DO WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO OTHER BLOGGERS?

I was offline yesterday and this morning because my service provider had a problem with a Seacom cable and many South Africans experienced connectivity problems. I wondered if my blog friends were missing me, and reflected on a topic that I wrote about last year:

From time to time, while I go about my blog visits; I encounter an abandoned blog and I become inexplicably distressed. Oh, I know that we have had the sad experience of a suicide of a blogger and the heartbreaking death of Alec in April 2008, but there was a lead up to these events and if, in the future, a new blogger should stumble upon their blogs they will be able to understand the reason for the blog’s end.

I am talking about blogs where there are regular posts, there is interaction with other bloggers and the blogger is evidently enjoying the blogging practice. Then nothing. No announcement of writer’s block or boredom. Nothing.

Witness this blogger; Pretender. There is her last post:

quickie
5:19PM, Wednesday, 18 Jun, 2008

I’m sulking because I have to go to Jhb for work next week. I’m a rotten riser and the idea of leaving home at 5.15am to make a 6.30am flight to be in the Jhb office by 9am makes me want to slit my wrists with a cheese grater. If it weren’t so painful. And you didn’t, you know, die. It’s a good image though.

Is it ridiculous that I worry so about this person?
Was Johannesburg so dreadful that she did resort to that cheese grater after all?

Do we owe it to other bloggers to explain our absence?
I’d like to know if I’m alone on this one.

Related post:

http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/when-a-cyber-friend-goes-missing/

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45 thoughts on “DO WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO OTHER BLOGGERS?

  1. Hi Cindy, I think this post is definitely food for thought and that there will be some interesting comments. I think, to a point, we probably do owe our readers some kind of “reason” if we are absent from our blogs, but I don’t think a full-on explanation is necessary. I try, when I know that I’m not going to be blogging for an extended period of time to drop a hint or two in my posts. But there are others who do just withdraw. I guess sometimes people just need to get away from it all – and when I say all, I mean the real and the virtual lives we lead. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.

  2. I think it’s more a courtesy than a responsibility Cin. It’s so easy to just say, “I’ll be absent for a while, or I’ve got tired of blogging, so goodbye and thanks.” I often wonder about Eddie, who used to put jokes on his blog. I often went back to see if he had a new post after “The Mona Lisa” one. I couldn’t help wondering if he was ok, or had had a heart attack. It would be nice just have some inkling of why he just disappeared.

  3. I felt very bad when I left my last blog home to come here. The reason I said nothing was, with all the nastiness around, I didn’t want to be accused of trying to influence others. Even discussing my proposed move on their ‘messages’ left a bad taste.

    However it was exactly the opposite when I had no internet connection. I felt quite desperate to tell the other bloggers why I wasn’t blogging!I did consider phoning you as yours was the only phone number I had, and tried once when I left a very garbled message. I wasn’t aware at the time that my landline was crossed. The only solution I can think of is to entrust someone with one’s cell no. and login details in case of emergency so that they can leave a post stating the problem. I think it should be a fellow blogger. ???

  4. I’ve often wondered the same thing. Sometimes I feel obligated to explain my absence because I don’t want people to worry about me and then I think, ‘why should I?’ I guess there are two arguements. You either consider your fellow bloggers or you dont. Whether you don’t because you feel angry or because you’re too upset to think of anyone else…well I guess it doesnt matter. You make a good point though, I think letting people know where you’ve gone is considerate. That example you included was really upsetting.

    • Which has happened on occasion, I don’t know if you remember old Jack at 24.com? Luckily his family found his blog and contacted the admin people and they were able to let us know. It was a terribly sad day.

  5. Interesting post, Cindy. I know that I appreciated knowing the reason for your absence yesterday.

    If I decided to stop blogging, move to another blog, or just take an extended break, I expect that I would post a last post with a brief explanation . . .

    “I’ve run out of words . . . and gone searching for more”
    “The well’s run dry and in need of new experiences”

    If I came across a blog that was dead in its tracks without explanation, I’d probably post a comment (“Hey! Are you all right? Come out, come out, wherever you are”) and click the notify me of follow up comments.

    That way the blogger would know that at least one person on the planet missed them.

    • I posted frequent comments on her blog after she disappeared, to no avail. I looked back and found interesting hints at an affair with her boss. Naturally, I made up a story in my mind: she went on the business trip and, while she was gone, he discovered her blog when he looked for something on her PC. All hell broke loose and he fired her.

  6. Thought provoking, as always, Cindy… so here are some of my provoked thoughts. ))

    I would submit that blogging, while social in its impact, is rather solitary in its processes. We spend a great deal of time alone, at our computers, or walking and thinking, developing ideas, looking for ways to communicate our thoughts.

    What we do, if we do it with any regularity and discipline, is a thing of passion. When you mix passion and solitude things can get very strained and strange–at least in my experience. This, I would guess, is that extra “something” that can drive a person to extremes–or cause them, sometimes, to want to escape–one way or another.

    When it comes to letting our readers know what’s up with us… hmm… fine line here. When I look at your blog, the quality of your work, the almost rabid-religious response from your… face it, your fans… I can see that need clearly defined. Your readers have a strong emotional link to you, and in a way you feed them daily. I am frankly in awe of your ability to engender such feelings.

    For many of us–for writers of more pedestrian blogs–I’m not sure our absence would be noted, let alone missed. In the last month or so I’ve begun taking Sundays off, finding that the need to publish multiple times on a daily basis a bit taxing, and realizing that my other writing projects were suffering. Since starting this process only one person (nrhatch) has asked me “where are your (Sunday) posts?”

    Your point about vanishing blogs is well taken. Most blogs die on the vine after only a few posts, and a great many never get past the “Hello, World” stage at all.

    Some bloggers find enough passion to do the work needed to build a readership, and I have great respect for them.

    Bottom line, here: While officially a courtesy to let readers know when you cannot post, or will be gone for an extended time, (pardon me if I sound a bit maudlin) I’m not all that sure that most of us would be missed.

  7. Call me crazy but I have come to think of folks who drop by on a regular basis as friends and so if I will be gone I say something about it.
    I dont pretend to think it matters to many but I wouldn’t want to hurt anyOne or cause them to worry.

  8. I completely understand this Cindy. I think, unless there is some sort of emergency or illness, then a word or two is only common courtesy. I value the connections I’ve made on here, because we are all real human beings with hearts, souls and feelings and I try to treat everyone with the respect I would if we were together face to face. In a way, it is upsetting when people just flake off and disappear but some folks are just transient by nature. For me Cindy, blogging is a commitment and I’ve been doing it almost daily since I started two years ago. You are the only blogger I’ve been blessed enough to discover who is prolific and you are hard for me, hardcore Val to keep up with. I’m impressed with your output and quality and if you ever threaten us with a cheese grater, I’ll send over some Canadian snow to get even! HUGS and on that note, I have some comments to reply to, before everyone thinks I’ve taken a permanent pity party and gone out and bought my own cheese grater or worse, a blender! 😉

    • Eeeek, never a blender Val!

      I’m not that prolific, I blogged elsewhere for more than two years and wanted to archive some of my old posts, so I’ve got them scheduled for posting in Drafts; it’s not actually me ‘live’ posting so frequently.

  9. Good points indeed. One often establishes a close relationship with other bloggers whether one intends to or not, and I think one owes them the courtesy of some explanation for sudden departure. Many who stopped abruptly I still miss, even after years. Of course, it is entirely conceivable that a blogger might die and none of the family or friends be aware of the blog, or wish to do anything about it even if they did.

    • I’ve given another blogger my logon details and proxy to post a notice if I suddenly keel over or get abducted by aliens, Col. And I’ve told my family that I don’t want my blog deleted in the event of my demise.

  10. I still feel intense sadness when I think of Jack. We were all there and yet he didn’t reach out to us. Proud man… 😦
    I try to blog regularly if time permits but with my hectic work schedule and putting all my energy into my mum’s recovery – it seriously gets very busy in my corner of the world. I used to utilise my times at airports a lot, but with the World Cup currently under way I’m spending practically all my time in Cape Town with very little time for blogging.
    I didn’t want to close down my other blog but when I saw that the terribe breach in ethics went uncontested by so many people I decided to rather leave before I lost more respect for bloggers who I once admired. I do not stick around where people sell their soul for popularity rather than right a wrong even when it is not the popular thing to do.

    • I wonder if things could have been different if Jack knew what a profound impact his death was going to have on all of us. I still miss him terribly.
      As for the other blog and the matter of ethics, I’d rather not comment.

      Now, let’s get this World Cup thing done and dusted, because I really miss those airport posts of yours.

  11. Wow, I don’t know, I mean, once I have a nice reading and commenting blogging relationship with another writer who reciprocates, it is a little hard to understand when they suddenly disappear. And for someone to leave a post like that one, as there last entry, certainly wasn’t considerate of you and others. I’d say you lived up to your responsibility to her, if there ever actually were one. I know that things can go good at blogging for a while, and depending on life, and work related timing etc… can suddenly become hard to continue. But, as sad a reality as the possibilities of what may have happened in this persons life, to cause them to stop posting, it’s just as sad that she would put such a burden of worry, and unanswerable wondering in the hearts and minds of those on the other end, such as you. Maybe she was just burned out from blogging, at least that would be our hope, but, then, if so, in my opinion, she absolutely not only dropped the ball of her responsibility to you, and others, but, also to herself.

    • Yes, others have left and just posted a one-worder as their last post, like “enough” or “fin”. But at least the readers know that the absence was intentional.

  12. Sometimes life gets in the way, and there isn’t enough time or energy – or brainwaves – to blog or to even say why you’re not blogging. I discovered that when dealing with my recent living nightmare. When I was able to finally come to the surface of the whirlpool long enough to snatch a quick breath, I realized that I needed to write – and I needed the contact with the bloggers with whom I have become friends (yes, I believe, friends) through our blogging conversations. Thank you, Cindy (and others), for questioning my absence – and for the truly uplifting words of comfort and support.

    Actually, I hadn’t planned to read any blogs right now. I was checking email before shutting down the computer to go to bed. Then I realized that I didn’t have any recent notifications of “theonlycin” posts in my email. So I came over to check. I’m glad to see that your absence was due to a service provider problem and not something else.

    Off to bed now. I would say “sweet dreams,” but I don’t think it’s bedtime in your part of the world. 🙂

  13. cin, you commented how you deleted your last blog. you did it over a weekend, i missed one day and you were gone without warning. if there weren’t so many other people still around to direct me here, i’d still be wondering where you went. i found that complete erasing of work on your part more shocking than people who post today and drift off tomorrow (perhaps because i am like that on social networking sites)

  14. I am in hibernation in that place where we met. I have i-shoes i-boots i-tekkies with putting my thoughts and feelings and poetry up there.
    If they don’t know how to get hold of me or make an effort. Cindy why should I explain?
    I prefer being anon. Maybe it’s selfish, but well . . . my mind might change tomoro.

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