I know the script I am supposed to follow for this post. I should apologize profusely for my absence, promise that I have seen the light and that henceforth, my posts will all be very interesting and spaced out exactly 3 days apart. Why 3 days, you may ask. Well, if I did actually get around to blogging everyday (not that I can, the mind boggles at the mere thought), I suspect that hordes of you will unsubscribe. There is only so much torture one can stand. After careful analysis, I have concluded that once every 3 days is just the right dose.
Picture courtesy jimg944
The script also says I have to come up with plausible reasons for my absence. They have to be good reasons, no “the dog ate my blog post” stuff here. It would be nice if I could show proof of having been kidnapped by aliens to Enceladus, or wherever it is that they kidnap bloggers to. Or at least, I should have spent a fortnight in deepest Africa without an internet connection. Good luck if I have done nothing like that.
I could, though, always say I had blogger’s block. That is a completely believable excuse, with the added advantage that you can never prove otherwise. I did not blog, right? Ergo, blogger’s block. QED.
Notice, all this while I am busy assuming that all my readers have actually noticed my absence and further, that they have given a second thought as to what could have caused my absence. I am probably even assuming that they missed my posts and wished I would return. The script would fall completely on its face if readers said “Oh, you were absent? I never noticed.” or worse “Oh, I subscribe to this blog? I didn’t know. Hmm.. Should I continue?”
But I speak heresy. Of course readers never think such things. They all miss every absent blogger. But there’s one thing the script is very particular on – Never ask your readers if they’ve actually missed you. (The script doesn’t say why, but obviously it’s because if you do ask, you won’t like the answer).
Now, given how many of us follow this script, I suspect it is carved in stone as part of Hammurabi’s code and handed down to us by our ancestors. And yet I still wonder why we bloggers follow this.
There is something else we do which also puzzles me – we warn our readers in advance if we are going to take a blogging break. You know, the “this blog will fall silent” post that we’ve all done.
Can a blog ever be silent? What about all the posts it contains? Do they not speak for themselves?
As a blogger, I’d like to think of a blog as a virtual pet that I feed content to, and keep alive by my posts. I believe my blog will go into a coma if I abandon it.
But is that really true ? Every day, tens or hundreds (or, if you are a really popular blogger) thousands of people visit blogs from the search engines every day. There may be just one post that speaks to them, or there may be two. These visitors don’t care about the author (how many search engine visitors looked up your profile or “About” page yesterday?) they just read the post (or not, you never know) and they go back into the woodwork of the internet.
Readers who have recently discovered your blog can read the archives. I am sure there are wonderful posts there that will give them plenty of joy. Even long-time readers may not have read your older posts.
So why do we do this to our readers? Why do we drive them away from our blog when we are not in town, or when we know we are not going to blog for a bit? Why do we assume our latest posts are all anyone would be interested in?
I notice that the comments to posts do die down after a while, if the blogger is absent. I wonder, do even regular readers forget about a blogger if they don’t get a weekly post?
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Does that happen at all with blog readers? Or is it more of “out of sight, out of mind”?
As for my own absence, I noticed that more people missed me on Twitter than on my blog. Given that I tweet even less frequently than I blog, I wonder what that means?