November 17, 2004

Why do Blogs Die?

Toc Doc asked, "Why do blogs die?"

That's an interesting question, and one that begs the question of whether or not blogs actually die. If they do not have activity for a certain number of days, weeks, or months, are they really gone?

Adam Stein of adamstein.org argues that even if the author of a blog isn't posting, the blog isn't dead. He bases his assertion on the volume of readers who continue to visit his blog even during a hiatus of months. Even discarding the hits that can be accounted for by web crawlers, his readership is often UP during his dry spells.

What's up with that?
I continue to describe blogs in terms of journals. Not personal journals, but the scholarly journals that sit in the stacks at the library, or better yet in electronic databases. Just because they are published once per month or every two months doesn't mean that the communication is dead. While the author isn't writing, readers may still be reading. This is one key difference between blogs and threaded discussions. A blog is not a conversation, and does not take interaction between parties to remain viable.

Does this really mean, however, that blogs can't die? No, I don't think so. If an author really walks away from a blog or even takes it down, it does cease to exist in any real terms. Once an author stops writing AND readers stop reading, then the blog can be said to be "dead". But it can be hard to tell for certain when to declare the end point of a blog's viability since a writer can get sparked at any point by something he or she has read and wants to share.

So, until next time I feel inspired ...

Posted by bjohnson at November 17, 2004 1:48 PM