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Saying goodbye

No, I’M not saying goodbye, but it’s been on my mind recently.

At some point this blog will end, it may be a gradual decline during which the format and content will slowly morph into something else, or it may just stop and be replaced by something else. I’m comfortable with the fact that I will always have an online presence, my own microbrand if you will, and I’m quite happy for that to evolve naturally. After all, what you see here today is far removed from what I started with.

However in the process of cleaning up the Scottish Blogs directory there is one glaring piece of advice I’d give to all new bloggers. As well as suggesting they concentrate on their readers, tell a story or two and so on, I’d also suggest they say goodbye.

In other words, don’t just vanish. I understand the initial enthusiasm wanes quickly and that the flourish of posts and surge of excitement can disappear as quickly as they arrive, but if you have any readers, hell even if you don’t, then a brief note to say goodbye would be nice.

Admittedly sometimes we don’t always get the choice, but if you do make the decision then, please, share it with the rest of us.

The next question is, how?

For me, a large part of blogging is about connections, and hopefully those would kick in if someone suddenly disappeared. They have in the past, with chains of emails surrounding the “death of a blog” quickly gathering facts and, typically, finding someone with a real world connection to the blogger in question. As we invest more of ourselves online, these connections become vital, linking online with off, and proving the blogging really is about people.

# ~ Blogs, Web 26 Comments


Comments (26)

LyleDecember 4th, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Funny enough I’ve been thinking the same kind of thing myself – about whether to put D4D™ on an extended hiatus, or to say “That’s It”, or what.

Decisions Decisions.

PewariDecember 4th, 2007 at 1:03 pm

The problem with goodbyes is that then everyone (who remained silent for months) starts posting how much they love you and how they really don’t want you to go… then you feel shit… then you start to miss it… and then you end up coming back anyway, so the “goodbye” post just languishes in your archives making you look stupid.

Not that I’ve been there at all. Oh no.

pixeldivaDecember 4th, 2007 at 2:01 pm

I didn’t mean to hiate, it just happened, and whoosh, six months had passed.

I guess the fact that however often I hiate, I always come back to it, and my readers have grown to expect that of me means that I don’t have to really think about a big grand goodbye (although it’d probably more polite if I said “BRB” or sommat).

Anyhoo. It’s nice to see that when you do come back, people notice.

Ah, the joys of RSS.

Goodbyes are weird though, and feel a bit dramatic.

RichardDecember 4th, 2007 at 3:11 pm

I don’t really want to say goodbye, because I might suddenly want to start writing again.

GordonDecember 4th, 2007 at 3:51 pm

Hadn’t consider hiating.

However if you “might suddenly want to start writing again” then that’s fine. But until you do, for all your readers know, you might have been hit by a bus!

The disappearance of Scottish Blogs site is partly the inspiration of this post, the guy I got the hosting from is the same man behind HaloScan. He, apparently, has dropped off the face of the planet, but then I only have an email address for him.

It’s disconcerting though, and I guess the relationships and connections built through blogging strengthen what would normally be a fairly non-event.

Blue WitchDecember 4th, 2007 at 8:08 pm

I get quite annoyed that many people can’t be bothered to post a quick goodbye before they disappear after all the time they have put in, and their readers have put into reading and commenting.

I think it’s just plain bad manners.

Easy to get round the sugary comments if you decide to close or hiate – close comments on that post!

PeggyDecember 4th, 2007 at 11:25 pm

It is annoying to have a blog on ones blog roll that just stops. A month goes by and then another. You write an e-mail to the blog owner asking if they’re okay and they say that they are fine, just busy. EVERYBODY is busy, they’ve just lost interest in writing. It happens. You’re right though, common courtesy dictates that you should say that you’re not going to write for a while if that’s the case. If it’s been a couple of months since your last blog entry it isn’t too late to say that you’re on a break.

The Haloscan guy should wake up. Blogger has just made everybody annoyed with a change in comment procedures and I’ll bet there will be a huge renewal of interest in Haloscan.

PeteDecember 5th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

The fantastic thing about blogging is that the rules and guidelines are kept to the bare minimum. Everyone runs their own site in however way they see fit, and because there are millions and millions of blogs out there, the end result is that there are no significant gaps in the spectrum.

I’m not trying to belittle anyone’s annoyance at bloggers who just stop without saying goodbye, because everyone is entitled to their opinion. But accusing them of “plain” bad manners or “common” discourtesy seems nonsensical and arbitrary. It just means that they don’t play by the same rules as you, and that’s their prerogative.

Just because someone has spent the last few years writing a blog and allowing you to read it for free, it doesn’t mean that they owe you anything. It’s their right to hiate, or not hiate, with as much or as little fanfare as they like, or to change format, or start writing exclusively about their kittens, or to start having opinions that you disagree with.

zDecember 5th, 2007 at 2:55 pm

I agree with you, Gordon. It’s not that it’s an obligation or that it’s intentional rudeness, but that people care and either feel worried that there is something wrong or hurt that a virtual friend just vanishes without explanation. If I were to stop, or take a long break, I would say so, and I’d email some people to explain more fully if there were a solid reason for stopping, rather than my blog had just run its course.

Blue WitchDecember 5th, 2007 at 2:58 pm

Interesting to see how people’s personal standards differ ;)

GordonDecember 5th, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Pete – I agree that there no ‘rules’. But I have to disagree.

I’m not infringing anyones rights (why does it have to come back to that?) merely asking for a little courtesy.

The “allowing people to read it for free” argument is bunk, if you didn’t want people to read it you wouldn’t publish it on the internet so you must have some other interest in doing so (even if that is simply enjoying the interaction). So if people are investing time in reading you, you repay them by… ignorance?

As for people’s rights to have opinions with which I disagree with, frankly Pete you are SOOOO far off the mark here that I wonder if you are intentionally try to wind me up? Are you kidding?

What has a genuine REQUEST for a little consideration got to do with infringing on rights?

Your responses is almost a sad indication of what has become of this country. Ask for manners and courtesy and get an attack based on how *I* am effecting *YOU*. How DO you get to that conclusion?

Sorry if my response is a tad strong but I really think you’ve missed the boat on this one. As is your right of course, just as you have the right to respond to this… comments are always open.

PeteDecember 5th, 2007 at 3:34 pm

“As for people’s rights to have opinions with which I disagree with, frankly Pete you are SOOOO far off the mark here that I wonder if you are intentionally try to wind me up? Are you kidding?”

You forgot the winky smiley at the end there.

“What has a genuine REQUEST for a little consideration got to do with infringing on rights?”

I think you might have realised that you are wrong, because there’s a definite softening of your stance here. Your entry had a much more “I command you to write a goodbye blog post” tone about it, and that’s also the sentiment that I picked up from a lot of commenters here.

You are entitled to request whatever you like, be it “manners” according to your preferred definition, or naked pictures, or anything else. However, my point is that the blogger also has the right to refuse. They have the right to disappear, or hiate, without writing a goodbye blog post. And because it is their site, their wishes trump yours.

“So if people are investing time in reading you, you repay them by… ignorance?”

You are entitled to consider your readers to be “investing” in you, but I don’t think that you can assume that other blog writers share this stance.

Like I say, you are entitled to run your blog in your own way. You are entitled to consider your readers to be “investors”, and repay them in whatever way you wish. But if you think that everyone shares this view, then I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.

GordonDecember 5th, 2007 at 4:26 pm

“I command you to write a goodbye blog post” tone??

You did read it, didn’t you? I suggested, and even phrased it as it “would be nice”. I see no commands, only a plea. Apologise if I need to state that more clearly.

And I try not to assume anything about any other bloggers (or people in general), but if you are saying that YOU (yes you Pete) don’t get ANYTHING from blogging then I’m calling you a liar.

And no, no smiley face.

But as you rightly say, I can’t make anyone do anything, if people want to vanish they will.

“their wishes trump yours.”

It’s THIS that irks so much. I’m happy for differing opinions, and happy for people to disappear if they so choose but what happened to consideration?

Ohh yeah that’s right, I forgot. It’s the “fuck you” society, innit. The “I’ll do what *I* want” mindset that seems to be the current staple, quickly backed up by “infringement of rights” (which it never is, instead it’s usually a moan that the person is been asked to consider the other human beings they share the planet with).

Well, frankly, fuck that.

You know what, in thinking about it, scratch all that, you’ve convinced me. Those bloggers who can’t be arsed extending a tiny bit of courtesy to others can chuff off whenever they like. I won’t miss them one little bit.

And no, still no smiley face.

PeteDecember 5th, 2007 at 4:41 pm

So you think that your wishes should trump theirs then?

Blue WitchDecember 5th, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Well said Gordon – you are so right about the “fuck you society.”

And, FWIW, *I* share your stance, and I suspect that a lot of your regular readers do. Which takes me back to my comment at no. 10.

It’s good that there are others who don’t see blogland as just another part of the disposable society, to be cast aside whenever the whim takes one, without any consideration for the feelings of others.

And yes, blogging *is* a two-way process, and, I do think we owe our readers/commentators the courtesy of explaining if we decide to leave.

So, that’s 2 of us who will be doing farewell explanatory posts as and when, then? ;)

GordonDecember 5th, 2007 at 5:31 pm

“So you think that your wishes should trump theirs then?”

No.

You are missing the point Pete.

There is no “trump”.

It’s a middle-ground, a compromise.

Apparently that isn’t the done thing. I’m willing to do it.

PeteDecember 5th, 2007 at 6:11 pm

“It’s a middle-ground, a compromise.”

No it isn’t. A compromise is what you get where two parties have mutually exclusive demands, but there is the potential for an outcome whereby they both reduce their demands in order to facilitate an agreement.

To justify your definition of this scenario as “a compromise”, you’ll need to prove that the reader has made some sort of concession too.

GordonDecember 5th, 2007 at 6:19 pm

Fuck me Pete, are you bored?

OK. It SHOULD BE A COMPROMISE between both parties.

SHOULD. Requires buy-in by both parties.

You know what else irks me? Arguments over semantics.

Blue WitchDecember 5th, 2007 at 6:50 pm

Is it wrong to be highly amused by what this post has provoked? ;) (and intrigued by why it has provoked?)

GordonDecember 5th, 2007 at 6:57 pm

That depends, BW, to whom are you referring?

Blue WitchDecember 5th, 2007 at 8:34 pm

I’m not laughing at you Gordon (although I do admit I found the first line of comment 18 hilarious :) ).

I just find it amazing that a plea for some thought for the feelings of others (who may be emotionally bought-in to a particular blog that disppears without trace) sparked such an outcry…

Which brings me back to my comment 10 again. Blogland is a microcosm of society, discuss.

hans stolteDecember 5th, 2007 at 11:07 pm

It will be like giving up drugs/drink/sex with monkeys

Misssy MDecember 6th, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Two of my favourite bloggers have not been posting for the last four months and I know it’s for personal reasons- life taking over etc, but I miss them and I worry about how they are.

I don’t think people realise how much of an effect their little musings can have.

Sadly I also think that some people can feel disheartened about the lack of comments they get and simply give up. They mistake lack of comments for lack of readers. Can I take this chance to ask each one of you to delurk on a site you read and comment just to gee people up and spread some good vibes, particularly if they are a new blogger.

It’ll make a difference.

ChameleonDecember 9th, 2007 at 10:31 am

If I were to give up my blog definitively I think I would pay my readers the courtesy of informing them of the fact. The “life intervenes” hustle-bustle factor does have an irritating habit of siphoning off mental and emotional energy the blogger might prefer to channel into output, however. Speaking as one who suffers from regular bouts of “hiatus syndrome” (such as right now, for example) a long gap between posts does not necessarily indicate a loss of inspiration or lack of will to write. Every spare moment that I have during weekdays is devoted to reading through the material I need in order to be able to complete blog posts. For example, for the planned dissection of the moral panic surrounding women and binge drinking, I have read approximately 50 books – and counting – (all of which I had to purchase myself, making blogging an expensive hobby – the newspapers alone cost 8 euros 75 cents a day and that is only for a sample of three across the political spectrum in an effort to avoid bias in one direction, the books, many of which are academic – as in 50 quid a whack due to small print runs, or, which is often worse price wise, rare, out-of-print academic works) and two years’ of newspaper articles. I still intend to finish this piece of research, but it takes time. I am also working in parallel on a series of essays on the subject of Englishness and social class (by way of light relief).
On top of this, my job, which is purely intellectual, leaves me with little by way of resources at the end of the day and the fatigue it causes creeps up an you insidiously, so that you only notice quite how exhausted you are when you have a longish stint of holiday. What I need to complete my various projects for my blog is a couple of months to dedicate purely to writing – this is where tiresome necessity makes itself felt big time…I can’t afford to take that time on unpaid leave.
I also have rigid quality standards. I would quite literally prefer to write nothing at all than post for the sake of it.
Blogs also evolve over time, as you rightly point out Gordon. Again, drawing on the example I know best, my own, when I started off and knew I had only one reader, my Blogfather, I merrily included a great deal of highly personal information. Now, however, I am increasingly loath to record anything about my daily life (in spite of knowing that these more “accessible” postings are more appreciated than my lengthy investigations.
What Misssy M so perceptively comments is also relevant – it can indeed be extremely disheartening to invest so much in a blog and yet receive so little by way of acknowledgement. I recently attended a launch celebrating the publication of a blog-based book. The author performed brilliantly and deserved every bit of attention she received. I was delighted for her (her observations are sharp and her talents as a humorist second to none). The famous speaker who introduced her remarked that if you are good you will be noticed. Of course this statement is not necessarily correct in a context of risk-averse publishing. Let’s be honest, however, unless a blog comes to the attention of a wider public and possesses commercially attractive features, it is more or less doomed to obscurity. Look at what has been or is about to be published: an allegedly “feminist” sex diary and the trials and tribulations of being a single mother (in a city with highly marketable associations/cultural connotations – Sadie from Scunthorpe struggling by on benefits would lack such allure in the American mind for a start). This isn’t about innate ability, but ticking boxes, a calculation on the part of publishers on what is likely to appeal to a mass market.
That supposedly encouraging throwaway statement (exacerbated by the unpleasant experience of being cold-shouldered by the clique of bloggers sharing their ex-pat residence of choice with me) threw me into such a depression that I squandered an entire weekend of what could have been productive reading/preparation.
What I enjoy about blogging is the freedom it provides and I do not think that Gordon’s call to courtesy should be misinterpreted as somehow laying down the law. That would be completely out of character.

WilmaryadAugust 25th, 2009 at 3:35 am

Funny how heartaches, for example, prompt people to write more on their blogs, probably to chronicle their “crossing of the desert” and find solace in the comments that may be likely to follow.

Not me.

My recent east side trouble made me want to quit it all. Instead of spitting out the bitter pill, or write to digest it properly, I spent hours butchering my blog’s design and re-designing it all over again.

It’s true, though. The desire to say goodbye is palpable.

PS. Nice blog. The minimalism rocks!

Andy CSeptember 18th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

I don’t adhere to any of the rules in the Bloggers 101 Guide.

I don’t adhere to any prescribed blogging frequency.

I write what I want when I want on what I want.

I’m not afraid of radio silence.

I just went offline for close to 3 months because I simply lost the desire and couldn’t be arsed.

I didn’t write a Goodbye post to my two readers.

If I had, I would have received a lot of mickey taking when I resurfaced.

Or maybe I’m just weird.

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