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Designer Miles Lennon makes this observation and suggests a solution for it. I definitely see this happening quite often- I think one cause is that most blogs are not built around a central premise, and so the blogger lacks the need to update. Lifestyle logs, travelogue, or review-based blogs seem to get more traction because their writers simply post what their daily life. No need to search for profound insight to appeal to an online audience. Autobiographical blogs seem to be wither away slowly on a predictable cycle, as Lennon notes:

1) Euphoric moment of inspiration
2) Pseudo-maniacal and self-indulgent perusing of domains
3) Careful consideration of theme and design
4) The inaugural post – “Hello world!”
5) The 2-4 post honeymoon phase
6) Waning and changing interests
7) Feelings of desperation and apathy from low engagement
8) Inevitable abandonment :(

Personally, my experience has been more about not simply writing down my thoughts in time for the blog. Or having huge trains of thought that I ride down the Trans-Sibir, only to dissipate once I get down to the keyboard. Often it’s caused by an unwillingness to put in the labor required- setting up an entry, committing half-baked thoughts into actual publishable words, maintaining some coherency (ha, ha). And of course, it’s always easy to get distracted by playing with fonts or layouts or metaphors.

Lennon and Mitch Matuson have built Postary, a minimalist blog app built atop of the Twitter API, designed to maintain interest in blogs at step four above. Instead of having bloggers get too deep, they can keep posting fresh posts instead of falling into the cycle of inevitable decline. Twitter’s ultralight nature definitely helps this; it seems similar to other apps that bypass the 140 character limit, while maintaining a sense of brevity. I confess that I do not actually intend to use it- I want to stave off abandonment of this blog. But I do appreciate Postary’s existence. As the internet continues to expand and grow denser, established formats may change over time. Not everyone can maintain a million daily views blog, nor does everyone want one. Microblogging apps, tools such as 750 Words, and even the new WordPress update provide users with nicely minimalist interfaces to pour out their thoughts. Writer engagement should come first.

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2 Comments

  1. 95% is a huge number. I plan to stay in that 5%.

  2. It might help to not care if anyone reads what you write. You can think of your blog as a place to store your thoughts, but it just so happens to be available for other people to read. Problem: would that mean your quality of posting would go down because you wouldn’t care? Solution: Be habitually good at writing, or write to please yourself… I bet 95% of all people write to please themselves in the wrong way (self-indulgence) and not in the right way (high standards leading to personal enjoyment)… I can’t really define between “personal enjoyment” and “self-indulgence”, but you know, there is definitely a difference. I’ll have to think about that some more, if I remember.


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