Where Did All the Blogs Go?

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Graffiti in Little Italy, Ottawa, May 2017

When we came back from our trip in March, I was looking forward to a binge-reading session where I would finally catch up on all the blog posts I had missed while we were away. I subscribe to hundreds of feeds and when we are on the road, I don’t usually have time to go through my daily list of updates, like I do at home. Feng and I share a laptop and my Internet sessions at night are dedicated to work assignments, blog updates, and travel decisions.

But when I logged back in Feedly—my feed aggregator—I realized there weren’t that many articles unread, certainly fewer than I had expected considering I follow about 50 personal blogs.

I was somewhat disappointed. See, I actually enjoy reading blogs. It’s not a chore, I’m not returning the favour after receiving comments. Blogs help me satisfy my curiosity about us, humans. I take pleasure in discovering how other people live, in Canada or elsewhere, and I find inspiration and a certain comfort in different writing styles, way to tackle issues, perspectives, dilemmas and sources of happiness. I like following life changing moments and more mundane activities—your routine isn’t always my routine!—much like I can’t help looking into someone’s living room when I walk past if the lights are on and the curtains open.

But lately, I realized many of my favourite bloggers just stopped writing. Last post published a year ago, six months ago… I’ve been blogging since 2006, I know the drill. Few bloggers officially shut down their blogs—and when it happens it’s usually because a specific adventure is over or after some drama took place, like cruel trolling or doxing. This is rare, though. Most blogs don’t end with an epilogue—the author just stops posting. Sometimes, a hiatus is announced and occasionally, a quick “be right back, sorry for the lack of news lately” article shows up in my feed. But from experience, those who pause for a long time simply stop blogging eventually.

I don’t blame them. Blogging is a weird activity, both selfless and self-centred. In a way, it’s volunteer work because there is little or no money to be made and no fame to enjoy for sharing information, advice, experiences or adventures. Writing is time-consuming and when you’re finally done making sure all your sentences have verbs, you still have to deal with the technical aspects of publishing online—updates, plugins, functionalities, etc.—and the cost associated to services like hosting. It can also be downright depressing when you’re personally attacked. Yet, of course, blogging is also an opportunity for navel-gazing since most of us do use the first person and focus on our own little world. It’s rewarding to be appreciated. It’s rewarding to be read.

I get irrationally angry when one of my favourite authors dies—how dare they!—so you can imagine how disappointed I am when blogs I follow are no longer updated. I’ll never get closure! I’ll never be able to discover the next chapter in their life! Damn. Feels like I dropping a book in the bathtub just before discovering who was behind all the murders describes in the previous 500 pages.

My data probably lacks perspective because I’m stuck in a tiny corner of the Web, but I think a bigger trend is developing—nowadays, blogging just isn’t as popular. I remember that between 2007 and 2010, everybody wanted to start a blog because you could supposedly make a living out of it (I’m still wondering how). If you weren’t on Facebook, you were on Blogger or WordPress. Lately, other platforms and networks took over, like Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram. Blogging isn’t as cool anymore.

In 2006, I remember hesitating between developing the small blog I had just started first on Yahoo, then on Blogger, or signing up on this new network, Facebook. “Meh, I don’t want to write on Facebook,” I thought. “This wannabe MySpace probably won’t last and I may lose all my data.” (Yeah, never ask me for stock investing advice…) I never regretted my choice because this blog helped me in many ways—I got some writing practice, met awesome people, landed new contracts. Despite the occasional headache and questionable requests—a guy just emailed me because he wants me to help him sue the Canadian Government…—blogging still makes sense for me.

I hope it does for you too.

I don’t want to ever run out of blogs to read. Get to work, people!

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

30 Comments

  1. I get you. I have the same. My list of blogs I used to follow has gone down from over 200 to a measly 35 and even they do not write regularly.
    Somehow, inspiration just disappears. Iused to be able to do 4 posts a week. There were even days where I could churn out one a day. But somehow, lately, I just cannot get inspired anymore. I continue, because I feel it would be such a waste to let it all end (I have been blogging since 2005), but I have to work really really hard for it. And indeed, for what? I am not getting paid. Maybe just to keep it as a log. We’ll see, but it is difficult at times.
    Sietske in Beirut

    • First of all, nice to meet you! Your profile is interesting, and I was super relieved to see you’re blogging in English (let’s face it, Dutch is… ahem, challenging! :lol:)

      As a journalist, do you feel the blog was/is a good portfolio for you?

      I’m not too worried about inspiration. I feel I still have a lot to write about, although the blog changed focus over the years. For instance, I don’t blog about the immigration process much because I went through it 12 years ago and I’m not up-to-date on the topic.

  2. ha! same here! I started my blog in 2005 and many of my (blog) friends stop writing. For some,we befriended via Facebook (or Instagram) tho, but still, it feels different for me, especially ones who live abroad.
    I always curios what is like at the other side of the world. it’s a huge place.
    Lately, I “met” my old blogger friend again, Indonesian lives in German (and married to one) in Instagram. We haven’t “communicate via internet” like 5-6 years, and I found she just lost her husband. Damn Cancer…I cried…I still remember, her writing on how much they love each other, with all the culture obstacles, and so on.
    tho many of my friends (who still blog) monetize their blogs, I still write to keep my sanity…I talk to much, nobody wants to listen.

    • I do have ads because I need to pay for hosting, but making money is definitely not my goal here. Like you, I enjoy connecting with people in Canada and abroad and I feel I always learn something new.

      I told you a few weeks ago I didn’t realize you had started blogging in 2005. You’re an old-timer as well!

  3. I am a terrible blog writer (I don’t think I am even qualified to be one)… I have written a few articles for my blog when I started it 3 years ago and then…. life happened! I told myself I would write about our Australian adventures (where we’ve been the past 8 months) but we’ve been busy traveling, it’s a LOT of work (to write an interesting article but also to prep the pictures a bit) and I always wait for my article to be perfect. So I have a million of drafts (and bad excuses as you can see)! Thank you for this kind reminder, Zhu, I will get to it. If not for you, at least for me to practice my English writing skills 😉
    By the way, your blog is the only one I follow. I read the article right away each time I receive it through my mailbox and I’ve been doing so since 2013. I love it. Thank you to keep writing (I do like to look into houses with lights on and no curtains at night too 😉

    • Je note le blog, c’est super! Je ne te connaissais pas 🙂 M’en fous si ce sont des archives 🙂

      Blogging while traveling is a huge challenge. I usually write when we are stuck in buses, then I schedule the articles when we have an Internet connection. On one side, I’m more inspired because, well TRAVELING! ADVENTURES! But on the other side, I want to live these adventures and I don’t want to spend too much time behind the screen. The solution would involve days longer than 24 hours 🙂

      No pressure at all…. but I love would to read about your adventures in Australia! I added you to my feed.

      It’s an honour to be one your reading list… merci!

  4. I know what you mean. I have had my blog for 12 years now, and even I must say that a huge swath of topics I used to want to write about are now shifted to the private sphere. More private things I just share over emails (and I do have quite a few people who I email regularly). So what remains in the blog? As of now, I still have stuff I want to talk about on the blog platform, but I can definitely see how some blogs would just disappear. Things evolve after all…

    • You’re right, things change, life change and blog focus change too. I’m happy with what I share and what I keep to myself or share with a few friends, but I can see why it can be a concern. I like your travel articles though, and general outlook on life, so I hope you’ll keep on sharing that with us!

  5. I’m still here! 9 years and counting!
    Je compte pas m’arrêter. C’est toujours une bouffée d’air frais, mon blog. Même si ça coûte cher… ce n’est toujours pas une contrainte, mais aussi parce que je m’impose des limites très strictes !
    Mais je suis tout à fait d’accord avec toi. J’ai l’impression que beaucoup de blogueurs se sont essoufflés, ces derniers temps. Je te dis pas le deuil que je ferais si tu t’en venais à arrêter toi aussi… 😉

    • Nan, c’est bon, je reste dans la course! Je ne me sens pas essouflée, même si le blog a évolué (et moi aussi). J’aime toujours autant lire tes articles, même si tu n’as pas de calendrier précis. Justement en fait : c’est toujours une bonne surprise de voir un article de toi, ils sont bien écrit et avec des photos et tout!

  6. Sigh – I so agree. I’m guilty too – I used to post at least once or twice a week, now it’s down to once or twice a month. My blog is still important to me so I know I’ll never stop, but between work and moving on to other writing projects, it has taken more of a side-seat :).

    I’ve also noticed the dwindling number of “personal” blogs out there. It seems people interested in life-exploration are doing video now – YouTube or maybe Instagram or Tumblr. Podcasts are huge now, too. But I prefer the written word – I love to get lost in a really well written blog post that leaves me thinking about things.

    I didn’t run Blog Out Loud this year for this reason – it was getting harder and harder to find the writers. We used to be flooded with applications; last year I was chasing after people to ask them to apply. I think the difference is partly the new mediums (video and audio), but also the way blogs now seem to be marketed as a way to make a living. Last year I made a huge effort to find “young” fresh blog blood for BOLO but it seemed like every popular young blogger was doing a “business” thing – their posts were all sponsored content and giveaways or “lifestyle” posts about their clothes or things they had bought. I couldn’t find ONE that was doing a more personal, essay-style way of blogging.

    Sadly, I think that kind of diary blogging really is going away. I’m pretty sad about it.

    • I completely agree with your assessment, and I’m super happy I got to participate in BOLO last year since it was the last edition.

      Video isn’t a format I enjoy… and I love podcast but there is a degree of professionalism required. Many “me and my recorder” podcasts are awful.

      I’m split about lifestyle blogs. Some people are good writers and have the personality to make them work but I also stay away from blogs that are just a collection of product reviews.

  7. Blogging seems to be a dying art… yours and Alicia’s Own are two of the very few that continue blogging regularly. Even I have stopped! 🙂

    I don’t know what is it. Maybe people are favouring other ways to express themselves… shorter and/or faster like Twitter, or more focused on the pictures than on the words, like Instagram… In my particular case, I think it is just that I had to put the blogging on the back burner while I was dealing with other priorities. I am not planning on stopping yet (LfW just turned 11 years old last week!) but it’s getting harder for me to find the time to sit down and write something…

    • You’re right, I think there is a change of format. Now I’m not sure if we are a dying breed or just reluctant to change but I don’t enjoy video or Instagram as much as writing blog articles. I find Twitter entertaining and occasionally informative but I don’t waste too much time on it.

  8. Right? It used to be that I could spend hours each day browsing through blogs (back when I blogged in English) whereas now it feels like everyone if on Instagram instead. I have to say, as a lover of the written word, I prefer blogs to Instagram where everything looks so stage and “perfect”.
    Like you, I enjoy discovering how other pple leave, having a window on their life and connecting with others all over the world.
    Who knows, they might come back in fashion as a medium of expression again?

    • Maybe! I was actually surprised to see so many people writing a few years ago. After all, it’s not a hobby everyone enjoys!

  9. I wish that people who stop writing blogs would leave a wrap up post of why they’re stopping and if they’re ok. I appreciate the ones who do. I wonder about the ones who just stop writing.

    Social media posts can be interesting, but they are not made for the kind of thoughtful writing that blogs are, where you can explore an idea or thoroughly recount an experience.

    • I just don’t know how to express myself well on social media. I only know how to tell stories with words or occasionally pictures… but I don’t know how to constantly interact, post short witty comment, follow trends, etc.

  10. I like blogs. It’s a good alternative to Facebook and cie because on blogs people tell the truth. Not everything seems to be “perfect in a perfect world”. Blogs are places for reflection and compassion too. People don’t try to sell us a perfect life . My impression is that on blogs people try to share something they care about, something they want to think about, … And I prefer this. I don’t think I am able to write a blog, that’s why I share pictures. I don’t think it’s fair to read life of people without giving any informations about mine, so I share pieces of my life by pictures.

    I am also disappointed when someone stops writing. I am always a bit worried for him/her. I hope that nothing too bad happened. I enjoyed to take part to the food swap of Christmas last year.

    For me blogs are open windows on the world. And they are giving a picture of people’s life without the filter of media and false “a priori” that the mass communication give to us. I hope blogs will live as long as possible to allow people sharing life in all places of the world. And no, I am not a “bisounours” 😉 just someone who liked discovering other way of life…

    • Picture blogs are fine too, you’re telling a story as well! I just have a hard time with platforms that are just a social media, like Instagram or Twitter. Like you said, I feel that most of the time, people just try to impress each other.

  11. I also follow around 50 personal blogs and have noticed that most of them have stopped posting. I understand that life happens and that’s ok, but as you said I feel like I need a closure or else I wonder what happened next..

    You’re top 3 of my favorite bloggers ever and it is one of my secret fears that one day you will stop blogging as well. I found your blog many years ago when I was looking for info on immigration to Canada, and have been reading it ever since. It’s been so much fun seeing little baby Mark become a handsome little boy and I am excited to see him grow up! I love your travelling posts as well and can’t wait to see where you decide to go next:)

    Now that my immigration worries are behind me and I have made Canada my new home I continue to read everything you write. Just so you know, I save your weekly posts for my sacred Saturday morning binge reading ritual with a nice cup of coffee, so you better not try to be all cute and quit on us.. that would totally ruin my coffee 🙂

    • Aw… 🙂

      No, honestly, I don’t consider “quitting” at this stage. I’m happy with the blog, I still enjoy writing and I love interacting with people. It’s super rewarding for me as well follow your stories… like yours! I remember how anxious you were, and I’m happy to hear that you adapted just fine (again, tipping is WEIRD, that’s not you :lol:).

  12. C’est quelque chose qui me rend souvent triste – j’avoue une certaine bizarrerie ici – de découvrir un blog, au hasard d’une recette que j’ai recherchée par exemple – et de me rendre compte qu’il est abandonné depuis longtemps. Un peu comme devant une maison qui tombe en ruines. Ca m’interroge, je me demande ce qui s’est passé, je regarde les derniers commentaires laissés, etc …

  13. Yup, happens ALL the time. People will post sporadically or just stop altogether, but I get it. As a blogger who has blogged consistently twice a week for 5+ years (just cut back to once a week), I know everything that goes into a post and sometimes you don’t have the motivation or drive anymore. But on the flip side, as a reader, I know how weird it can be when a favorite blogger disappears, so that’s why it’s important to me to be consistent with content (or at least communicative). The good thing, though, is that there’s no shortage of fantastic blogs and writers so if someone closes up shop, there’s a new read right around the corner. 😉 Keep up the good work!

    • I find cutting back fairly normal. I do it too when I’m busy. But as long as there is some consistency (once a week, once a month, whatever), I still follow the blog and I’m happy whenever a new article is published. I do unsubscribe when I see the last few articles were all “I’ll write more later!” because from experience, I feel that chances are, the blog will be abandoned soon.

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