Note: In an effort to conserve energy (my own), this year I'm recycling the post I wrote for the ninth blogiversary in 2016. I'll update some numbers and add comments at the end.
Every year when this anniversary rolls around, I'm amazed I'm still doing this. The blog began as a way to save time (!) by posting interesting things so I wouldn't have to email them to friends and family. It quickly morphed into an every-day chore (note the "weekday reading" and "weekend reading" lists in the right sidebar, which I no longer find the time to browse with regularity). Now I view the blog as a preparation for eventual senility - a repository for things that will entertain and interest me that I can read/forget/reread/forget again ad infinitum at some date hopefully still well into the future.
TYWKIWDBI will finish 2016 with over 14,000 posts which have generated about 48,000 comments from a couple thousand followers and a much larger number of occasional visitors who have generated about 21,000,000 pageviews.
And now what? Back on my sixth blogiversary I cited Jason Kottke's observation that traditional blogs are a dying breed.
"Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs.I have not seen any recent data on the "state of the blogosphere." Technorati used to publish an annual report on the numbers of blogs and relevant trends, but even that analysis seems to have faded away. I don't intend to switch to a different platform. Last year I expressed my own attitude this way:
Instead of blogging, people are posting to Tumblr, tweeting, pinning things to their board, posting to Reddit, Snapchatting, updating Facebook statuses, Instagramming, and publishing on Medium. In 1997, wired teens created online diaries, and in 2004 the blog was king. Today, teens are about as likely to start a blog (over Instagramming or Snapchatting) as they are to buy a music CD. Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids..."
I still struggle with motivation to keep blogging because of the seemingly unending distractions of real life. But I do get a great deal of satisfaction from the depth and breadth of knowledge, the sophistication, and the almost always unfailing courtesy of readers who comment on the posts. I learn things, I teach things, and every now and then I get help with my car or my computer for free. Such a deal.There are days when creating a series of quality blog posts is extremely satisfying...
...and other days when it seems to be an annoying chore (especially when the material involves politics or current events)...
To avoid the latter, I've already begun morphing the focus of the blog, pulling away from current events and starting to go a bit "retro," harvesting some of the many many thousands of links I've saved up over the past nine years (no sense saving them if they're not going to get used). So I believe long-time readers here will start noticing some alteration in content, with more focus on older material (which also saves me surfing time). I do fully intend to push on to reach that tenth blogiversary next December. After that it will be time to seriously reassess my priorities.
Addendum: New numbers: we now have 17,000 posts in TYWKIWDBI, and 59,000 comments. We still have a worldwide audience -
but traffic continues to decline -
- certainly in part because of my decreasing productivity, but I think also a reflection of a broader trend in cyberspace use. (I'd be delighted to read comments from other bloggers who have been around for ten years as to whether they have seen a similar trend).
My long-term plans remain the same (assuming my health holds up) - to maintain this blog with similar content (but less politics), at a posting level that would make a once-weekly visit by readers appropriate.
For the near term I'm going to take an end-of-the-year blogcation, but hope to fill the void by reposting my favorite posts of all time - the photos and stories of readers' bookcases. And there will be no blogging tomorrow because the King William's College "Christmas Quiz" is scheduled to be published by The Guardian, and I have an annual appointment to join a group of cyberfriends from Great Britain, Finland, and elsewhere for a joint effort to solve all the questions. Should be great fun, but will take all day. Here is last year's quiz.