On blogs and de-blogging...

Why are so many people blogging off?

While it's doubtful that the world will be a poorer place without them, those blogs about what people had for dinner may be dying out. New research by Gartner, the US technology analyst, suggests the number of new blogs peaked in October and that an estimated 200m have been abandoned and left to rot in cyberspace. ...

"You have to be opinionated and passionate about what you write, or your enthusiasm will wane," says Drew Benvie, social media adviser for Lewis PR and a blogging expert. Benvie thinks now is the time to dig out your old password and get back to blogging. "Companies are starting to see them as a way of promoting their products. Write about films and you might get tickets to screenings; write about gadgets and you might be sent gadgets to test." [more from source]

Things slowly fading into unremarkable oblivion tends to be a hallmark of the Internet in general. If you were to challenge most people to click on the seldom-visited links in their bookmarks, how many of those sites would still be active? How many people still regularly read the same news or post on the same newsgroups and bulletin boards that they did 5 years ago? It is a human universality that "the novelty wears off". In other words, this recent finding does not surprise me. A better comparative example would probably be to find out how many times people began writing a diary or keeping a weekly planner only to forget to update it more and more often until they have forgotten entirely where they have even put it. I am sure that many of the sites left to rot in cyberspace were experimental or motivated by some inspirational event or another. But human lives go on, and not all people see fit to continue commenting. Perhaps a virtual anthropologist should analyze the subject matter and posting trend of blogs which eventually become extinct.

I suppose I find this whole thing interesting because I have only just officially started this blog. At the moment, I am quite enthusiastic and hope to continue it. Of course, at busy times, I expect my posts to wane. Having said that, according to Drew Benvie, I clearly need to start blogging about gadgets. So, if anyone out there has the means to donate to my anthropological fieldwork, I would like to test out an Internet-capable handheld computer running Windows Mobile (HP iPAQ, any reviews?), a 3GSM mobile phone, digital voice recording equipment (possibly with voice transcription capability), a digital camcorder, a laptop with at least 160GB harddrive and 3.0GHz processor, solar-powered batteries, and a digital camera beyond the 3.2 Megapixels that I am currently equipped with (yes, yes, I know). Oh, and throw in one of those new, tiny iPod shuffles (for a friend). Let's see if Benvie was right.

In other news, did you know that the term "dooced" has been adopted for being fired from your job for writing a blog? Maybe that's why people are abandoning their blogs.
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