Sunday, October 21, 2018

Some Better Place

Earlier this week, Gevlon took it upon himself to analyse the outcome of this year's Blaugust as he saw it. He posted twice, first to assess the "long term effect" and then to see what blogs he could add to his blogroll as a result.

This caused a small ripple in the blogosphere, with Izlain, Rambling Redshirt and UltrViolet posting in response and a number of other Blaugustians leaving comments. Some seemed to take the Goblin's analysis to heart while others questioned both its methodology and accuracy.

I just thought he'd mistaken the basic purpose of Blaugust, which is a festival celebrating blogging and a bit of a talking-shop and meeting place for current bloggers. There was some justification for the confusion, since it's true that this year's event did also incorporate the New Blogger Initiative, which is intended to increase the blog supply for thirsty readers, something it's managed to do very successfully over the years.

Despite its undeniable success in encouraging new entrants and returnees to the form, the NBI has always had an extremely high drop-out rate. Gevlon's arch-enemy, Wilhelm, has occasionally analyzed the results, albeit over a much longer timeframe than the Goblin's: the number of blogs that survive, let alone thrive, is small.

According to Wilhelm's 2013 post on the fallout from the original NBI in 2012, of a hundred and ten participants, only thirty were still active a year later. Looking at those thirty I see just five that I'm still reading in 2018 - Why I Game, Ravalation (who hasn't posted for a while but was very active until spring 2018), Ald Shot First, Beyond Tannhauser Gate and Casual Aggro.

Five out of more than a hundred doesn't seem all that impressive but clicking through the links, sixteen of those thirty blogs are still online, if dormant. What's more, quite a few were still posting in 2016 or 2017, so they had a good run.

Of the rest, six go to dead links. That makes twenty-seven. The remaining three bloggers are still active but on different blogs.  

Game Delver is C.T.Murphy, currently blogging as "Murf Versus. Warp to Zero moved to Grimmash, although the last post there was in March this year.

That leaves White Charr, a blog that was technically still live in 2018, but only to point readers to a more active blog on Tumblr. That blog turns out to belong to no-one other than Aywren, longtime resident of my own blogroll, where she trades under the name Aywren Sojourner.

Meanwhile, back at this year's roundup over at Gevlon's, Narratess pops up in the comments to point out she, too, has more than one blog. Lots of people do. Well, lots of people might.

It's hard to be sure when bloggers either retain separate identities with the intent of keeping them secret or hive off different aspects of their blogging into silos according to subject matter. It's particularly difficult to keep track of who's still active when people move without leaving a forwarding address.

Gevlon himself dropped his Blogger identity after a crisis of conscience over supporting Google. He moved to WordPress but helpfully left his Blogger blog active with a link, which is what I still use to find him.

I currently have 175 blogs in my blogroll. I was going to cull them but until I hit whatever limit Blogger imposes I can't really see the point.

As is often mentioned, Blogger has the best automated blog linking out there. It reliably and faultlessly floats the most recent post of any and all of those 175 blogs to the top of the list. By leaving them all on there I can guarantee I'll know immediately if any of the dormant ones wake up.

That's a lot better than Feedly can manage, which is why, increasingly, I use my own blog roll rather than Feedly to keep up with what's happening in the blogosphere. I have quite a few non-gaming blogs in Feedly, though, which I would be somewhat dubious about adding to the widget on Inventory Full.

It's been noticeable of late that fewer posts are popping up in my Feedly feed. I've been assuming it's because of natural attrition. As a result of Gevlon's investigations and the surrounding commentary, however, I decided this morning to click on a few of the links that hadn't sparked for a while.

I began with a music blog I follow. It's called "Music That I Like" and it's by Everett True, a music journalist and sometime performer, who I first encountered in the mid-1980s, when he was writing and performing under the name The Legend. (Link very NSFW!).

The last post at Music That I Like was just over a year ago, when Everett was raving about the very wonderful Dream Wife. He'd seemed quite depressed around that point and I was wondering if he'd finally packed it all in for good but thankfully it turns out not.

Music That I Like may not have had any new posts since August 2017 but it has a twitter feed that's still going. I clicked on that and it magically transported me to Everett's new blog, How NOT To Write About Music, where the most recent post was...yesterday!

All of which suggests that, if you want to keep up with what's happening in the blogosphere, you need to pay attention and make an effort. It would be very nice if people always announced when they're taking a break and always left a change of address post up after they'd moved, but they don't. Sometimes you have to go look for them.

I guess now I should go click through all the blogs on my blogroll and Feedly that haven't posted in a few months or years to see if they went on to another party somewhere and forgot to tell me. It'd be quite a big project, though.

I've got a week off work in November. Maybe I'll do it then.

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