A brief note before you begin. This post is long. It is rambly. There are no pictures. However, every word on this post comes straight from my blackened little heart.
Part One: A fond farewell
Over the past couple of months, we have seen two major bloggers say good bye. Phaelia said her goodbyes while I was on my afk adventure from the world of the internet, computing, and most basic technology (the phone, anyone?), which meant that I did not get the full impact of the event. Oddly, when you detach yourself from the blogosphere, things just don’t feel quite the same as they did before.
So, until now I have not had the chance to acknowledge all the wonderful things Phae did for the community. To be completely honest, if it were not for reading the combined works of Phae, TJ, and BBB, I would not have had the courage or the knowledge to have a go at blogging myself. I started reading blogs simply because I was looking for information on Feral tanking – that was how I came across BBB. The delightful way in which information could be taken in, chewed up, and regurgitated in a much more palatable, easy to digest fashion was what made me love blogs. No wonder they gave Druids flight form – the idea of a bird feeding and nurturing its chicks is so apt for Phae and BBB.
I tracked Phae down after doing some research for a Resto Druid friend. Her mastery of mathematics amazes me to this day – I would scroll through, watching the numbers and the formulas fly, totally baffled as to how someone could have the time and the intellect to work something like that out! Best of all, Phae truly nurtured the World of Warcraft Blogging Community. Without her tireless effort and care, I know that I would not still be blogging today. For every blogger, there comes a point where you know you aren’t just doing this for yourself anymore, but for those numbers you see in your subscriptions, those people that allow you the invaluable chance to interact with them every day. I credit my (rather insignificant) subscription numbers to the Blog Azeroth community that Phae worked tirelessly on – without the link sharing that happened there, the interaction with new people who could give me advice and serve as a bouncing board for my (many) frustrations, this blog would still be a small WP.com blog with 2 readers and a heap of unprofessional looking images.
Now, BRK has hung up his Nessingwary and stabled Hobbes. I can not fault the reasons for which he left blogging, as family is perhaps the most important thing in one’s life. I’d like to direct your attention to a key part of what he said
For the next three months, it is my pleasure to rededicate myself to my family. While I was in Philadelphia, I spent more time with my son in a weekend than I have in a long time. I loved it, and was saddened that I had allowed myself to not do more with him during my WoW-career.
I don’t know BRK. I am not going to pretend otherwise. I have never met, spoken to, or in any other way associated with him. However, I have admired his writing, how effortlessly entertaining it all seemed, and admired what he has done for the Hunter community. However, I completely understand why he has done what he has done.
Part Two: A Changing of the Guard?
Now, there is this general paranoia in the WoW Blogging community. Who will topple next? Everyone is just waiting for another blog to close, for the whole scene to begin to collapse.
Well, I just can’t see that happening.
On the Blog Azeroth forums, there are 681 blogs listed in the introductions. I am going to assume that only 25% of these blogs are still running. That leaves us with 170 blogs. Now, I know that there are more blogs than this – I used to read more WoW blogs than this. Still, 170 blogs posting about a fairly esoteric subject is a lot of blogs. Some of these blogs are going to be of a higher ‘quality’ than others. I think the way we judge this quality needs to be changed.
Quality isn’t based upon subscriber numbers. Knowledge and expertise isn’t based off subscriber numbers. While these numbers are a good general indicator of quality, these numbers are also highly indicative of time spent on blogging. If you spend a great deal of time writing informative, interesting and entertaining posts, you will have many readers. If you manage to do this at least once every single day, you will have even more readers. It’s a simple equation: time + effort = reward. Unfortunately, this also seems to often add up to a loss of quality of life.
I’ll freely admit: I don’t put half the effort into my blog that others do. I aim for a post a day (I generally end up averaging out 4-5 a week). Each post generally takes me about 30 minutes. Some posts take as little as ten, others (like this one) take me much longer. So, I am never going to have the subscriber numbers BRK had. And, finally, after the longest time… I am OK with that. I don’t WANT my friends and family to feel like I don’t have time for them anymore. I don’t want my every second thought to be ‘How can I work this into a blog post?’, or even more alarmingly, thinking about posting while I should be enjoying time with others. I don’t want to sit up every night wracking my brain for something intelligent or funny to say.
Sure, my personal context is very full on. First year teaching is HARD (never in my life have I wept so many tears of frustration as I have these past couple of months). I live far away from all my established support networks, so in essence I am truly out of the nest. My first instinct was to retreat into the blogging world, somewhere which was familiar and calm. Not having the internet did paid to that, and I am glad.
My subscriber numbers dropped, and I coped. My writing style has probably gone down the toilet, and I am still coping. I have finally learned that this blog is not meant to be where I focus my ambition and my attention. This all started out as something fun, and for the longest time it was in danger of evolving into something else. Something a bit more malignant, a bit less friendly. Too much of my self esteem was tied up here, and with it, my ego. Some of it still remains – I caught myself making what I now realise was a terribly condescending remark about linking other blogs. Sure, I still link blogs because I like them, I like their writing, and I think you guys would enjoy them too. But some horrid egotistical part of me was thinking ‘if I link these new blogs, I’ll help the little guy out. I’ll get him/her more hits from my sheer awesomeness, and they shall be thankful’. Sure, it might not have been explicitly thought. It doesn’t make it less revolting.
My hope from what is happening is that the blogging community becomes a little less involved. A little more real life friendly. Sure, if you cut back a little, you might lose some readers. In the long run though, you will appreciate things that you had long since forgotten. You will learn the lesson from BRK and his family, and you shall prosper for it. Having a day off from blogging wont kill you, and it might serve to make the community stronger. Once out of the shade, flowers can begin to bloom.
For BRK and Phaelia:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall softly upon your fields until we meet again,
And may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.