Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Blogs that stall

On Biblical Theology Jim West recently commented on the necessity to do a bit of house-cleaning from time to time because of the blogs that have stalled (my term):
By housecleaning I actually mean blog-cleaning. I've run through my bloglist and deleted blogs which have not seen activity in over a month. I'm not sure if the blog owners have lost interest (how???) or other things have taken over (like what????) or they have simply dropped out (as often happens in any endeavor, doesn't it?). In any event such blog-less-ness or blog-in-activity is something akin, to me, of the dreaded "page not found" message that plagues the internet. We all have run into pages we thought very useful and then one day when we went to check something on them, they were gone. Blogs that go unused are like that in that nothing reasonably new is mentioned on them and so pointing folks to them is like pointing them to a newspaper that hasn't published in a month.
What I do is to maintain my blogroll (left) via Bloglines, which enables me to manage the blogroll very straightforwardly. Newish blogs tend to go towards the bottom of the list and then work their way up as they publish more regularly. When blogs go moribund (or stall), which is always a substantial number of new blogs, I drop them down to a kind of limbo, which I monitor via bloglines but which does not appear on my blogroll. It's a doddle to do with their "public" and "private" categories. And that also means that stuff I want to look at that has nothing to do with the discipline, I keep in my private category. It is rare for a blog that has gone to my blogroll limbo to reappear but it has happened from time to time.

But why do some blogs never really get off the ground? Well, blogging is the kind of discipline that is very straightforward to start. How long does it take on Blogger? About five minutes? Regular consumers of blogs soon fancy setting up their own -- it's how we all started, I'd suspect. But you cannot know how well suited you are to blogging until you've actually had a go at it over a sustained period of time. There's no other way to test the water, though in general I'd suspect that those most suited to blogging are those who are already heavy consumers of the internet, e.g. who inhabit and contribute to e-lists, forums, newsgroups, or already run their own websites.

Jim Davila's recent SBL Forum article on blogging concluded:
. . . . I think we can look forward to a leaner, sharper, more cautious, and better informed press corps as time passes. If you want to hasten that process, then go and start a blog. It's easy.
I enjoyed that call to action, and it is quite right that it's easy to start one. What's tougher is to sustain a blog over time. For that, you need to become an addict.

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