May 12, 2007

Are Leading Bloggers Getting Blog Fatigue?

It's no secret that keeping a blog frequently updated and interesting is no easy task. For as many blogs are started each day, it's believed half as many are abandoned, according to Technorati. Of late, I've seen signs of fatigue from a number of high-profile bloggers who are taking blog vacations, begging for guest bloggers to take their normal place, or in some cases, the bloggers are choosing to keep us updated in other ways - preferring Twitter or other venues.

Three quick examples: Jason Calacanis, Robert Scoble and Bonnie Wren.

Jason first wrote earlier this week that he was to take a month off from blogging, and that he would provide updates on his Twitter page. A follow-on note said he was going to in fact take two full months off, to return in mid-July.

While not moving away from blogging altogether, Robert Scoble has seen recent signs of fatigue as well. When the blogosphere reacted in horror to death threats to Kathy Sierra in late March, Scoble shut his blog down for the better part of the week in solidarity. Since the hiatus, Scoble's gotten back to blogging, but made noise about how he thinks his time is better served linking to other good writers, more than himself. He says, "I’m really having a lot more fun reading other people’s blogs lately than writing my own."

While he may enjoy his own surfing of blogs and calling out favorites, that's not what made us read him in the first place - instead his own observations on the industry, specifically, Microsoft, were why he became a must read RSS feed and authority. His link blog is great, but if too much emphasis is put here, he'll be in the category of Matt Drudge, who relies on links to others instead of original reporting.

Outside of the tech sphere, it's also clear real life can also get in the way of great blogging. Bonnie Wren, a fantastic writer who loves her kids and her bulldog, similarly claimed fatigue by the end of April, saying "I’m having a hard time taking care of all my obligations lately and need to take a break for a bit."

In the meantime, Bonnie has posted old material to fill the dead air.

As more and more people start blogs, and set a pace, whether that be 3 posts a week, or 3 posts a day, we should be thinking about the endgame. There's no question that some day we'll be done. Blogs will change to something else. I don't think it's Twitter, but it's something. At some point, blogs will close down from their current format. People, even the geekiest of us, at times will have lives and will choose to live in the real world instead of the virtual world. But I find it especially interesting that those leading the curve on blogging are themselves finding trouble or frustration in keeping it going. I hope the fatigue doesn't gain further momentum.


  1. I read both Scoble and Calacanis (who doesn't post with nearly the frequency of Scoble) and I'm not too dismayed, or surprised by their throttling back a bit.

    We live in an era of specialization and I think blogs are finally settling down out of the gee-whiz blogs are going to replace everything, into something more realistic.

    The kinds of blogs that are going to survive as a money making engine are those produced by specialists who draw readers interested in that particular thing. As has been mentioned, that thing was Microsoft in Scoble's case, and in Calacanis's case that thing was... well, "How I got rich off of AOL".

    Now they are both journalism school graduates I think, and as such, if any good at that profession they should both be able to hold and audience. But do most mainstream journalists write 5-10 articles a day plus handled all the reader feedback on those articles? I don't think so.

    Journalism has never been a really high paying profession except for those few who hit the big time by working for either one of the larger papers or TV networks, or who write repeatably best selling books.

    Now blogging COULD change that dynamic a bit, but I don't think the entire news-gathering industry is going to be replaced by blogging. Rather blogging will augment those other things.

    Look at David Pogue of the New York Times. Successful book author and columnist. Now he also blogs, and does regular podcasts. Everything he does points to everything else. I never actually read hi NYT column in fact until I started reading his blog, and then from that I subscribed to e-mails from the NYT to save having to check the blog, and then I subscribed to the podcasts because I found them more entertaining than informative. Great work by Pogue and the New your times in building a "brand".

    That I think is going to be the formula for MOST people to succeed as journalists. You have to be comfortable with all, or at least most of the media formats out there.

    Now for people who thought they were going to start making a living writing a blog, reality is going to set in, or already has. I guaranty you if there are people making six-figures by only writing a blog in their PJs every morning, they aren't going to get tired of it (or if they do I want to apply for their job!).

    I track a few hundred feeds via Google reader, only now that it is keeping statistics on me, I'm noticing some that I don't actually read all that closely. Soon I'm going to whittle that list down a lot and I bet others are doing the same. the RSS feed may serve as the meat in my reading list every day, but that will probably get augmented by searches that are subject based and don't lend themselves to a particular feed. I think the feed reader technology has helped many people zero in on what their daily list looks like, and that is probably making the long tail even longer than before.

    For those of us who have always blogged (or done other creative writing) just because we enjoyed it (and not to make a living) nothing is going to change. But for those who had higher aspirations, I can see how the fatigue would be a good way to describe what they are going through.

  2. It's interesting how you say "Blogs will change to something else. I don't think it's Twitter, but it's something."

    I recently stumbled across Tumblr (, and mentioned on my blog about how I thought it had the potential to change the blogging landscape.

    Tumblr is kind of inbetween Twitter and regular blogs, much quicker and simpler to update. I see this as being the way blogs will go in the near future.

  3. "People, even the geekiest of us, at times will have lives and will choose to live in the real world instead of the virtual world."

    My blogs have been down to about two posts per week (if I was lucky) for the past few weeks as life happened. Spring has found me spending more times outdoors, looking for renewed energy, and generally avoiding technology (well, at least after the workday is over).

    As for what comes after blogs, only time will tell. I have a feeling we won't even have to wait that long.