Thursday, October 1, 2009

ON BLOGGING ~ All Apologies...



Welcome to our weekly BlogAnon meeting where we confess a particular blogging sin and turn to you for support, suggestions and that blogging bond so we know we're not all alone. Don't be shy. Read along and let us know if you identify with us this week.

In the last week or so I have seen an inordinate amount of "Apology Posts." These are what you see from a blogger when they've been MIA for an extended period of time without any explanation and then suddenly come back. Their first post back typically explains the reason for their absence in very apologetic tones and lets the reader know how much they've been missed.

When I took part in the Build A Better Blog course on Darren Rowse's ProBlogger site last year, I remember one of his tips for bloggers was to NEVER write an Apology Post. It wasn't that he didn't want people to be apologetic. He just didn't want blogs to ever be abandoned for long stretches of time to begin with. It is bad for business, bad for your brand, bad for your personal goals of building a community where people gather to interact with you. At the time I thought Darren was just getting his panties all in a bunch. What's the big deal? So the blogger got caught up in their real life with higher priorities? I don't mind. I'm grateful for the apology. I was worried someone had died.

But now that I think about it, I think Darren is right. Apology Posts are generally filled with excuses. "My kids just have so many activities I need to cart them to. I had to go back to work because my spouse had to take a pay cut. I've been distracted with wedding plans. Etc., etc., etc." Well, I'm sorry. I don't mean to be harsh. But do they think they're the only bloggers in the world with real lives and real issues? I've got time management issues of my own you know. But our little corner of the blogosphere is something I'm proud of and enjoy. So I make time to keep it going. And try to make it interesting. If I feel it is getting stagnant or boring I think of something new to post about. I care about the people who stop by and hope they feel their time here was well spent.

So I don't really want any excuses. Or even an I'm sorry. If things are just stressing you out or there is some crisis that needs to be addressed, just tell me about it up front. Tell me that you will only be posting weekly from now on. Or monthly. Or maybe you've realized that I'm not that high of a priority any more and you've decided to move on and shut down the blog. I can take it.

If you disappear out of the blue, people wonder. Then they worry. Then they just drop your feed from their Reader like a hot potato and move on to the next one. They don't have time for you to make up your mind and they certainly won't be around for an apology later. But if you tell them what's going on, they'll understand and offer support and maybe even some helpful suggestions to make your life - real world or blogging - easier.

Have you ever written an Apology Post? How was it received? Did your blog suffer because of your absence or did it recover just fine? Do Apology Posts make you feel better as a Reader? Don't be afraid to share - your blogger thoughts are safe with us.

16 comments:

LJ Ducharme said...

Either you have amazing timing with this post, or I have great timing in popping in to read. I was just feeling guilty for not having blogged for a long time (for me). I was mentally preparing an "apology" entry. HA!! I guess I won't be posting that now, will I? Now what am I going to do - Write about real life? Sometimes life is to ironic for words.

The Bumbles said...

Wow LJ! That is cosmic blogger weird isn't it? I suppose it would be weird if you had been MIA for a long time and then just popped back in as if nothing had happened. Like leaving a big elephant in the room. Hadn't thought of that. But maybe next time you get the blogging blues or life just takes over, let people know before you take off. And that way - no guilt! People always say - "It's your blog - do what you want." But sometimes doing what I want makes me feel guilty, like you said.

Will said...

Never absent yet in 3 years so never had to apologize. But there have been times when I felt like I needed a break!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What about writer's block? You can't write a post about it because you can't write! :--)

ds said...

Bless me, Bumbles, for I have sinned. I have indeed written an apology post, when I felt I had to shutter the window for a bit (& then discovered how badly I missed it.) To answer rhapsody... I did once write about the effects of writer's block. After the fact, obviously. I have consistency & time management issues. I don't have a laptop, so I can't do any of that remote stuff. Which means I've been warning people that I'll be away for a few days because we're visiting the College Student this weekend. I think we'll be driving through Bumble-land; will wave...

Sandy Nawrot said...

I don't think I've ever written an official apology post. I have warned people that I will be away from my computer, but pre-posted a bunch of things to publish while I'm gone. See I'm Catholic, with plenty of Catholic guilt, and where I start to worry is when I'm not home to RESPOND, both on my blog and other people's blog. I don't have a Blackberry, and I don't have a laptop, which cramps my style! I do at times feel anxiety over writing, but just work though it. I just generally dive in, sometimes with a glass of wine at my side, and it figures itself out.

Susan said...

Man, you hit the nail on the head today! I was just thinking yesterday that blogging seems to be taking over my life and maybe I ought to give it a rest for a little while. So NOT gonna do that now!

My blog has kind of evolved into the big TA-DA posts and I would like to get away from the feeling that I have to keep doing that. But I don't really think that my readers would be interested in the mundane aspects of my everyday life. Well, this is going to require some thought.

Thanks, Molly!

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

If I know I'm not going to be blogging for awhile, I'll generally schedule some posts ahead. It seems like on my Karen & Gerard Zemek blog I generally post something every day even though I intend to skip the weekends sometimes. I try to leave some open days between my scheduled posts so that if something timely comes up to post about, I have room for it. I don't think I ever wrote an apology post yet, but have told my readers of My Funny Dad, Harry blog that I generally only post once a week on that one so they'd probably be wise to follow instead of checking back every day to see if there's something new.

The posts I really don't like are the ones where people try to post something even though they have writer's block and absolutely nothing to say. They just ramble on and on about having writer's block, duh! Those are the ones I really hate.

Debbie F said...

I don't have a blog so from a readers point of view I have to say that I like to hear about peoples lives sometimes. After reading the same blogs over and over, it's nice to get pieces of who is behind the blog. When things are going rough for you guys, you can tell us. I think that everyone needs encouragement and your readers can do that for you. You guys do so much for us, giveaways, etc that us listening (reading) to you vent about life once in awhile is the least we can do. You never have to apologize but by all means if you want to bit*c about things, be my guest! Keep up the great work!

The Bumbles said...

Will = Wow! That is impressive. I think we all feel the need for a break. Because otherwise we end up doing what Karen refers to, blogging just to blog rather than presenting something of good quality.

Rhapsody = Yes. Every now and then writer's block is a problem! We post pretty daily so if I have a day or two where I can't think of anything to say and therefore decide not to say anything at all, I don't think blogging alarms will go off. But if I only posted weekly, and then for several weeks I drew blanks, people might then begin to wonder. I think in that case I might go searching for a "Writers Block" image and just post it so people knew what was going on ;0)

The Bumbles said...

DS & Sandy = You seriously need to find a way to get a laptop. It is kind of like when I finally broke down and paid for DVR service with our TV. Until I had it I had no idea how liberating it was. TV no longer dictates my schedule. I can watch Survivor whenever the hell I want. Having a laptop means I can go sit out on the patio and type up a quick post while enjoying the beautiful day instead of sitting inside feeling guilty about not taking advantage of the sun. It means I can sit in my comfy chair in the family room and watch Andy rip his hair out while the Bruins lose their hockey opener. Quality time. Otherwise I'm in a totally different room doing my thing and we never see each other. I'm trying to think of a way to buy another lap top so we each have our own and don't have to fight over the one we've got. Without a laptop we'd never be able to post as often as we do.

The Bumbles said...

Susan = Debbie just gave you some valuable input. She, as a pure reader, WANTS to know about the people behind the blogs. Blogs are personal. Websites are places, Blogs are people. That's how I think of it. You don't need to make your blog one big Twitter type thing - i.e. Today I went to the grocery store. Bought some milk. Got a good price. Came home. Fed the dogs. They shed a lot. Blah blah blah. But finding out how you find deals on groceries, or the best way to clean up pet hair, or why dogs are better than cats - those are things that can be interesting and provide a glimpse into your life at the same time. Not everything has to be like the end of Extreme Home Makeover - TA-DA!

The Bumbles said...

Karen = I like to plan "Blank Days" too - it relieves pressure. If I want to post something topical or need a place for some bright idea that pops into my head - there's a place for it. If my brain freezes and Andy doesn't have any ideas either, then I don't have to do anything. I like to brainstorm the end of each month ideas for the next month's posts. It is just a guide - I often take ideas and move them around to dates other than originally planned. Because sometimes I just really don't feel like writing about whatever I had planned. This other idea seems much easier or more fun. And that is a lot better than mailing it in.

Debbie = You are very kind. I think so often bloggers get caught up in leaving comments to return the favor for one left on their site, and here you are leaving excellent insight for us purely because you have something to add and aren't looking for a comment back to boost your site's traffic!

kaye said...

I've gone on vacation twice since I began blogging. The first time I scheduled some posts for while I was gone. The second time I just posted that I wouldn't be blogging for a week. It didn't seem to affect my readership. I have a philosophy of "guilt free blogging". People do what they can, If they have time they drop by--I love it. Sometimes I do wonder how long I'll keep it up, blogging requires a lot of time and effort. But as long as I can keep up with real life, I guess I'll keep visiting in the cyber world. I like your new meme, confession is good for the soul.

stacybuckeye said...

I've taken quite a few week long vacations this year, but have had a few pre-written posts to fill in the days. Last year when we went to Italy for 10 days I blogged from there almost everyday, so my family could keep up with us.
I don't mind the apology post. Sometimes something has happened to the blogger that I want to know about, I can actually think of 2 times when a blogger has come back after a death in the family and told about it. As for the excuse-ridden posts, well, they are easy to skim and them disregard.

The Bumbles said...

Kaye = Great Motto! Guilt Free Blogging. Maybe we'll put that on our blog banner to remind us of it on a daily basis.

Stacy = I am impressed with your blogging fortitude on vacation. I have considered that myself but I think it would suck me in like a vortex because I am weak to the blogging magnet.