So I’m just going to say this. I know it might be an unpopular opinion, and that’s fine, but I feel really strongly about this so I’m going to put it out there. (I’m also going to assume that the people I’m referring to aren’t reading this blog (you understand why in a minute), so that makes it a little easier to just say it).
I think it’s REALLY FUCKED UP when people just walk away from their blog with absolutely no explanation. I think that is a shitty thing to do. I think it’s inconsiderate and thoughtless and selfish and RUDE. I think it’s just plain WRONG.
I dare you to try to convince me otherwise.
You see, what happened is this. I’m getting ready for BlogHer in two days. I’m now part of a group of Bay Area bloggers on Facebook and I asked them all to introduce themselves and say where they live and link to where they are writing. I want to add them all to my reader for a bit so I can see who interests me. But the idea of adding all these random blogs to my list, which is still about 90% ALI blogs, felt wrong. So I decided to create a folder for them (and, while I was at it, a folder for all the other blogs of women I meet at BlogHer) so I could still read just the people I’m used to most of the time, and then delve into the new people when I feel like it.
That was a fine plan except 95% of my blogs were not categorized in Feedly (because they weren’t in Google Reader), so I had to go through them all and put them into an ALI folder. As I was going through them, I realized that I hadn’t gotten a post from some of them for ages. So I started yet another folder. This one was titled Ghost Blogs?.
By the time I was done sorting everything I had about 80 blogs in the ALI folder, 30 in a Miscellany folder (yes, I was also surprised by this) and 50, you read that right, FIFTY in the Ghost Blogs? folder.
One by one I went through the blogs in the Ghost folder. Most of them hadn’t been updated in over a year. Some hadn’t been updated in THREE YEARS! I couldn’t believe it. For almost all of them I clicked on the final post and read it over. One post was about concerning NTU results. One was about a slow rising BETA. One was about a baby who was due in the next few days, but was expected to take his time. One was about a third rising BETA and first hopeful pregnancy. One was a, hey I haven’t written in five months but SURPRISE! I’m 20 weeks pregnant and all is going well! ALL OF THESE WERE FINAL POSTS. The blogs were NEVER UPDATED AGAIN! Who does that? Who doesn’t let their readers know what happened? How they are? If their babies were okay?
Reading some of them I was reminded of wondering what had happened, of thinking about that blogger for weeks and months afterward, going back to the url to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, commenting on the last post to check in. Sometimes I even emailed. I remember wondering for so long, WHAT HAPPENED?! ARE YOU OKAY? I was worried something went wrong. I assumed the worst, because WHY ELSE WOULD SOMEONE JUST NEVER COME BACK TO THEIR BLOG?!
Looking back through those blogs and reading those last posts made me mad. Remembering all the emotional energy I wasted on these people who never cared enough to return to their own space and give their readers a little closure. I think that is so incredibly rude. If you write a blog, you are asking people to read it. If people comment in your space, you know they are there, reading. IF YOU KNOW PEOPLE ARE READING A BLOG YOU OWE THEM A LITTLE RESPECT.
Yes, I believe that bloggers do owe their readership something. I believe they owe their readership an quick, simple update to let them know that they are done. I don’t think they have to explain why they are stepping away (though I would very much appreciate some understanding), but I do believe they deserve a simple, “Hey, I won’t be back here. You can stop waiting and wondering and returning to this space.” Even a, “Hey, I don’t think I’ll be back here, other shit came up and I might be back, but I might not,” that’s fine too. A blogger doesn’t owe her readers explanations or certainties, but she owes them some basic information, even if that information is, “I just realized I haven’t written in three months, it might be another three months before I write again or it might be never. Just a head’s up.”
So there, I’ve said it. I feel personally slighted by the bloggers who just walked away and never told us they were going to go. I think that was a fucked up move, especially when something big was about to happen. I think never coming back broke an unspoken agreement between the blogger and her readers, and I think everyone who read them deserves an apology.
There were a lot of other blogs I sorted through that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with. Many of the 80+ blogs I had in my ALI folder haven’t been updated in months. Some have been updated only once or twice all year, or haven’t yet been updated in 2014 at all. It made me incredibly sad to be reminded that so many people who used to be a staple in my days are just gone now. It’s not that I don’t think of them, because I do, but seeing their blogs and not being sure if they too would end up in the Ghost Blogs folder was kind of excruciating.
It’s not like I don’t know anything about all of them. I see some of them on FB, but I don’t really know what is happening in their lives and I wonder if others are on Twitter, happily tweeting away, but I still can’t bring myself to participate there. I still feel like the middle school loser sitting alone at lunch, while the popular kids bustle around the tables I haven’t been invited to sit at (or have been purposefully excluded from). Even if I could get over that feeling, the pace is so fast and the connection so fleeting. I feel like it’s just another thing compelling me to open my phone a million times a day, and I already have enough of those.
I know this is what happens, people drift apart, they stopping seeing each other and eventually realize they aren’t friends anymore. I know it’s an inevitability, but it still sucks. I wonder if part of what feels different, and almost hurtful, about it is that I’m still here, writing. I’m still doing my part to keep the lines of communication open, but so many people aren’t anymore. Maybe it kind of makes me feel left behind, like they have moved on to something else and I’m still here, plugging away, even though these people who were so important to me don’t seem to care anymore.
I’m sure that sounds supremely self-centered. Maybe it is. Honestly, I don’t even care if they don’t read me. I just want to read them. I’m sad they don’t write anymore. I’m sad I can’t comment. I want to know how they are, what their kids are up to, if they are happy.
But I suppose we all have to learn to let go. We have to let go of the people we read who abruptly abandon their space with no explanation, and we have to let go of the people who disappear slowly, over months and years. We have to let go of the people who tell us they just can’t write anymore. I’m pretty bad at letting go. I’m a sentimental person and if I can keep someone positive in my life, I will do it. But sometimes you just can’t, and that is part of life too. It seems that is a defining part of motherhood.
So if you’re still reading, and still writing, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, because I love you and DON’T WANT TO LET ANY OF YOU GO.
And you if you decide to stop writing, or realize it just kind of happened, please consider providing some closure for your readers. I promise you, they will appreciate it.
What do you think of bloggers who abruptly leave their space with no warning? Are there bloggers who are disappearing slowly that you’re sad to see go?