Ominous, or, How Blogs Die

I’ve been tidying up my Feedly subscriptions, trying to cut things down to the bare minimum so I can start following blogs I actually like and keep up with news from friends. I’m making an effort not to subscribe to (or keep up subscriptions to) every damned thing, because that was how I stopped following feeds in the first place.

So anyway: the ominous.

The death of a blog isn’t really ominous in itself. Lots of people have migrated to other social media platforms, though I feel sad about that in some ways: blogs work as a nice reservoir of thoughts, ideas, and so on, and in theory they can remain after the author has shuffled off this mortal coil, or whatever. (Tom Disch’s LJ, for example, is still out there, and you don’t need to go to the Internet Archive to read it.) But the end of his blog is a curious note, a post in which he mentions his own death in passing, though not in a way that suggests he was thinking of suicide, although that’s what ended his life. (An interesting speculative investigation into his suicide is up on Strange Horizons, for those who missed it.) But blogs end, like lives: it’s natural, it happens.

And maybe it’s not ominous is how many blogs that ran for years on end, suddenly go defunct without any kind of closing explanation or comment. They end, like life, out of the blue.  Sure, people get tired of writing, shepherding comment sections, fixing the plugins and worrying about CPU minutes and all that other crap… or they get tired of feeling like they should keep up with a given chunk of the blogosphere, or whatever. I suspect a lot of people just lose steam, and let their blogs run down slowly, until the readership dwindles to nothing, and then figure there’s no point in a goodbye post, since nobody’s reading anyway. That’s not so ominous, either.

But what is ominous is when you start clearing out your blog subscriptions, and discover how many posts end with a minor health complaint. Strep throat, or a sore neck, or a headache… and then, silence. The morbid imagination is tantalized…

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