In Blogging, Is it Better to Burn Out or Just Fade Away?

By Doesn't say [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
I sat down to "clean" my Feedly yesterday. You see, part of my New Year's Non-Resolutions is to focus my research efforts, since I have a tendency to want to READ ALL THE THINGS. Having a more streamlined feed reader means a better chance to focus on a few topics that interest me, and less chance of squirreling. That said, when I logged in just now there were 22,000+ unread items... That's a lot. Better not think about that.

No, let's get back to the purging.

I went through my list, category by category, and unsubscribed from everything that no longer interests me, and every feed that had stopped. And I noticed something very, very interesting.

Some blogs ended by posting an incredible journey message. Which makes sense: people who have a certain following feel they have a responsibility to explain the demise of their web presence.  I totally get that.

But then there were the ones that just... stopped. Their streams were full of regular content until they just came to an abrupt end. Their last post was a normal everyday message, as if they had no intention of quitting their blogs. And then... nothing. No explanation, no good-bye. Just gone.

And it was those that intrigued me most. Probably because I had no idea why they suddenly stopped. Zero closure. I have some theories as to why they ended. Like:
  • The ones where I know that they got bought out or changed management. This was actually the case of one of the GigaOm blogs I followed, where I knew the company had been bought but this blog in particular never communicated the purchase. It just ended.
  • The ones where I imagine that life just got in the way: the personal blogs that faded when the writer got a new job, took on other projects, had little people... 
  • The ones where I hope that life got too busy for the better: the business blogs that ended abruptly, perhaps due to deadlines and delivery taking precedence over community-building.
Despite my theories, I really liked the mystery of not knowing where they went. That they just dried up overnight, but remained in my reader long after.

And it made me realize that I have no idea what I would do if I ever decided to pull the plug on this site. I have done the quiet hiatus thing before when life got busy (as evidenced by my lack of posts from August - November when I was focused on CanUX). But I always knew I would come back when I had the time and energy to put my thoughts together. But when it is really time to go... I don't know.

I can see the benefits of saying goodbye, although that assumes that there's still some actual readership and not just a bunch of bots visiting on a regular basis. Or just quietly stopping and focusing my efforts elsewhere. 

Granted, only time will tell. Something tells me that my need for closure wouldn't allow me to leave it hanging entirely. Chances are, when the time comes, I'll need to have one last kick at the snark can before signing off. LOL

But, in case you're confused by the nature of this post, let me be clear: you aren't rid of me yet. :)

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