Most people I know have something interesting to say about a certain topic, and I’m sure that goes for just about anyone. For one reason or another some of these people will then take it upon themselves to take these ideas to a wider audience. This used to involve arduous tasks such as writing a book, speaking at a seminar or utilising some other means of communication. In the days of the Internet however the barrier to entry for people to distribute their ideas to others is much lower, and as such many people (myself included) take it upon themselves to inform the wider world of their thoughts.
As we all know inspiration can only take you so far. Once you’ve convinced yourself that posting your thoughts to a wider audience is a good idea you then have to find a medium in which to communicate. Once you have that decided you then have to actually get in and start sharing. This is where it gets interesting, as it would seem the majority of people get as far as having the medium down pat (the Internet, using a Blog/Twitter/Social Networking) and getting a thought out, but then lose interest completely, leaving their blog abandoned:
According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.
Judging from conversations with retired bloggers, many of the orphans were cast aside by people who had assumed that once they started blogging, the world would beat a path to their digital door.
It would appear that this is not unique just to the blogosphere and is probably more to do with the low barrier to entry of Internet services, with Twitter experiencing a very similar phenomenon. Indeed take any free to use service that has the potential of providing fame/fortune/respect and you’ll find that whilst it looks wildly popular the minority of its users are the ones extracting the majority of value.
I am unfortunately part of these statistics. Before this blog came about (and people told me they liked reading what I wrote) I had attempted to create 2 blogs, several web pages and signed up for a myriad of other Internet based services. All of them were created with the same idea that if I created something on the Internet someone else would care, and then word would spread. Thankfully I can pin a lot of that down to the folly of my youth and I now know that if you want to be popular online you’ll have to do just as much work as you would in other mediums. It’s just easier to get started on the Internet.
I would wager however that a lot of those blogs also fit into a category of what I’d call time sensitive presences. A great recent example of this would be the Alice and Kev blog which is about 2 characters a person is playing in The Sims 3. It’s a touching story and it does have parallels to the suffering people endure in real life but will this blog still be updated in a year? 6 months? A week? Whilst some of the themes it deals with are universal and timeless the blog’s content is not and that will be its eventual demise. The same can be said for Blow My 900, a blog dedicated to spending your Kevin Rudd stimulus money.
The combination of a low barrier to entry, the throw away mentality and the allure of fame and fortune that is ingrained in our society is what has lead to this phenomenon. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but when the Internet already contains so much noise I sometimes wish it wasn’t so easy. But then again if it wasn’t then the Internet probably wouldn’t have become so popular in the first place…
Argh, there goes that cognitive dissonance again! 🙂