I have a theory about why people stop blogging

…and it is this: they do not become part of an online community. That may be because they don’t link, or don’t comment, or there’s simply no one else out there.

My 5 Stages of a Blogger’s Life hinted at this: there is a moment at which the momentum of starting a blog fades, and a new momentum – the regular input of community – is needed to continue. In other words: there is nothing keeping them blogging. The novelty wears off. The washing needs doing.

This is just a theory, and not founded on anything but a hunch, but I’m putting it out there for your thoughts.

Oh, and the implication: if we want people to have a voice, we might have to find ways to talk back before they give up.

1st stage of blogging: play

1st stage of blogging: play

2nd stage of blogging: feedback

2nd stage of blogging: feedback

3rd stage of blogging: community

12 thoughts on “I have a theory about why people stop blogging

  1. Ed Hart

    This rings true to me. The sense of being part of a community is what prompts me to speak.

    I can see a potential pitfall here, my lack of techincal skills makes “simple” things like giving feedback and linking to other’s sites difficult. For example, I have no idea how to link your site to mine.

    Please help and support your fellow bloggers – it is much appreciated!

  2. Dorien

    Nice one Paul 🙂 Think it’s true you need a community of people behind you. However, there might also be ‘external’ reasons to stop blogging: a relationship for example that suddenly takes someone’s time and ‘replaces’ the blogger’s community, or a baby, or more work. If you want to give your regular community something, you must feed them with intersting news. And when you can’t do that anymore and you don’t take time to make an interesting article, your community fades away / you decide to stop.

  3. paulbradshaw

    Thanks Dorien – I agree there are other reasons, I’m just suggesting that this may be the most common one. I think the combination you suggest is also really valid – the community fades when you can no longer contribute as you could.

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  6. Steve Jackson

    I think what keeps you going is the desire to communicate. Stuck out in relative isolation in Cameroon I find I check my emails far more than I ever did back home. I just want that contact. Twitter scratches the itch.

    And yes, I know that, as far as my blog goes, beyond family (and friends who soon get on with their own lives) the other option is to engage a community.

    You can hopefully keep them coming back with regular and half decent content – but you have to attract them their first.You have to network. You may get passing trade from Google but mostly it’ll be people with similar interests and experiences who will discover you and hopefully stick with you.

    The only thing I would say is that just a year or so a go in order to drive more readers to my blog I’d provide guest peieces for other bloggers or trade links etc. Now links from other blogs don’t seem to bring the traffic that they used to.

    I also think that the big bumps in your blog numbers used to come if print media (or their online sites) mentioned you. Now they seem less interested in blogs and more in the wider web2.0 genre.

  7. Dorien

    @Steve: it’s really interesting to me that you say that you started with ‘guest pieces’. To be honest, it’s something I’ve been thinking about as well: working with guest pieces (like OJB also does), or make a group blog. It helps in spreading your blog (more contributors talk about it, online and offline), it makes sure that when one of the bloggers is busy with eg family for a certain period, the others can catch up, + together you are more complete and give different view points to your followers. A win for both bloggers and followers I guess.

  8. Steve Jackson

    Dorien, I think there is a balance – I am not really a fan of groups blogs I think there should be a consistant narrator. However – it does provide different voices and does boost traffic.

    As an example I have had an idea for a while to get three people to share their views on Cameroon – I thought a volunteer, an overseas Cameroonian and a colleague.

    I think too many guest pieces though can dillute the style and (hate this word) brand of it.

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