Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest

That’s the title of an article in today’s NY Times, that “coincidentally” appeared at the same time I was writing yesterday’s post about this blog. It explains a bit and puts this blog’s lack of activity into perspective.

According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.

While I never expected to make any money or become famous with this blog, (key blogger motives, according to the Times), I have been disappointed by the lack of reader comments. Yesterday’s snarky comments over at the Wild Hunt blog are actually an ironic reprise of a pattern I’ve seen: we get more responses from readers of other blogs than we do from our own first-hand readers.

Indeed, perhaps the major attraction of the social networking sites for me has been the actual feedback and conversation from others that appears almost instantly whenever I post anything serious or silly. If I want to post longer bits, I suppose I should use Live Journal more.

So now I ask you, should we bother continuing Views from the Cyberhenge or let it die a dignified death? After all, you can always follow us on Facebook and MySpace, etc.

About Isaac Bonewits

World famous (or is that notorious) Druid/Wiccan/Heathen/Santarian author, speaker, pundit, etc. Google me to see what I've been doing with my life and what my friends and enemies think about me.
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4 Responses to Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest

  1. Ali says:

    Well… as I discovered just now, one reason your blog might not get comments is that people have to go through a special registration process, instead of being able to use OpenID or accounts. That might discourage all but regular readers and the committed few.

    Also, this whole topic makes me wonder about our priorities. I use my blog to write and post essay- and memoir-like pieces, more polished than a private journal (which I’ve kept for years), but not as carefully revised and tailored as something I’d submit for publication elsewhere. Online networking is wonderful and the immediate feedback is a blessing, but I can’t help wondering if it’s actually misleading to judge the value of a written piece based on the feedback it generates. Back when print publication was pretty much the only option, did authors expect immediate feedback and tons of letters from fans? Did they consider their work unreadable if they received fewer responses than the two-paragraph advice column in the local paper?

    What I get out of blogging is a medium that suits me in its ease and accessibility while still challenging me to go more deeply than a 140-character comment on Facebook or Twitter. All the social networking sites can start to sound a bit like white noise after a time, whereas I work hard to make my blog an online space in which I can hear myself think, contemplate or play with ideas. If you don’t have similar reasons for blogging and it’s become more of a chore, then I’d say just let it die and do what suits your own needs.

  2. sari0009 says:

    Though tempting, I wouldn’t judge the value of a blog on the feedback it generates and like that your blog is attached to your neopagan net page. Bah to influence being concentrated in a bottleneck in order to create super hubs of the most verity and force. That’s the hive mentality that trusts in normalization.

    Yours is a “hub” page (you know, hub theories, Net mapping and all) even if it’s marginalized for being a minority interest and erratically updated. I get the blog falling in an empty forest concern but rather than do away with it, I wonder if you should keep it and use the more immediate faddish social networking pages too.

    As much as social networking sites catch and ride waves, much gets burried in them. You thought you pushed back the tide with a broom on Amazon dot com, well, mediocrity often rules on networking sites. The type of people who will hunger for more, again turning to blogs like yours will, appreciate blogs of substance and continuity, even if infrequently updated.

    Blogs that don’t have to conform or have some of their subject matter subject to censorship (worrisome trends in that sector on many social networking sites and even LJ) and rated “mature” (thus being less accessible). I had some of my art deleted off of myspace for example. Drawings of Venus if Willendorf. Heh. Bah. Too much of that crap going around.

  3. KDougherty says:

    Given that I’ve just spent ten minutes re-registering to comment here (don’t ask), I vote for putting more entries on Live Journal. Most of my friend’s LJs are some combination of pronouncement, personal entries and internet quizzes. OK, I know folks whose journal consist of little more than internet quizzes and LOLcat entries, but let’s not go there. Point is, LJ doens’t have to be only for your longer posts. Shorts bits are fine, too.
    Honestly,I’d just as soon read about what you though of WellSpring this year, or WickedFaire. As for conversation, I’m surprised you’re only on one LJ community, given the number of them out there.


  4. LMcSherry says:

    Isaac, as another blogger who doesn’t get a lot of feedback and comments I sympathize. But I also blog primarily for myself, with information sharing being the secondary motivation.

    That said: I loathe Facebook and MySpace and other such groups and I won’t join them. If you move to writing over there I would no longer read you (but, of course, it is utterly your prerogative to do so). I don’t like the waste of bandwidth that much of those groups represent, and I really don’t like registering for (yet another) organization just to be able to read what others are saying.

    That said, I have an LJ account *just* to be able to read others’ posts. I did it very reluctantly, but have been happy with being able to see posts now. So I vote for you to pick up an account and write there instead of here.

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