Should we let sleeping blogs lie?

I don't have any photos of a sleeping blog, so here is my sleeping dog - Smelly Dog.

I don’t have any photos of a sleeping blog, so here is my sleeping dog – Smelly Dog.

Every so often, I drop by to see you. I’m concerned, but you don’t know. You are comatose, frozen in time. Your stats line bleeps in surprise at my occasional visit, yet no beautiful nurses run in with Dr Carter to wipe your brow and call your family. Nobody does that for a blog. You are a sleeping blog, hanging in the void – waiting to discover if you will be reanimated, remain in creational hibernation, or disappear with a simple, decisive click of a mouse.

As time ticks by, I think back to when I first discovered you. You were one of the first blogs I followed – your positivity made me want to get up, get down, get out, get going and otherwise groove, James Brown style, as I read the latest batch of posts over my morning coffee. You were among the first real people (as opposed to robots) to send shivers of pride down my newbie blogger’s spine when you not only “liked”, but commented on my efforts.

Then suddenly, your posts ceased. I still pop by from time to time, and sigh as your post from six months ago fills the screen, the comments politely paired up below with their replies, like happy couples waiting for a table for two at the diner. I feel like a drug addict, staring through the chemist’s window at his fix of happiness on the shelf.

Never underestimate the effect a good blog post can have on the start of MM's day. You count.

Never underestimate the effect your blog post can have on the start of MM’s day.

I often hope that something wonderful happened to you. Maybe you had another baby, won the pools, inherited a Swiss chocolate factory or got swept off your feet by the working mother’s answer to George Clooney (with or without the coffee machine). Or has something awful happened? Maybe you got the dreaded blogger’s block. It was impossible to conceive that blogging could have fallen out of favour – if I love blogging so much, then surely other bloggers do too… or maybe they don’t. Maybe your life has evolved and changed, and your need for blogging has passed.

My finger has hovered over the mouse so many times – should I write a new comment, and see what happens? Would a quiet nudge in your cyber-spatial ribs revive you?

Thus the question reared its ugly head: should we let sleeping blogs lie?

Hands up if you have ever clicked on that email contact form to check if a fellow blogger is ok… I plead guilty. I nudged a favourite blogger in the past when he uncharacteristically stopped writing. I admit that I was concerned – was he ok? On the other hand… was it really any of my business? Why was I concerned about a person I had never met before? It could be perceived as rude – after all, who was I to get pushy? But could I do without my fix? No. I was uncomfortable to realise that my reasons were also selfish: I missed his posts and the interaction on his blog.

As you follow a blog, you inevitably become involved. You follow a life story, and strangely enough, a bond is created between people who don’t know each other from Adam. Two bloggers who chat regularly in the blogosphere wouldn’t necessarily even recognise each other if they sat side by side on the bus, yet they may bring a necessary smile to each other’s faces on a regular basis. The anonymity of sharing and discussing through the written word means that we are sometimes more prone to revealing our fears and feelings to our readers than we do to those who are close to us in our everyday lives. Welcome to the paradoxical blogging dimension, where people are both friends and complete strangers at the same time.

The Fox Tames The Little Prince

The Fox Tames The Little Prince (Photo credit: Pictoscribe)

This made me realise that blogging involves a risk – one described so well by Antoine de St Exupéry’s “The Little Prince,” when the fox tells the prince:

“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….” 

Without being as melodramatic as the fox, who has never blogged and never will do, it’s true that building a relationship with someone, even when you have never met them in person, makes them part of your world. And however small that part may be, you notice when it disappears. Whether it’s a regular reader who suddenly goes off your blog’s radar, or a blogger who stops writing, something goes missing. Or maybe it’s just me? In that case, some of you are probably thinking it’s time to back off from MM’s blog incase she starts getting too demanding. But I don’t think I’m the only person who believes in the fabulous human dynamics of blogging.

So here I sit at the head of your blog bedside in the home for sleeping blogs, hoping that you will come out of your cyber-coma. I miss you. If you’ve stopped blogging for ever, thank you for sharing part of life’s journey with me. But if your stats monitor suddenly bursts into activity, Carter, the nurses and I will all be waiting for you.

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62 thoughts on “Should we let sleeping blogs lie?

  1. Nice quote from ‘Le Petit Prince’ – it reminded me of another one fairly appropriate from the fox: ‘if you want to be a friend, you must sit a little closer every day’ (quoted from memory from a long time ago!) It’s time I started blogging, rather than just following and commenting!! There are such interesting and lovely people out there.

    • It’s one of my favourite books; you seem to have read it well too! Blogging is a great experience- and the bloggers I chat with are more important than they think in my dose of daily happiness. It’s cheaper than therapy, good to avoid Alzheimer and provides daily contact with lovely people. What are you waiting for? 😀

  2. Yes I too have made contact when a few of my fellow bloggers have gone quiet. They did get back to me and whilst two hung up their blogging boots at least I knew they were okay and they knew they had been missed. Lovely post about the online relationships we develop.

  3. hey blogging stalker…… yes I do the same, just this morning checked on 3 bloggers who haven’t posted for quite some time. I wonder the same like you do, writers block, have they won the lottery, has WP blocked their blog, has their cat suddently died…. I hover over the mouse as well, sometimes I get in touch, sometimes I don’t and just wait and they re-surface. Funny how these telephone cables and optical wiring connections create a network with people we’ve never met, and would never had spoken to, but for a humble blog. cheers MM

    • OYu put it so aptly – I really do feel like a stalker when I go and have a peep to see if anything new has been published… I hope this one will resurface, like you say. Big blogging nuggs to you, OAC!

  4. Loved the line “remain in creational hibernation” , and I feel the same with you on “I feel like a drug addict, staring through the chemist’s window at his fix of happiness on the shelf.” There is something intriguing and yet wonderful in following a blogger who lifts you up with every post he publishes. If the hibernation period occurs, you feel lost, as if something is missing in your life and you can’t find it in anything else but his blog posts. I often wonder about bloggers like that if we would be friends if we knew each other outside of the internet-world…

    • hello Scripting Happiness, and thanks for commenting! Your point is one I think many bloggers wonder about – would we get on if we met in real life? Would my followers be disappointed by the “real” me? Hmmm. I’m off to check out your blog later on. Careful, you will feel responsible if I get hooked… 😉

  5. I was trying to put a blogroll on WordPress (enough to give anyone the heebies) and going through my old blogroll was startled to find just how many blogs I enjoyed had gone into limbo.

    Some bloggers announced that they were retiring…others not and you are right, you do wonder if they are all right because you did have a sort of relationship through that comments section.

    And then I’m on the horns of a dilemma – do I e mail and ask how things are going, or does emotional prudishness take over about poking one’s nose into someone else’s life.

    With blogs where there has been longstanding contact I e mail…with more detached ones, not. Just as in real life.

    I’ve only met with one couple whose blog i follow…and their voices in the flesh were true to their voices on the screen….

    • Decisions, decisions…. I wonder where the fine line is between being nosy and being concerned as far as “complete strangers we share a lot with over the net” goes. Very confusing to deal with; I suppose it’s a gut feeling thing. I haven’t met any other bloggers yet, although one lives not far from me so the temptation is great – AND she has bacon in the freezer. See? I even know the contents of other blogger’s fridges….

  6. I commented on a dormant blog once, “Where ya bin?” and her daughter had been critically ill. She let me know her daughter was recovering and the blog spurted to life for a bit then went quiet again. What do I do now? It’s not as though I know her. Her daughter’s health had never been mentioned on her blog. I don’t want to intrude.

    • Crickey 😦 I imagine how that kind of situation may remove the spark, and that life changes so much that the inspiration just isn’t there any more. I’m sure she appreciated knowing that you noticed you had gone, and I’m sure you weren’t alone… I suppose you can only wait – in this particular case, that’s what I’m doing.

  7. Surely one of the best blog posts I’ve read in ages. Only did it once – that hope you are ok contact and with no reply and no movement on the blog til it ran out of time, felt like a virtual nosey-parker. Wish people would say au revoir instead of hanging in mid air. .

    • Oooh…. thank you! (MM gets flustered and reaches for glass of rosé to get over her emotion.) Hic. I know how you feel about feeling like a nosey-parker, but I don’t like feeling like an insensitive cow either, so the choice is generally made quickly. I agree that it would be respectful to post and say that the blog will be either put on pause or taken off line if the blogger knows that people follow regularly; That may not always be possible though, and it may not be a priority in cases like the one quoted by Which Way Now…

  8. This is a great post and thanks to the people who gave me a nudge during July when I was fretting over work and money and had stopped blogging. I couldn’t see the funny side of life at that time, so I stopped. So thanks to MM and the others who gave me a prod 🙂

    • I knew I wasn’t alone. You have no idea how long I hesitated before sending that message (all of.. oh… two seconds). I was really worried Gilda had eaten you, or your Italian teacher had tied you up and left you in a cupboard with a phrase book, or…. 🙂 There’s always a funny side to life, the hard thing is finding it. If you need a pointer, send me a message, but don’t disappear again or I’ll tell Mrs Sensible.

      • I hope I am back for good, providing
        1) WordPress sort their reader out duh!
        2) Mrs Sensible doesn’t kill be for burning the soup. (How is it possible to burn soup you may ask) The house stinks of carbon and I will be in trouble when she gets home 😦

      • I don’t like the new reader AT ALL, it takes years to get to the blog post unless you read and comment on the reader (which doesn’t show up on the blog stats, which can irritate those who keep an eye on it). Oops for the soup. Get those windows and doors open and get the Febreze out!

      • I think wordpress have done this to improve their stats…

        Windows open, currently looking for somewhere to hide…

      • Ah ah ah ha ha

        She has just phoned me and told me to start frying an onion and make a sauce, special instructions DON’T BURN THE ONION 🙂 🙂

  9. I know what you mean – one of my favourite bloggers disappeared off the face of the blogging planet six months ago and I often wonder where he went!!

    • Hiya, Suzie! Recovered from that Freshly Pressed yet? 😀 Maybe we should set up a dormant blog commando and go and wake all these guys up with an IV drip of comments… All we’d need is for everyone to visit in one fell swoop, and maybe they’d feel loved again….

  10. Aww, this post was very sweet (and well written!). I received a blog nudge a few months ago because I wasn’t really blogging. It encouraged me to continue blogging. So based upon my experience, I think it’s very kind of a person to drop a line or two to say hello and check on someone.
    I like the interaction with other bloggers/readers. I’m always disappointed when a blogger doesn’t acknowledge my comment or simply posts two words [“thank you”], especially when I take the time to read someone’s writing and try to interact with the person.

    • Thank you.

      😀 Just kidding 😀 I’m not usually capable of limiting prose, in person or on paper! I was keeping an eye on you, too, but you hadn’t hit the red alert point yet. I’m glad you got back to blogging – did you see the post that resulted from our exchange on “how’s tricks”? That’s what I love about blogging- the richness of he interaction we bloggers have – as long as everyone is prepared to “move a little closer every day”, as Julia says above, and run the risk of getting attached…..

      • hahaha!!! You got me there! 😀 No, I missed the post about “How’s Tricks”!! I will go back and check. I try to keep up with all the blogs I read on the Reader function, but sometimes I accidentally overlook a few.
        I agree with you about the interaction. I love it, too. I just have trouble finding some bloggers who are willing to interact. I know some bloggers prefer to post their writings and leave it at that or just say “thank you” LOL!
        I’ll admit, when I first started blogging, I didn’t interact with others. I didn’t understand the blogging world. I am getting it now and I search for bloggers who not only write read-worthy posts, but who also interact with their readers. The interaction is my favorite part! 🙂

  11. I loved this post! Yes, I have inquired about others along the way, and have received some nice replies explaining the absence and thanking me for my concern. But I think it’s a risk. I’ve currently had a couple on my mind and I’ve held back. Would I be intruding? Is it any of my business? Even inappropriate? I think I’ve just about decided not to interfere. I do care, and I do miss them. But somehow, as attached as I seem to be, it’s true that in a social media world people come and go. That’s how I feel right now anyway, and I’ll have to see if my perspective changes with more absences. 🙂

    • Hello! How’s Darwin? Has he been for a railroad tour around the garden yet?
      You analyse the situation well – we’re torn between caring and feeling like we’re intruding. I suppose that we should all keep in mind the temporary nature of the blogosphere, yet the real person behind the often unique content is at the root of it all. Fingers crossed that the blogs you are concerned about come out of hibernation soon.

  12. What a lovely post! I have felt the same way about blogs in the past… You feel weirdly entitled to know what happened to make them suddenly stop writing. Hopefully that doesn’t happen to any of us 😉 And I would TOTALLY send an e-mail, because I am invasive like that.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Little Prince and am always happy to see it used to shed light on life.

    • Thank you! *Happy dance* You put your finger on something there that I couldn’t put into words: a feeling of entitlement, whereas we have no rights at all. Or do we? Shouldn’t we feel responsible enough to let followers down gently if we stop? Or should we just expect them to see blogging as a perk, and get on with life? Hmm. Existential blogging . Love it. Long live Le Petit Prince 😉

  13. Excellent post. You’re quite right, I do feel a bit lost when a few weeks has gone past without a post from a favourite blogger so will seize the initiative in future and send a gentle ‘how tricks’ message. And it was lovely, after I’d had a very quiet blogging summer, when you posted “She’s baaaaaack! *happy dance*” on my blog. Really made me feel missed so thank you!

  14. I agree with you! Like you, I feel quite involved in the lives of the bloggers I follow and miss them when they don’t blog for a while. Sometimes their life ‘journeys’ are very gripping, and I am left hanging. I’ve thought about emailing, but have always held back thinking perhaps it was none of my business or maybe they would think I was interfering. Maybe I should though, the worst that could happen is that they ignore the email. 🙂

  15. Very thought-provoking post, MM, and like most bloggers I’ve had the same experience of watching a blog go dormant and wondering what’s happened. Sadly, unless a Blogger blogger makes a point of putting an e-mail contact on their profile, there’s no way of enquiring after them except by putting a comment on their last post, which is far from satisfactory. A couple of times bloggers I follow have officially ended their blogs, which is sad but at least one knows they’re OK. Another couple have stopped blogging but I’m in touch on an internet forum, so that’s OK too.

    What new bloggers never even imagine is how close one can become to fellow bloggers one has never met, and yet we shouldn’t really be surprised. I reckon I have more interaction with (and insight into the lives of ) some of my fellow bloggers than I do with most of the people I’m on friendly terms with in everyday life. I’ve had concrete proof of this over the past month or two with DH’s illness and my op, where the concern and support expressed by bloggy friends have been inexpressibly helpful and comforting.

    Finally I’ve been lucky enough to meet three bloggers I follow face to face on different occasions and each time we’ve got on extremely well. I think this is because we already know quite a lot about each other, so can bypass the initial formalities and get straight down to an enormously enjoyable exchange of views. I highly recommend the experience. 🙂

    • WordPress is an excellent platform; I’ve never looked back (although I admit that I’m not a fan of their new reader, and I get cheesed off with the idea of adverts I can’t control appearing on my blog unless I pay for the privilege of a clear conscience).
      I completely agree with the friendship aspect of blogging- and I hope to meet up with fellow bloggers one day!

  16. Goodness I love how you write. That’s not gratuitous praise. You have a gift. I felt myself searching along with you when I read this …
    I hope you find your blogging buddy again.

    • Thank you! (MM blushes and hops around kitchen with big grin on face). I hope she’ll come back on line one day, but my tentative request for a sign of life is still sitting forlorn at the end of the comments… Time will tell 🙂

  17. Another brilliant post MM! I have to admit to being guilty as charged… I’m one of those sporadic writers influenced very much by a busy daily life and often weeks go by before I realise I haven’t written anything. Not good. I do read though and often decide to comment later if I’m too busy to think properly at the time – another fatal mistake as inevitably it just sits on the To Do list for longer than I would like but if I started I’d never get anything else done 😦 .
    I do envy you your fantastic ability to write everything so eloquently ( & also your long list of followers!) & make it look so easy !! ( I secretly wonder how long it takes to write all those amazing posts!!)

    Even at my lowly level though I know what you mean about people disappearing….you wonder why they’re not around anymore to write or comment…not sure I feel I could nudge them at this stage though but if I were in your position with a loyal & lengthy following I think I might 😉

    • I have sussed out that you have tons of work to do, and I admire you – maybe I’ll come to see you for lessons in doing away with procrastination and motivating myself to get things done. I enjoy your blog because it shows me just how much people can get done if they put their minds to it. I envy you your ability to prioritise – I would love to have the willpower to ignore my blog and do something “useful” with my time, but I’m hooked on writing. A sad predicament. The only solution would be to wake up in a magic word where publishers wander around blogs and pick up on someone they’d like to publish, but that ain’t gonna happen, sista.
      I’m very moved by your elogy – I don’t know how many followers read what I write, but I’m thrilled to have so many regulars who comment and enjoy my drivel – you bunch really do make my day (yep, sappy need for recognition and approval: check). It takes me a while to write my posts as I always have a few on the boil at the same time, and I’m a difficult cow when it comes to approving my own work. The fear of the flop, if you will…. Big hugs to you!!!!

  18. PS Comment for all: Please keep Abby in your thoughts. She is a Filippino blogger I follow who pops by here from time to time. I am very concerned: there has been no movement on her blog since Saturday. I hope that she and her family are safe.

    UPDATE: I’ve just got news, she and her family are safe and well.

    • A big HELLO to you MM! Its late at night here but it’s the only time I’ve got to read posts. Thanks so much for the well wishes and caring messages. I miss you! The worst typhoon to hit my country did not really affect me personally but due to the absents of many people in our office work load has piled up so my blog fell asleep for a while. I’ll be back to writing posts again pretty soon I think.

      I love what you wrote here so much. I feel the same way to sleeping blogs that I follow. You also made me realize that yeah I have a second family in the blog world whom I have to keep in touch and see how their doing and pray that everything is fine. You’re a great friend MM, Thanks!

      • It’s reciprocal. I was so relieved to get a reply from you – sorry to have insisted, but I was worried given the circumstances. I hope you get your blog off the ground again soon – I want more lovely cakes to dribble at. Mke sure you tell your blogging family you’re ok – I’m sure I wasn’t the only person chewing her finger nails 🙂

  19. I love these bonds and will take a sharp nudge in my cyber-spatial ribs to revive me anytime : )

  20. Hi MM. I too, have lost a blogging buddy. She was one of my first followers, and I felt a true blogging bond. I actually e-mailed her, and posted on her site to see if maybe she just needed a nudge, but NOTHING. I’m so sad and so worried. 😦

    • I think I know who you are talking about – an expat in Germany? I think we started following your blog around the same time, i.e. light years ago 🙂
      It’s worrying, but hang on in there. People come back. Qué sera sera, but I’ve seen blogs return from the dead after years of silence. If not, then life goes on, but as I say in the post, it’s good to remember that the friends we make in the blogosphere are real people who get worried and need to know that others are OK, or not. I’ve been a pretty haphazard blogger this year, and I’m hoping that 2015 will be kinder, better organized, and generally all round smilier (I just invented that) for us all. Big hugs, Gypsy.

      • Yes MM, that would be the one. Funny how we do create a virtual bond, isn’t it? But sometimes we do forget that the people out there posting and following and answering are ‘real’, and, as you say, do get worried. I will keep on waiting and hoping. Big hugs right back. xox

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