Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Recent Blogosphere Departures

Recently, Kitana, Ben and Zyberzitizen have left the blogosphere.

Kitana had been blogging since september, so that's about 8 months. Ben had been blogging for... dunno... apparently he's been popping in and out in different blogs for quite a while now. And zyberzitizen leaves after blogging for 5 months, since december. The last significant departure was Gayle Goh earlier this january, she had been writing for a much longer 21 months.

should bloggers be too concerned about these departures? Gayle and Kitana were both heavyweights and their writings commanded readership far beyond the average Singaporean blogger. Both were extremely idealistic figures and this in large part contributed to the attraction of their writing.

The rise and fall of the blogs were extremely rapid. Both shot to blogging stardom almost overnight, but both vanished from the scene almost as rapidly. And I think there are a couple of issues related to this.

a. it's difficult for an individual to keep churning out exceptional material on a consistent basis, without burning out. I think this is a major challenge that Gayle and Kitana faced. Indeed, their greatest strength has turned out to be their greatest weakness. When your readers find you coming up with great material, they tend to expect more and more and more... and it's difficult to keep on meeting these expectations. In comparison, less prolific bloggers may write less frequently and less well but they are not under the same pressures that superstar writers have.

b. unbridled idealism is often disappointed - but given time, when tempered with realism, it grows into a healthy, mature 'realistic idealism'. Sure, it sounds like an oxymoron, but having grand dreams and hopes about the future without regards to realistic outcomes is a recipe for rapid disappointment and disillusionment. Things will change, but we can't expect them to change overnight, nor should we have unrealistic expectations of our work.

With this in mind, I do not think that the departure of these exceptionally talented writers is a bad sign. Instead, I see it as part and parcel of the maturity of the blogosphere. In time, these young talents will grow and mature, and learn to bring their energies to bear in a healthy, sustainable way. With ample rest and reflection, I think they will be back in the future to have an impact on society, armed with wisdom gained from their previous experiences.

Also, as for the issue of individual bloggers burning out, as the blogosphere matures we should see more group blogs surface and team efforts which are much more sustainable, because the different writers can cover each other backs. Indeed, very few individual writers can keep going and going and going (those who can will be very successful, bloggers like Mr Wang and Aaron). Those who depend on bursts of creativity should probably team up to prevent individual exhaustion.

I'm not to concerned about the blogosphere departures. I think they just need a holiday. I'm sure they'll be back in the future as bigger forces to be reckoned with, and I look forward to when that happens.

"So we have to write, it is hardly a matter of choice, though we dress it up as one ..."
- The Reason Why You Write...