I look at my blog daily, maybe even several times a day. I don’t visit it to check if it’s still there. I am quite sure it is still where I put it and I have enough confidence in my hosting company that it is there for anyone to see. I do it because it is part of my daily routine.
Daily blogging routine
Writing a blog post is a very conscious act and requires you to enter the backend of your blog, the blog software. Unless you use the Write Post screen as the start page of your browser you need to open your browser, log in and go to the write post screen. I only turn my computer off when I leave the house and take my notebook with me to go to the university. After starting up my computer my Firefox browser and Thunderbird e-mail automatically load because I use these two daily and they are always running when my computer is on. I hardly ever close my browser and e-mail window when I am doing other things with my computer. My current start page is Netvibes, which bundles all the feeds I am subscribed to, and not WordPress. Why is that? I usually start my day with catching up with all the blogs I am subscribed to in Netvibes and then I click my shortcut bookmark to my blog’s stats. I visit my stats quite often to see:
- how many people visit my blog: about 800 unique visitors per month
- how people reach my blog: mostly through search engines/Google
- what keywords people use to reach my blog: top three: anne helmond, bill viola, alamo race track
After viewing the stats, I check my comments in moderation, view my blog, check MyBlogLog readers in the sidebar, visit unknown readers and scroll back to the top of my page. This is my daily (blog) routine which ends with a confrontation with my latest post.
The perceived freshness fetish
When I am confronted with my latest post the postdate catches my eye. It always seems to tell me that it is time to write a new post, that it has been x days since my last post. It implicitly tells me I have not written for an x number of days. Why do I feel that I need to blog daily? There seems to be some kind of consensus or norm in the blogosphere that blogs should be updated daily. Several blogs about blogging recommend blogging daily and Google and Technorati’s blog ranking are correlated to a blog its freshness. There is both an internal and an external “perceived freshness fetish” (Rogers) in the blogosphere. Internal as in a wish, a demand, a wanting to blog daily and external as in a requirement to blog daily to achieve a certain ranking. This freshness fetish is further imposed by using pinging to let services such as Technorati know that you have updated your blog.
The relationship with your blog
One of the reasons that inspired me to write this post is because I noticed that Twan/neW Media Wanderings, a fellow New Media Master student, had not posted for over a month. I always enjoy his posts and insights and I was almost worried because he was not blogging or commenting (he often drops by my blog to comment). Was he too busy writing his thesis? Did he stop enjoying blogging? I almost phoned him to ask him what was going. When we had a general thesis meetup at the university yesterday I asked him about his blog and he told me he was actually writing a post on the subject:
I thought Iâ€™d just try it, see what happens to myself when I donâ€™t post for a while. Although it isnâ€™t that interesting for the readers of a blog, you should definitely try it. Because when a blog becomes a McLuhanesque fixed charge in your life, the only way to see what has changed is to disconnect from it. (( Eikelenboom, Twan. â€œNurturing and death in Web 2.0 Â« neWMW.â€? 8 May 2007 <http://newmw.wordpress.com/2007/05/08/nurturing-and-death-in-web-20/>. ))
In this McLuhanesque way a blog as a medium is an extension of man that has effects. It is not only the relationship you establish with your readers but also with your blog. Apologizing to your blog readers for not writing is very common as the extensive list of apologies in “Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile” shows. Twan however is so connected to his blog in a McLuhanesque way that he apologizes to the blog itself.
This poses questions about blogs as living objects, blogs that have been abandoned, dead blogs and inactive blogs. Where do we find the dead blog cemetery and do we mourn about those that have passed away? What has happened to the owners and do they care? What external influences keep blogs alive or kill them? Do Blogger, WordPress and other blog hosting services close down blogs after a certain period of inactivity time? These questions require further research and a new blog post. Tomorrow? Who knows…