Blogging Lifecycles

I’ve been thinking about the lifecycle of blogging. This is prompted by my move from Bloglines to Google Reader, which (among other salutary benefits) has allowed me to add new blogs again after having repeatedly cut my blog subscriptions in Bloglines. I had subscribed to and then dropped a lot of blogs over the course of my Bloglines relationship, so I have been checking out the latest status of many of these old favorites.

Based on this ad hoc review, I’ve observed a possible pattern to the lifecycle of bloggers. Bloggers typically start with a ton of enthusiasm, enamored by the freedom to write and the positive strokes received in return (I’m reminded of Dan Solove’s humorous post about that), plus new bloggers often have a backlog of topics to cover. Then, one of two outcomes seems to occur:

One main outcome is that the blogger flames out pretty quickly (in a few months). The blogger may run out of ideas for new posts, or find that blogging takes more time than expected, or something else. Either way, the blog quickly becomes orphaned.

The other main outcome is that the blogger becomes successful. As a result, the blogger garners some attention for his/her blogging, which generates more demand for the blogger’s attention that predictably increases the blogger’s workload–more speaking invites, more invitations to write elsewhere, more press calls, more prospective client calls, etc. This is a successful and usually desirable consequence of blogging, but inevitably the increased demands have the collateral effect of cutting into blogging time, meaning that the successful blogger progressively reduces the overall quantity of blogging. Accordingly, some of my longtime blogging favorites from 2005 and 2006 have effectively stopped blogging or are blogging very, very infrequently. I saw very few bloggers from 2005 and 2006 who blog as much today as they did in 2005-06.

Blawger burnout seems like a perfect topic for our next gathering of the Bay Area Blawgers. In January, I’ll send out more information about our fourth gathering.