Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Better to burn out blogging than to fade away?

Blogging For Dummies
Originally uploaded by Somewhat Frank.
About a month ago, Jon Tevlin, a reporter from the Minneapolis-St. Paul based Star Tribune, e-mailed me about a piece I'd done last February on my blog entitled "My Blogger Burnout." Seems he was doing an article based on a prediction that the blogging craze has peaked and is heading downhill.

In my burnout piece, which I also reposted on Blogcritics, I wrote about how blogging had overtaken my life. Even though it meant that I hardly left the house anymore, I was hopelessly addicted. My burnout post was written in an attempt to come to terms with this, and to realize my "vow" to get out more and not let the seasons go by with barely a glance up from my computer.

As luck would have it, I'd just started blogging again after my depression-fueled near-hiatus of several months when Jon contacted me. So I was able to honestly tell him that though I hadn't given up the blog, I was trying to balance it a bit more with my "real" (?) life.

My boyfriend BG, whose constant refrain when I'm at his place is to "turn off that stupid toy," has long maintained that blogging is strictly for youngsters. He saw a report on TV awhile back that claimed that the vast majority of bloggers are teens and pre-teens. Being a proud Luddite--and since he loves to tease, gloat, and otherwise torment me whenever possible--he takes great delight in informing me on a daily basis that my pursuit of the blogosphere is a childish waste of time.

But I still find it hard to come to terms with the fact that there are so many folks, including those in the MSM (mainstream media), who dismiss and/or trivialize outright the overall impact of blogging. Doubtless some feel threatened by the fact that there are blogs out there that cover the political scene and current events more doggedly than the MSM, and report on details and phenomena they choose not to cover--or at least not with the depth and often obsessive ferocity that can be seen in the blogosphere.

Blogging also gets a bad rep due to such sites as MySpace, which seems to be a fave of child stalkers everywhere. And of course, it's undoubtedly true that for many ex-bloggers, the novelty of the medium quickly wore off--especially if they really had nothing much to say.

In any case, I e-mailed Jon back and forth, and asked him to let me know when the article came out. He didn't, though, so I did a search and found it on the Star Trib's website. It was a short writeup, but I'm happy to say that I got a fair amount of "ink," so to speak. But I can't help but wonder if Jon was just too busy to notify me that the piece was out, or considered me such a loser that I wasn't worth the e-mail.

The gist of the article can be found in this paragraph:

"The technology firm Gartner Inc. has announced that 2007 may be the year the blog world loses steam. Perhaps hot air is a better term."

According to Gartner, as of last October there were more than 56 million active blogs (per Technorati), but on average most last three months or less. With more than 200 million ex-bloggers, it is predicted that the first half of this year will find a peak number of only around 100 million active ones. MySpace and Facebook are losing a significant number of users as well. Gartner's prediction points to a likely leveling off to at least 30 million active bloggers and 30 million "frequent community contributors" (whatever that means) worldwide when all the blog hoopla dies down.

Says Tevlin: "That's still a lot of yapping, but consider that Google recently estimated that the average blog is read by one person. In other words, for most bloggers, that means your mom's not even reading you anymore."

"The reason, according to Gartner, is that people have gotten bored with their blogs, or just found the responsibility -- not to mention the strain -- of saying something profound or even interesting every day just isn't worth it."

Although the piece--entitled "Bloggone!"--didn't exactly make the typical blogger look too good, that didn't bug me much. What did perturb me was that there were no hyperlinks in the piece--except for one to noone could even click on my blog for a look-see. How internet-unfriendly can you get? Besides, my blog stats are so pathetic that getting a few extra hits from the article would have been appreciated.

In any case, I hope some of you will check out the article, as I'd be interested to know what folks here think about the supposed decline of the blogosphere.


At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see his point and could agree with part of it but only part.
Blogging has become somewhat of a fad, another way for people to meet and communicate but, yes there is a but; BUT the core of blogging is the people who like to write and those are the numbers that matter.
Curiosity will bring people into it in droves and like your real estate post where you said how the trend of the neighbourhood caught on and the retail stores moved in well this is the same.
When the businesses saw something new that they could exploit they move in and made it even bigger, boosting blogging to a fad status thus peaking people’s curiosity enough to try it.
If this is the information he is basing his research on then it’s flawed because it doesn’t represent the true blogging community.
Those are the numbers that are growing at a steady rate and holding.
The rest are just people checking it out.
Some people do get burnt out and some of those come back.
Others have less time because of obligations but they to pop in and post on occasion.
Those are true bloggers the people who like to write out loud and welcome others in for a peek.
It's not how often they blog but that they do.
As for being able to write something profound ever day, I didn’t know we had to write anything that was profound.
Besides how more profound can life be, we’re alive to blog about it?

BTW anyone who would consider you a “loser” needs to find a life and experience it.

Have a nice day E

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous pia said...

If people read the Technorati A list blogs-from the samples that don't change--they would think that blogging is all about product placement and tech things

Other people think it's all politics and I must have "made" my rep from that--no they did from me

Blogging is in it's infancy really and nobody knows what's going to happen--that's part of blogging's wonder

It was a great quote, Elvira, and I can't believe that he didn't link you or give the url name--though that might have been a problem but there are always **

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


it's too bad some people find it not worth the effort to find something to type in efforts to be some sort of prolific writer.

It's just such a shame (many violins senselessly blasting away, in tiny harmony)...

Elvira, you got wronged and I too got wronged. The hyperlink is a virtue. The hyperlink is me shaking a neighbours hand. It is the importance of all this and to not give a proper handshake has lasting effects. I know this because it happened to me in a piece written by an LA Times writer who at first said something really nice about what I had written, then in the next breath didn't mention my name OR my blog. It's like... why write?

What is the point?

Anyway- blogging is not done. It's a stepping stone for a lot of people but for me it's like basketball- it's life. I don't live and die for it, but it will be granted a place (and some time) in my life, especially on cold rainy days when I don't have to go to work.

And just to add to my point- the commentor above (PIA - is a blogging friend of mine. I had linked to her site almost 2 years ago and she's amazing. When I decided to leave a comment here on your blog, it was soo fitting to see her comment there. Just more indication I have to keep blogging and you will too.

Love (and basketball),

At 5:32 PM, Anonymous al said...

Blogging is communication, which, while its shape may change from time to time, will never, so long as the species endures, "burn out."

At 3:29 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thank you, my friend...I think Jon Tevlin was concentrating on his "angle" that the blog bubble has burst--just like all the real estate bubble blogs delighted in the thought of millions of people losing their shirts in a real estate downturn.

And yes, it doesn't have to be a "contest"--not everyone is trying to become a professional blogger or writer or pundit. It's not a job where one has to post every day--unless you're one of those uber-bloggers trying to make some serious bucks. What's great about blogging is the linkage and the contacts with others--a real community, which is something completely unprecedented.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yes, I agree--blogs are here to stay, despite the nay-sayers.

I really do think it was rather rude of Jon not to provide linkage. I'm pretty positive I also told him I write for BC and that I used to write for newspapers, but that didn't fit in with his thesis so he didn't mention it.

It was a bit flattering to be quoted, but I'm fairly sure that Jon knows precious little about blogging and doesn't really care to find out more. His loss, I guess.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Basketball is Life:

So aptly put! The beauty of the hyperlink is absolutely revolutionary. Blogging aside, if you look up anything on the internet and click on a link it's like entering a brand new universe with the greatest of ease.

And it's truly wondrous how we can all be connected at the click of the mouse--the sense of community and inclusion is extraordinary.

Your handshake analogy is spot on. That's why I felt so snubbed by Jon--because it would have been no real effort for him to add the links but I guess he is really not attuned to the power and beauty of hyperlinking. Thing is, his own writing gets more play because it's also online now...ironic, no?

Yes, it's a small blogging world sometimes...I don't know how I missed PIa's blog all this time...I finally discovered here via a piece she did for BlogCritics. Just following people's blogrolls can lead to some incredible new connections. I'm very glad you commented here!

At 3:43 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Absolutely true. Even Jon in his piece attempted to "balance" his argument by quoting someone who predicted that the blog medium may continue to evolve but still exist in some form or another. But it didn't seem like a very enthusiastic thumbs up either.

It's very hard for me to understand how someone in the MSM--at least newspapers--could discount the power of online communication. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't many papers experiencing a decline in offline readership? To not be an online presence in this day and age is anacronistic, and I can't imagine any major media outlet not embracing this to some extent.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger JM said...

I find myself agreeing with some of what he says, although the overall tone is pretty dismissive of bloggers. Even with the inevitable drop out of bloggers, and the equally inevitable burnout (which for most, just results in a break from and not abandonment of blogging) I don't see it declining in popularity soon.

Then again, there are those of us like myself who never even tried to make our blogs interesting or ever had any pretense of having anything profound to say, but somehow still blog anyway. Even with that sort of "monkey throwing feces" approach to blogging, one can still experience burnout. I hope you don't and that the balance thing works out for you.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


I just checked out your blog and you are being waaaay too modest! I'm really glad you stopped by and i will return the favor with pleasure.

At 12:47 PM, Anonymous pia said...

Just saying hello and see that you met Joe who was one of the first people to blogroll me when I had no idea what the hell I was doing.

Blogging's like anything else. I do tend to treat it like a non-paying job, so yes I go through burn-out periods especially when I was writing for two blogs full time and involved in contests.

I did ask everybody I know who would not to nominate me for any this year as I was always away or doing something not blog related, and I realized how silly they are at this juncture in blogging when it should be a supportive way of communicating.

I have never met some of the people that I consider to be my good friends, and know that I would love them if and when we did meet

Blogging is so powerful in so many ways we're not even aware of yet

People say that I write too much about blogging itself. Screw them, and by nature and aptitude I'm an urban anthropologist--or sociologist.

I choose to write about a revolution I happen to be part of

And blogging is changing the way we communicate

I think that many newspaper and magazine writers are scared of having to compete in a peoples meritocracy.

And we should be proud of our roles

At 10:39 PM, Blogger Timothy said...

For me, it is not important what others are doing with their blogs. I still use mine and in fact have 2 now. If it is a fad and buring out, then bye bye, but I am still here. If I do not have anything to say, then I do not blog. Maybe my blogs are not interesting to others, and so what? I get my needs from it. I will admit to spending more time than what I feel I should at times with it. My art and music suffers, but then I get a simular 'creation fix' from bloging. I have found it helpful to get comments from others. MySpace has a bad rep for child preditors and that is perhaps in part the blogers responsiblity. My 18 year old son is on there, but I have not been on but for a quick view and not on his blog site. I love your blog here and I hope you stay for a long time, no matter what others think or say about you.

At 8:13 AM, Blogger Justine said...

My view: Its a tool, but like there is a range of media. So, of course we use some things then the others.

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