04 September 2006

Metablogging - Endings

A week-end spent browsing my favourite blogs revealed the announced end of two of them, both Irish blogs: Blank Paige has been blogging for a year; she started as a bet to herself (and her doubting sister) that she could sustain the discipline of daily writing. Now, a year later, she intends to stop:

I hope that you will excuse my discontinuing as a blogger. I genuinely don’t feel worthy of the description owing to my lack of original talent.

This seems to be a very personal view on her writing, certainly not shared by her readers/commentators, who protested in the comments box. Interestingly, some suggested that she "reinvent herself" and start a new blog (with a new identity?).

At the same time, another blogger, also Irish, also a woman, decided to put an end to three years of blogging, and successful blogging at that (she received last year's Best Personal Blog Award at the Irish Blog Awards). That Girl decided it was Time for a Change and will only maintain her business blog, leaving more time for her PhD research.

Both of them dedicated a post, their last one, to a farewell message and explanation of their decision. In both cases, it seems to be a genuine concern for the readers, a sense of responsibility for the blog, and not a subtle fishing for compliments. However, many other bloggers just end their blogs with a wimper, or nothing at all. A lot of the young people's blogs I had marked as favourites and possible participants for my research have just stopped blogging. One day's ordinary entry becomes, de facto, the last entry; no way of knowing why the blog was abandonned.

One of first blogs I ever read was written by an American middle-aged woman from Oregon. Her blog was a very personal diary, a book of days, reminiscent of older times; she wrote down every meal she cooked, sometimes adding a recipe, she listed the items provided in her husband's lunchbox, the chores she had accomplished, the books she read. She was also, to my mind, a very good writer, and she kept the online diary for over 5 years. Then, one day, she deleted it. It was a very old-fashioned diary site, with no facilities for comments, but I had emailed her once or twice, to let her know I was reading, and who I was. She had answered very pleasant messages, and knew she had a (very small) readership. A change in computer means I have lost her email address, and so will never know why she stopped writing and deleted the journal. Such is online life, where people can disappear from communities, leaving the others wondering . I really feel this woman's blog was more a technological memory than an opening to the world.

Yesterday, reading through The Big Brother's Leaving Cert English book, I found a quote from Derek Mahon, written about poetry, but that I find eminently suitable to blogs:

Whether we mean to or not, we offer ourselves and our works, such as they are, as illustrative symptoms of a period – the later 20th Century, say – and in that sense, everything has value, however slight. No doubt poetry, good or bad, is a waste of time; but waste, drift, contingency are the better part of wisdom. If it serves any useful purpose, it might be to retrieve the lost stuff: lost experience, lost ideas. Whatever proves uncanonical is at least documentary, evidential. We are all contributors. What was once true is true for ever. What seemed like a good idea at the time retains the cautionary or diversionary function; and “failure”, much
under-rated, is where all the ladders start.


Anonymous said...

Paige has posted again so head along there and encourage her to keep it up. I've missed her musings!

Paige A Harrison said...

You say it very, very well. I guess, I've become somewhat addicted to blogging but alas don't have enough invention to make it work for me.

I'm fascinated by the human interaction aspect which I never really expected. I think if I do blog again, I'll try to explore this angle more fully.

Nice blog btw!