog to say that the last post was the last post and that the blog will no longer be active. If bloggers are trying to be seen as professionals and they establish their sites in a way that on its face it appears as such, the professional thing to do would be to alert their followers or readers to the fact that the blog is on a hiatus or has ceased, for a time, being operational.

This is especially true for blogs that have been long-established or have a significant following. Followers of those blogs have invested their time reading the posts and information contained on that blog and would certainly appreciate the small courtesy of knowing that they can unfollow, unsubscribe or no longer need to visit.

It’s very different for the occasional or casual blogger. The expectation level of their followers may be very different. But a blogger who has presented themselves as a consistent and professional blogger, who simply disappears into the anonymity of the world wide web without a word to their readers can be a big letdown. And this behavior can certainly be damaging to their reputation should they ever wish to return to the scene.

Now, not every blog created is intended to be seen as professional. Some blogs are started strictly for fun or as a hobby. And while an audience is always welcome, it’s not necessarily expected. But it’s pretty evident by the amount of time and effort spent (and it takes a lot) which blogs are intended as more than just a bit of fun.

So when these blogs pull a disappearing act, allowing their content to stagnate, I have to wonder just what might have happened and certainly hope it was nothing serious.

And so I promise that should I ever decide to take an extended break, or to stop altogether, I’ll be sure to put up a sign. But, if there is no sign, it just means that I got sucked right into one of those fiction novels I love so much and couldn’t escape back to reality to do so.

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What do you think about the disappearing blog? Has there been a blog that you’ve followed only to find one day that it is M.I.A.?

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