Thoughts on blogging absences

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?


21 thoughts on “Thoughts on blogging absences

  1. look who’s awake!
    I thought u were busy w/ the financial industry stuff. (why do I keep thinking u are an i banker?)

    I am not an i-banker, even if I defended them strongly 🙂

  2. Some people prune their reading lists based of post frequencies.
    This works for both excessive posting and long absences as well.
    Some just don’t plain care, as long as there is something to read, while they pretend to work.
    There are a few who sulk when their feeds @#$%-up and they lose their readership, and a few who again just don’t care who is reading.

    Welcome back!
    PS: I lost my feed, hence…..

    I can completely identify with the category of those who would sulk if they lose their readers 🙂 Your feed seems fine (now, at least), but then, I haven’t read my feeds in a while, so..what was the issue?

  3. Why do we assume our latest posts are all anyone would be interested in?

    I don’t assume. I know 😀

    So how are you doing?

    Why do you think that is? Surely, someone would read our previous posts?
    I am doing fine. Well, if you really want to know what fine means, it is shorthand for “Vaguely dissatisfied with The Way Things Are But Cannot put my finger on What Exactly I Dislike.”

    See, I knew you’d prefer “fine” 😉

  4. Hamara bhi same-to-same ho gaya.

    That makes me smile – it’s been a while since I heard that phrase.
    You have a great reason, though – or rather, you don’t need one. You were on vacation. To India. Case closed.

  5. Don’t mind the absence, but (I think) I subscribed to your feed for the verse not the prose.

    Oh, you did? I wasn’t aware anyone liked my poetry 🙂 The last time I had a poll, my readers did not rate my poetry very highly – I think even my food recipes were rated higher (and if you’ve read my recipes, you know what that says) 😉

  6. “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”?”

    With my experience I would say the latter is what happens. Even regular readers forget if they don’t get a weekly post. But of course there are exceptions like me who was wondering just 2 days back that its been long since Lekhni posted something. 🙂

    Sigh. You are right, of course, it usually is “out of sight..” though I wish it weren’t. But thanks for thinking about me and wondering 😀

  7. I came searching. LOTS OF TIMES ( thats because i dont check my feed reader – i just float here and see. more personal that ways no?)

    Awww! I am so sorry to have disappointed you so many times 😦
    I do that too – for some blogs I read regularly, I just type in the link instead of wading through my feed reader – I don’t subscribe to comment feeds so I will click on to the post in any case. You are right, reading the actual blog does feel more personal.

  8. I did notice you were silent. 🙂

    Old posts may be good for new readers but for those who’ve been following a blog, I suppose it’s the promise of newer and newer posts that’s attractive, like a good thing that shouldn’t come to an end. I know I’d be disappointed if bloggers I liked take a long break or stop blogging – and if you’re a commenter as well, that’s a break in the communication, often an end to it if your only association withe the blogger was the blog.

    Yeah, and maybe I shouldn’t announce that I’m going to be absent and drive readers away, but in my case I think it’s more like telling my friends I’ll be away for a few days, have to go back and check, really. And yes, out of sight is out of mind, eventually, maybe faster in some cases, slower in others, as I’m coming to discover with some blogs that have been inactive for a while now.

    You are right about blogging and commenting being part of an ongoing discussion that one misses, especially with bloggers one only knows online..

    Sometimes, I wonder if one gets addicted to certain bloggers, in the sense that one needs a “fix” of a post every few days. And then, one tends to expect a certain kind of post from every blogger (based on what we like about that blogger) and if the new post does not meet our expectations, it’s as if we haven’t gotten our fix.. like a slightly unsatisfying cup of morning tea/coffee..

  9. I am grateful to Bollywood – but for the crap films I see – my blog would have been in coma a long while ago.

    You are too modest. I actually don’t read your reviews as much as your poems (I hardly ever get a chance to watch movies anyway). I wonder where you get such appropriate pictures too – which are so good I sometimes suspect the poem was inspired by the picture 😀

  10. I think it depends on a lot of things like what kind of content your blog has and how long you’ve been blogging. If you write about news and current affairs, obviously interest dies down if you’re not keeping up to date. On the other hand, a personal blog gets more leeway in that. If you are someone who usually interacts a lot with your readers, they are bound to miss you when you vanish and depending on how much miss you, they’ll either wait or move on to other blogs. In terms of sheer numbers, I found that even a 2-week silence didn’t reduce my readership. Of course this could just mean that a lot of steady readers left and were just naturally replaced by others. Since a lot of my friends read my blog, they knew I was away and were quite willing to wait. And finally a 3-day interval is generally a good one, I found too. I pace my posts better now since someone accused me of being alternately antisocial and ‘spurty’.

    Okay, that’s one loooooong comment but it’s my resolution to lurk less and interact more with the bloggers I read. 😀 Besides, you did ask.

    Exactly my thoughts – it’s not as if I were reporting on news, I thought. But as I can see from the comments, it’s much more than that.
    I can understand the alternately being antisocial and spurty part. Unfortunately, while one likes to read posts that are spaced apart, the writing happens in spurts. Thank God for future posting!

    I loved your long comment, and yes, I did ask. Seriously, the longer the comment, the more I appreciate it (and the time taken to write it) 😀 No doubt, I have learnt something from my teachers who used to grade answers depending on how long they were 😉

  11. I missed you and came over often since I’m a dino with no feed reader.
    Pliss don’t disappear like this with no warning!

    Your wish is my command, Your Honor! I am very sorry, your Honor! I won’t do it again 😀 (Do I sound like an abashed schoolgirl? That’s because I feel like one 😉 )

  12. Of course I missed you and wondered what was up, but this sort of thing happens to almost every blogger (I’m going through an arid spell myself!) and I knew (hoped?) you’d be back sooner or later, you always have something interesting to write about. So take your time, I’m for quality over quantity any day.

    You’re right, but then you are also assuming that even if there isn’t quantity, there will be quality 😛

  13. Was gonna ask abt Twitter, but then u hav already mentioned that. Being active on Twitter is like being online on messenger. U’ll generally know when someone’s not arnd when tweeting stops or tweets are automated, especially when u don’t follow a lot of ppl.

    I haven’t been reading blogs for that long, for me to start missing it once the post stops. Though absences do get noted. So, welcome back 🙂

    Ah, I see you haven’t become addicted to blogging yet 🙂 Though Twitter seems to have got to you!

  14. “As for my own absence, I noticed that nore people missed me on Twitter than on my blog. Given that I tweet even less frequently than I blog, I wonder what that means?”
    – That less is more? Sorry, just kidding:)
    I can’t say I missed you like all the others because this is the first time I’ve landed on your blog. But I will be coming back for sure, so I hope you do not disappear again. 🙂

    Yes, I wonder too, if it means less is more. But how much less is more, and when does less stop becoming more, and becomes, in fact, too less? If one post a week is more, is one post a month even more, or too less? Deep philosophical questions, these 😉

    Oh, and if you are new, I would definitely recommend the archives. I was funnier, once. Sigh.

  15. Welcome back!
    Good point you raise about the value of older stuff…it is not fair that a post that you put so much effort into creating just gets attention for a few days till the next one comes up, and then is lost into the dark abyss of the archives.

    Exactly my feelings. Plus, I feel some posts, which were unfortunate enough to be published just before a long weekend or some such bad time, are never seen by many before they vanish into page 2, which is the start of the dark abyss 🙂

  16. I prune (you are a gardening freak, hence the uasage) my feed -reader regularly, but find that some bloggers stobbornly keep their place in the reader, by virtue of their sheer quality.

    You are one of them.

    Blog away. We will make do with the absences.

    Hey, that was a very touching comment! I just hope I live up to your opinion!

  17. Lekhni

    Firstly It is easier to ping on Twitter and ask about someone’s welfare and do so privately. Where do we leave such a note of concern on the blog without everyone reading it?

    Secondly, you could always put the ‘blogging without obligation’ badge on the blog. 🙂 That (re)sets expectations. Nobody, even those who love your blog, will come and read it all the time.

    I am reminded of a line from a Mahendra Kapoor song (not fully appropriate but we are all suffering a surfeit of content so this comes to pass often):

    Talluk rog ho jaye to usko bhoolna behtar
    Tarruf bojh ban jaye to usko todna achha..

    (A relationship that becomes an illness, a scourge, it is better to forget; an acquaintance that becomes a burden, it is better to break off).

  18. Hi, have just found your blog. I usually read the oldest posts on any blog, because I find them to be the best of the lot 😉
    And if i really like something, I come back and re-read it. I don’t think any of them come with an expiry date 🙂
    And i am selfishly hoping that you’ll take some more time off, so that in the meantime, I can catch up on your blog 🙂

  19. I personally miss when my favourite bloggers dont come up with a post..but I dont crib about it coz they have busy lives of their own..but then you cannot control your wish right!;-)

    On a personal note, I would be devastated if my favourite bloggers just stopped blogging..few bloggers who stopped blog a year ago..I still miss their posts..its only nostalgia that remains..

  20. “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”
    I liked very much the image u have done about the bloggger and its blog.
    I think regular reader notice the absence of the blogger and appreciate the fact, that a blogger informs about his abscence. That shows the seriousness of the blogger nad how important is blogging for him.
    apart from that, personally I prefer beeing a regular reader of some blogs and take an interest in the personallity of the blogger.

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