Is This What Blog Death Looks Like?
For a long time (in Internet terms) there was a group blog called “Writing In The Raw.” I liked it.I posted at it. I liked some of the writing there. I liked conversing with some of the writers. It was a small but clever community. It was more personal and homey than the giant orange group blog. And less prone to pie fights and tantrums. In fact, it had its roots there because people wanted something more personal.
A long time ago (in Internet terms), in other words, a year ago, Writing In The Raw sputtered to a halt. I don’t know why. Or I have forgotten why. And then it was magically revived with a new address. And now, well, now it looks like the air’s again come out of the tires, and it’s just lying there, prone. Is it still breathing? If it is, it's not enough to fog up a mirror.
There have been three posts since May 8. Two of those are mine. And of the two, the most recent asks simple questions:
What happened to us? What happened here?
Are we finished?
This is probably what blog death looks like. Blog death probably comes with question marks and not periods. It probably comes with silence and not weeping. The energy flows out of it for some unfathomable reason. It takes its last, wheezing, shallow breaths. The writers don’t show up, and they don’t write. Nobody comments. And eventually, when whatever money was paid to keep it on a server runs out, there’s a void. An error 505 message. It’s gone. It's taken down. And it disappears except in our vague, evanescent memories. There is no memorial service, no funeral, no procession, no wake, no shiva.
I’ve seen it before. Frequently. One quick example: I used to love the AOL Chat called “Writers’ Café.” That was back in the early days of the Internet, the early '90's. The chat was fun. And new. And then one day, poof. Gone. It just disappeared. Some of the writers later resurfaced on Twitter and made connections again. But the chat, and it was one with some remarkable characters, just died. Again, there was no grave stone. No memorial. No funeral. No despacho. Just nothing. Only silence.
If there’s an afterlife for all of the blogs and chats that just disappear and evaporate into thin air, it’s a very brief one. It’s in the participants’ memories and their bookmarks. Ever so briefly. It’s rare for anyone to write anything memorializing it. There are no appreciations, no thanks, no farewells. There are virtually no eulogies. No. We, the contributors, the writers just go on to the next thing, whatever that may be, leaving behind us the dry pixels that used to be something, as if it were just an empty water bottle we put down at the gym and then forgot about, leaving it for somebody else to throw away.