The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

September 4, 2006



And as I return from casting my line into the water to see what I might try to reel in, one of my e-mails is from an astute and very intelligent female friend and potential blogger who sends this along.

It may or may not apply to your own feeling on blogging and what it means or doesn't mean to you. For the moment, as I contemplate other things, I throw it out to you and ask:

How often do you blog, as opposed to how often you'd LIKE to blog, and is that enough for you or too much or somewhere in between?

And do you sometimes find yourself posting something just to keep up or because you've really got something to say? IS there something like the Blogger Blahs or the Blogger Blues?

No Day at the Beach
Bloggers Struggle With What to Do About Vacation

A banner stripped across the top of the Daily Dish declares that the popular Web log's host, Andrew Sullivan, has "gone fishing." Mr. Sullivan declared a two-week vacation and opted to leave his political blog behind.

Several thousand of his readers have done the same.

Despite the efforts of three verbose guest bloggers, replacements handpicked by Sullivan, the site's visitor tally has fallen. The Daily Dish, now part of Time magazine, usually garners around 90,000 unique visitors, or individual readers, each day.

At the start of the first work week without him, Sullivan's blog received about 67,000 hits, according to Site Meter. This week, traffic has hovered around 57,000.

"The frequency of emails of 'Bring back Andrew' and 'This is stupid. Bring back Andrew' is definitely higher than anything I've ever written," says David Weigel, a 24-year-old assistant editor at Reason magazine, one of Sullivan's guest bloggers.

In the height of summer-holiday season, bloggers face the inevitable question: to blog on break or put the blog on a break? Fearing a decline in readership, some writers opt not to take vacations. Others keep posting while on location, to the chagrin of their families.

Those brave enough to detach themselves from their keyboards for a few days must choose between leaving the site dormant or having someone blog-sit.

To be sure, most bloggers don't agonize over this decision. Of the 12 million bloggers on the Internet, only about 13% post daily, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Even fewer -- 10% -- spend 10 or more hours a week on their blogs.

Yet for the sliver of people whose livelihood depends on the blog -- whether they are conservative, liberal or don't care -- stepping away from the keyboard can be difficult.

Unlike other jobs, where co-workers can fill in for an absent employee, blogs are usually a one-person show. A blogger's personality carries the site. When the host isn't there, readers tend to stray.

August is a slow time for all blogs, but having an absent host makes the problem worse. Lose enough readers, and advertisers are sure to join the exodus.

It's something that John Amato, host of the political blog Crooks and Liars, knows all too well. Amato rarely steps away from his site for any significant amount of time, although he finds updating the page multiple times a day exhausting.

"You become your blog," says Mr. Amato, whose site gets an average of 150,000 hits a day. "It's John Amato. They're used to John Amato."

Some bloggers thrive on the manic pace. Getaways for Jim Romenesko, host of the popular media blog bearing his name, consist of a Friday afternoon drive every month or so from his home in the Chicago suburbs to visit friends in Milwaukee.

The 85-mile trip should last around 90 minutes. For Romenesko, it takes nearly four hours -- because he stops at eight different Starbucks on the way to update his site.

The longest Mr. Romenesko has refrained from posting on his site, which gets about 70,000 hits a day, was for one week three years ago on the insistence of site owner, the Poynter Institute. He hasn't taken a vacation in seven years.

"The column's called Romenesko," he says. "I just feel it should be Romenesko" who writes it.

While it may seem like a chore to outsiders, many bloggers enjoy the compulsion. Mark Lisanti, who runs the entertainment gossip blog Defamer, is much like Romenesko in his no-vacation tendencies.

Although he gets three weeks off each year from Gawker Media, which owns the site, he rarely takes a day. Not because he can't, he just doesn't want to. "My plan is to die face down on the desk in the middle of a post," Lisanti jokes.

Kevin Drum, author of Washington Monthly's blog Political Animal, says he used to have that kind of proprietary attitude. At some point, says, "You just have to let go."


  1. very interesting. and something i've thought about often.

    i love blogging- and i love my hits- and i actually do worry about people coming back if i'm away too long... what amazes me is how many terms have sprung up related to blogging.
    "Blistless" or "B-listless" is apparently the feeling you get when you would like to post- but don't have a clue what to blog about!

    and i LOVE the sade- its one of my favourite songs too! thanx ww!

  2. Cool, Angel, and glad you love that Sade.

    I agree I love my hits on my blog too, but it's not about the number...

    It's about the relationships I've forged and hoping the same people keep coming back as I do to them, and wondering what THEY have to say about what I've said...

    Like any friends in any kind of relationship.

    I've definitely found myself to be "blistless" before...

  3. I have always kept some type of diary/journal. Writing has always had a way of making me feel better during tough times. That is why I started my blog. I needed an outlet to vent and I was tired of writing in pig latin for fear that my husband or friends would run across my journal and read it.

    Sometimes I have nothing to write about, other times I have plenty. But it is something I do for me, to make my mental state a little less insane and hysterical.

    Hits don't matter as I am a diarist by heart and nature. If no one reads, fine...but I will keep blogging, until I get tired and want to resort back to paper.


  4. Thanks for the article WW -- a high interest among bloggers type piece, that's for sure. I found myself almost drooling at phrases like "70,000 hits a day." I get 70! I understand the compulsive mindset all too well and sometimes find I'm analyzing the blogworthiness of info and events too much. If only I could make money at this like political and gossip bloggers!

    As for going on holiday for 10 days -- I needed it. I actually started teaching myself to play guitar with no computer to play with and no walking or running allowed (foot injury). But how quickly we get sucked back in when we're back at it again!

  5. blogger or not I've got the blues BLUES :*(


  6. Just in the last month have become somewhat addicted to my blog (started it last november, put a couple of things there and then completely ignored it until the 31st of july), even though it's full of shite.Have also become addicted to reading other people's blogs!Hi!

  7. Awaiting:

    That's excellent...and I think sums up what blogging is really all about. Cheers


    Hiya and welcome back. 70,000, 70, seven...I don't know about how many hits I get (thot about one of those counters, but opted against it).

    Some days, I can barely keep up with the few comments I get in comparison and checking out as many other blogs as I can find.

    Pluckin' the strings now, are you?


    Da BLUES Blues about...the Crocodile Man?


    Welcome! My interest wanes and then comes back in waves, I find, but I find I DO miss it. :-)

  8. alot of other things as well...but mainly Stevo. I still cant believe it.


  9. Keshi:

    I guess I'll just have to keep hitting Viva Forever to stay tuned, then...

  10. I've blogged on vacation, blogged from other people's homes, etc.

    It's more of a way to journal and keep my extended family and friends up to date on our family.

    Now....the Internet in and of itself is quite the addiction.

    But I can stop it anytime I want. No, really I can.

  11. By the way - it was your monday, but my tuesday :).

  12. Pam:

    Cool. I remember following, somewhat, your summer vacation a month or two ago.

    My extended family isn't nearly as computer-friendly as yours must be and only occasionally hits my blog.

    Of course we know you could give up the Internet any time...


    It's that space-time continuum thingy...

  13. Is it a bad sign if I dream that I'm blogging?

    I've also dreamed about other bloggers.

    Uh oh. I feel a case of the DTs coming on.

  14. No, M'Lady MJ, it's not a bad sign.

    You have so much fun with it, you and that rapier wit, that nothing can be bad about that.

    Welcome back.

  15. Rapier wit? Why thank you. That's a first. Usually it's referred to as a "juvenile sense of humour."

  16. MJ:

    Juvenile sense of humour? No, that's just reserved for guys.

    How many female Homer Simpsons and Family Guys and stars of the Trailer Park BOYS and other silliness are out there?

    Seeing a female do that kind of schtick is refreshing, if sometimes surprising.

    More power to you.

  17. I love the Three Stooges too. Genetically, I think there has been a mix-up in my DNA.

  18. I wish that everybody had to comment..period.
    Even if they said you are full of crap and I hate you it would be great to get total recoil! Yes recoil, I am terming a phrase here.

    Those freaks and their 150,000 hits a day.. I hate them and they are full of crap.

    Maybe I will get a hit meter and so that I can gauge the disparity between the snivelling little tedious weiners who don't have the decency to give me a reach around comment and the charming few who do.

  19. MJ:

    And we love you for it.


    I love that, Total Recoil.

    Personally, I don't give a shit about hits. I care about comments and dialogue.

    I guess it's kinda like a gorgeous woman havin' a look and givin' a bit of a smile to get your heat risin', but then turning the other way.

    If that's all they got, that's all they got. I'm just going to turn the other way too and try to meet someone else's smile and eyes...

  20. I often visit your blog but don't comment. Ditto for HE's blog. In my case it's because I don't feel I have anything interesting to add. I'm out there chortling at your posts, sometimes a full guffaw, or nodding thoughtfully (believe it or not) and that only translates well into the printed word by those more eloquent.

  21. MJ:

    And I do the same and that's just fine. I know your eloquence. I don't have to see it in print every day.

  22. I could just quietly pass gas as I visit if you like.

  23. What, did your mom teach you that good girls don't say the word "fart?"

    That would be fine, though, thanks. I'll expect to pick up your scent after every visit...

  24. aaah- you see, now you said it SO much better than i did!

  25. HE:

    What?? Quit being such a wussy!


    Thanks...or should I say Nyet! Isn't Putin visiting your country today?

  26. Wafts it over into HE's face.

  27. MJ (HE):

    You go girl! Pppffffhhhhhhtttttt!

  28. I know you are, but what am I?!

  29. HE: You have to ask? This is what you are. (NSFW)

  30. Is this about blogging or farting? I can take or leave either one! WW, I don't care about hits or anything like that, for me it's about being able to express what I feel, even if no one is reading it. When I don't have anything to say, I just comment on other people's blogs.

  31. dunno dude- the only news i get is what i decide to read in my yahoo newsletters!
    the rest p*sses me off so badly i wanna chuck my tv out the window- so i just don't watch!
    not very well informed am i!?!

  32. Howdy again. Work's been so screwed up that I've been almost afraid to comment on other blogs lest I say something really bad, unfeeling or just plain dumb.

    I toyed with the idea of installing a hit counter, but a combination of factors - fear of rejection, fear of caring too much how many or how few folks bothered to come by - dissuaded me. I figure if people think my blog's interesting, they'll come by. If they don't, that's cool too.

    Besides, I've been so damn out of it with work the last few weeks that you all are probably better off with me keeping my blog trap shut for the moment >B^D>

  33. What, did EVERYONE come back from vacation at the same time? Well, welcome back to all of you.

    Blogworld seems alive again.


    If I'm now WWW (Within Without Wussy) then you clearly are HEA (the Hominid who Escaped the Asylum).

    And I'm with MJ. You are a fart smeller, you fuuuul.


    Nice to see you again. But have you lost your marbles? Clearly, this is about farting.

    But since you insist on discussing blogging, I'm wit you. Altho I DO love the ClustrMap that shows the scope and breadth of fellow bloggers I, well, blog with.


    TV doesn't inform, it just entertains. Throw it out, you don't need it.

    But Yahoo newsletters? Cmon girl.


    Where ya been, stranger!! Work that bad? I've been making periodic visits but the planes thing, while interesting...

    You are welcome to stop by any time. Your wit and insight are missed greatly.

    Y'all come on back, ya hear! (When things clear up a bit at the paper. I'm just sayin')

  34. Mate Im so sorry to sound so down...well Im glad I have friends like ya who respect the fact that when Im down, I need time to get over it.

    I wish I was near ya so we could go out and have a break...have a drink for our lost mates.

    Hugggggggggz WW!

  35. Keshi:

    Sadness comes, sadness goes.

    To ignore it would be as ridiculous as ignoring the things that most make you happy.

    We're not automatons. Feel what you need to feel. Once you've felt it, you'll feel something new but familiar too.

    Hugs back.

  36. WW, I never had any marbles to begin with...

  37. Carmy Baby...

    I, um, was talking about brains, not balls. I get that you've never had any balls.

    The brains, I figure you've got plenty of.

  38. I hope it's not a prerequisite for visiting here again that I have to let one rip? That could be kind of disturbing. What is it with you people - haha ;).

  39. lEE:

    No, letting one rip is not a prerequisite, although it sure would be fun.

    Don't they fart down under Down Under? It's fun...really should try it.

    But we are accepting of all internal emissions here, so feel free.

  40. u always make me think...TY n hugggggggggz!


  41. Keshi:

    Sorry, not up on my Aussie or multicultural lingo: What's TY? I'll take the Hugzzzzzzz too.

  42. Yeah, what's TY? I'm here to tell you that we certainly do fart Down Under. Loudly and often.But aussies fart in a laid back casual way.Oh course I'm talking rubbish because as you know I'm female and females NEVER let off.

  43. Keshi (and Lee)...

    Hell, you both live in Aussieland.

    Of course on my drive to work this morning, my tiny male brain figured out that TY means Thank You.

    Then I farted.

    No, I understand fully that women do not fart, that they do not -- how did you say it -- LET OFF.

    But as you continue to force us males to live this pretend reality, I only tell you:

    You don't know what you're missing.

    Did I tell you my own personal fart record (recorded, that is) is seven seconds?

  44. Could you please do a podcast of your farts?

  45. I wouldn't know where to begin, MJ.

    For one, is a podcast necessarily a production of those little things called I-Pods? Is it an audio or video production we're talking? Or both?

    Duh. It took me about three months just to figure out how to post my pic to my profile.

    The seven-second fart I described is no longer physically possible. I can't get it OUT any more.

    By my reckoning, I was about 13 at the time, under five feet tall and totally into the funny sounds my body could make.

    It was about -30, we were outside playing hockey and sitting on the players' bench and having farting contests.

    I won that day. It's one of my proudest achievements.

    Those days, sadly, are over.

  46. Seven seconds? Damn! That's approximately the burn time for a rocket stage. No wonder there's still thawed areas in northern Canada!

  47. Yes, Fronty, our farts DO have an effect on global warming, I'm convinced.

    Canadian songwriter Bruce Cockburn (along with a lot of other people) have called cows nothing more than methane dispensers.

    They, along with the human populace.

    I think up here in the Great White North, if we REALLY want Global Warming we should institute National Farting Day.

    We could have the federal government pay subsidies to all families to travel up to, say, the 53rd parallel and, after a weekend of eating beans and other fibrous material (and laughing at George Bush, PM Steven Harper and other full of shit weenies), have a national countdown to what would amount to ONE GIGANTIC FART.

    We could melt the Arctic permafrost in one fell swoop and instantly make Canada a tropical country, flooding the U.S. in the process and literally sweeping Dubya out of Washington and back to Texas.

    This would be Free Trade in its most basal and effective form. Think of the hydro-electric possibilities for America.


If you choose to use anonymous to comment, it is only fair that I reserve the right to obliterate your comment from my blog.