My blog is dying, long live my blog | December 22, 2008
You may have noticed that things have gone a little quiet round here of late. In fact, if you’ve been reading my blog through your feed reader you probably haven’t noticed anything as I average about one post every six week at the moment which is pretty poor. Especially when you consider that at the height of my output I was blogging several times a week and occasionally several times a day. So what’s the reason for this lack of activity? I think it’s several things really.
Too darned busy
The last few years have been pretty hectic and an increasing amount of my time is being taken up by Clearleft and other related activities. There was a time when I’d spend my days reading blogs posts and hacking on web sites, then head home to work on personal projects and blog about my discoveries. These days I spend my working life in business meetings or with my head in my email client. When I get home I’ll simply end up writing that report or catching up the emails I failed to do during the day. Rather than my work being an extension of my life, it seems that my life has become an extension of my work, and without me realising it.
A lack of attention
No, I don’t mean that I lack focus and er, what was I saying again? Oh yes, that’s right. When I first started blogging there were around 10 websites I’d follow on a regular basis and another 10 I’d dip into every now and again. That quickly expanded to 50, then 100 and then, well, you can see where I’m going here. I hit saturation point around 2 years ago and just couldn’t keep up with all the blogs I felt I was supposed to be reading. My attention became spread too thin. I tried to prune my feed reader, but every time I did I ended up discovering more interesting feeds than I’d kill. So I basically stopped reading my news reader two years ago as the number of unread posts was too depressing.
Signal to noise
The ever increasing noise to single ratio combined with a reduction in actual hands on work resulted in less stuff to talk about. Well less techie stuff anyway. I’d fought the good web standards fight and was more interested in UX related stuff or the nuances of running a business. Furthermore, with so many more broadcasters to choose from, the relevance of what I had to say was diminishing as was my reach. That’s assuming I could find time to blog.
New ways of expression
One of the key reasons for blogging is to express yourself and your feelings. I used to get back from a hard days work and want to discuss my discoveries with other people. Blogging allowed me to do this. However with the inception of Clearleft I’d inadvertently surrounded myself with super smart people I could discuss my ideas with and who would usually either tell me that my ideas were stupid or that somebody else had said the same thing more eloquently six months ago.
This is also when services like Twitter and Facebook entered the scene. Now I’m not going to say that micro publishing tools killed the blogging star, but I think they’ve certainly made a dent. Rather than publishing fully formed ideas on your own website, you could post snippets of an idea with much more ease and to a more targeted audience. So I started to find that my desire to express myself was sated by a stream of nano thought published to Twitter rather than a few bigger ideas published to my blog. The format my be different, but the psychological result was the same.
So what’s next
Well I know that I don’t want to stop blogging as it’s an integral part of who I’ve become, if not who I am at the moment. However I do realise that some serious changes need to take place. First up I need to decide if I want to be multi-chanel or single channel. Do I open up my Twitter account to everybody (it’s currently private) and see it more as a micro publishing tool than a way of staying in touch with friends, then keep my blog for longer and less frequent articles. Or do I try and bake some of that instant gratification into this blog and make it more of a tumble log, supplementing the long posts with links, quotes, flickr images and YouTube videos?
I’m sure a log of you guys have been going through the same thing recently, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on the future of blogging and your own blog in particular. Are blogs being supplemented by short form alternatives? Is this the death of narrative cinema. Er, I mean narrative online article writing. How has your blog and your approach to blogging changed over the past few years and what should I do to combat this change, if combating it is indeed the right approach.
Your thoughts, as always, on the electronic version of “the back of a postcard” that is my comments form.
Posted at December 22, 2008 9:33 PM