Nurturing and death in Web 2.0

with 10 comments

I thought I’d just try it, see what happens to myself when I don’t post for a while. Although it isn’t that interesting for the readers of a blog, you should definitely try it. Because when a blog becomes a McLuhanesque fixed charge in your life, the only way to see what has changed is to disconnect from it. As you can see, it didn’t last that long before I just couldn’t resist to get back to my blog and write down my thoughts and experiences in this post.

Jean-François Berthet made an entry about blogs being like a Tamagotchi on his blog. You name your blog, you shape its form, you could perhaps say you are making a reflection of yourself. Even more than on social networking sites, where the emphasis is more on presentation to your friends. It a reflection of yourself. The sight of a your poor blog with its last message a month ago is almost a heartbreaking experience. In your mind you’re constantly making excuses to the blog like: ‘I’ll post tomorrow’, ‘Sorry blog, I have a writersblock!’ ‘No post today blog, I’m busy.’

This reflection, also on social networking sites, will some day stop. Although a macaber thought, it will surely stop on the day you die. Recent examples are the Myspace profiles of the people killed at Virginia tech, a list containing most of their Myspace profiles can be found at The West Virginia Blogger. A recent example closer to my home is the Hyves page of Gerd-Nan van Wijk, who got beaten and died when leaving his school in Alkmaar. The reflection once created as an enviroment to be nurtured, is now freeze-framed in time. Like a watch that stopped ticking, the virtual spaces stopped moving only leaving the traces of (virtual) friends sending you condolences.

But how about when I stop blogging? Could that be the infamous Death of the Blogger? When the blogger gives up on the blog, is it the blog that dies? And when a blogger dies, is it the blog that lives on, providing a virtual space for condoleances? Could we say that firstly when the blogger dies, the audience adresses the blog. And secondly that when the blog dies, the audience adresses the blogger.

The question we can indirectly ask here is: Who are you blogging for? Perhaps not specifically an imagined audience, perhaps not even yourself but the technology you gave a character. An external agent you set up as a medium between yourself an your imagined audience. An agent that will survive your day and will exist as an in memoriam, but still not being yourself. This also brings me to another question that has been keeping me busy since I started blogging: How long will data stay?


Written by newmw

May 8, 2007 at 11:10 am

10 Responses

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  1. Hi Twan,
    Interesting thoughts you have here.
    I wrote about the tamagotchi when I started blogging and very early the analogy came to my mind. But you are giving a deeper sense to the whole blogging thing, especially the “end” of blogging thing.
    Somebody said : “eternity is long, especially towards the end”. Every blog has an end, let’s face it, with the blogger’s death. Obviously. Today I saw a young blogger whose aim was to write every day until “whenever”. Some other say they will blog their whole life.
    And recently I came across two blogs I used to visit who decided to close. To stop. And I felt a bit anxious. Because writing, being read, etc. somehow gives more meaning to life.
    Also yesterday, I was looking at pictures of us 15 years ago and I was thinking about a sort of retro-blogging : like an anti-dated autobiography of myself based on photos and memories. As you’re pointing out, this relates to death, surviving to oneself..
    And as you also point out, then comes the question of all this data being here, for how long ? Will the internet survive us ?
    I was also thinking about documenting my life through videoblogging for the 30 th century man. Can you imagine if we had videos of people from the 10th century on youtube, telling us about their lives ? Well we can do just that today.

    Sorry this is the longest ever comment I think I ever wrote. . Maybe a bit boring.
    I’ll come back. Thanks.


    May 8, 2007 at 11:56 am

  2. Very interesting comment and not boring at all! The duality between blogs and their bloggers (or bloggers and their blogs) is so interesting. The examples of you give of blogs that stopped because their bloggers left are interesting. The blog(data) that remains is a witness of times that past.

    Never thought about the idea of having YouTube material from the 10th century by the way, that would be amazing 🙂


    May 8, 2007 at 12:05 pm

  3. This is an interesting post after a period of silence. I was wondering about this period of silence and actually thought of e-mailing you or calling you. I think that once you blog and have established an audience, no matter how small or big, you also establish a relationship with your readers. The fact that I know you personally strengthens this relationship and makes one wonder what is going on if there are no new blog entries. “Worried” is a big word, but I was wondering where you were and how you were doing.

    You always write excellent pieces so I was surprised that you stopped writing. What was the exact incentive that you started again? Did you feel too guilty towards your blog? Did you check your blog every day while not writing?

    I check my own blog every day even when I don’t write. It shouts at me: “write something new” and “I would love daily attention.” Where does this daily blogging come from? When did it become a norm to blog daily?

    Anne Helmond

    May 8, 2007 at 7:20 pm

  4. You could probably say that it is a feeling of guilt yeah. But I’m in doubt if it is a feeling of guilt towards an audience or towards the blog itself. Does the form of the blog perhaps connote guilt? The reason I started again is perhaps because I lowered the threshold a bit.

    The question of ‘when did it become a norm to blog daily’ is right on the spot. One of the (crappy) personal webpages I made somewhere in the 90s was just a static webpage about my hobbys, nothing more! But it is in the form of the blog and perhaps the convergence with the diary that the feeling of having to nurture your blog came from. Anne Frank’s ‘Kitty’ persona is perhaps a nice analogy with the blog.

    When I started writing this post, I began with just ‘writing thoughts’. Which is a really good way to start writing a blogpost in the first place. After a while, as the period of not posting became longer and longer, I perhaps put blogging ‘up there’ with writing articles, once you haven’t blogged in a while the level of what you want to post also rises. You set the standard too high. But every good article springs from interesting and spontanous thoughts that develop once you start writing.


    May 8, 2007 at 9:56 pm

  5. Nice to see you on the blogging trail again. I’ve still been subscribed to your blog all this time. All bloggers deserve a break 🙂


    May 8, 2007 at 10:02 pm

  6. I think the question of “guilt” has always been around. Remember the “This website is currently under construction” banners? We could see those as a public excuse towards the website’s readers. With the advent of blogs and the permanent visibility of the publication date the guilty feelings have amplified.

    I like the fact that you point out that “once you haven’t blogged in a while the level of what you want to post also rises.” My number of draft posts doesn’t seem to get any less. I often start a post, or just write down the title/subject of what I want to blog about and don’t write the actual post. I do save them for further reference and now and then I delete a draft post because I know I am never going to write it or finish it. The main reason I don’t finish my drafts is because I also set the standard too high.

    Do you have a lot of draft posts? What do you do with them?

    Anne Helmond

    May 9, 2007 at 9:17 am

  7. My draft posts probably date back to the summer of last year. They stack up there and most don’t make it to the blog. I think that also has to do with standards, but also with specific interests at that time. This again does perhaps show that as the static webpages are more a document in space, the blog is a document in time. Providing its readers with a start and finish. Interests coming and fading away again.

    Guilt is such an interesting concept in this context. Feeling guilty towards code? It almost sounds like a cheap horror movie of some distant, uncontrollable entity that you started and that spirals out of control. With the entity either being the imagined audience or the (autonomous) blog.

    Perhaps once the blogger has started the process, it spirals out of his control? For this last question also see the post on your blog by the way 🙂


    May 9, 2007 at 10:58 am

  8. I also don’t work out my drafts because my interests shifts. I delete some drafts now and then but some drafts stay. I keep them because I think they might be of interest later. Is that why you have kept your drafts for almost a year?

    Some searches on Google, Technorati and BlogPulse showed me that most people apologize to their imagined audience for not blogging. I hardly came across references where people apologized to someone/something (the blog for example) else.

    Anne Helmond

    May 9, 2007 at 8:12 pm

  9. […] 10th, 2007 | Filed under MA Thesis | Twan recently apologized to his blog instead of his blog audience for not blogging I wondered if this is common. A search on […]

  10. A bit offtopic on blogs, but there is this kind of confronting website called

    It is a (ever growing) list of people who died and had a MySpace account. The posts that almost got me tear-eyed were the ‘transition posts’: the last comment when the person was alive, and the first one when the death was known to the visitor. Just an example:

    01.mei.2007 14:34


    24.apr.2007 2:39

    hey hey…just letting you know-if you keen to come to PA tonight…im going for my bday!!!!hope is going well…


    May 14, 2007 at 10:56 pm

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