Mystery posts and announced breaks: a metablog of sorts

The devil made me do it…

  • ‘Tis the season for mystery posts: Something big to announce that you can’t announce just yet. So here’s mine: I don’t have anything big or small to announce, but I can’t not announce it until the time is right. You’ll know when that is because there won’t be anything to announce.
  • ‘Tis also the season for explicitly declaring an end-of-year blogging break. Some of you already know how I feel about the need to explicitly announce blogging breaks (or returns, for that matter). But, in the spirit of the echo chamber, I hereby declare that I’m taking a break until my next post appears. When my next post appears, I will have resumed blogging.

We watched “‘Twas the Episode Before Christmas” episode of Moonlighting last night, followed by Chicken Run. Holiday spirit can only go so far.

13 Responses to “Mystery posts and announced breaks: a metablog of sorts”

  1. Lois says:

    And this comment won’t be actually commenting on anything until the point that commenting is prudent and required.

  2. I would like to announce that I will not be commenting on another of Walt’s blog posts until the next one comes along that deems a comment from me.

    I also have a huge announcement next week. Stay tuned 😉

  3. “In the spirit of the echo chamber…” Can you be more specific, Walt? Can you also clarify what you mean by your vague reference to announcing blogging breaks? What’s wrong with that?

  4. walt says:

    It’s a joke. Something Lois and Steven seem to have had no trouble comprehending.

    And I did write an essay that a few people seem to have heard of, “Life Trumps Blogging,” that says there’s no need to point out a break or to apologize for cutting back on blogging. No need to say all of that again.

  5. Oh, that essay: the one that states there’s no need to apologize. Of course there isn’t. But if you blog fairly regularly, it makes perfect sense to announce a blogging break. You can mock people who do that, but I’d rather know there was a reason a blog I read on a regular basis wasn’t being updated. I just saw notices to that effect on Beatrice, Apophenia, and Chuck Currie. I’ve seen Ed Cone and Jeff Jarvis announce breaks. It’s just tending to your readers. You are entitled to your opinion, of course… but I never found “Life Trumps Blogging” hit home. Jesus trumps blogging, childbirth trumps blogging, kitchen fires trump blogging, even the UPS man bringing something cool trumps blogging… well, yeah.

  6. Lurking behind the conflict here are some fundamental mismatches arising from different ways of reading posts, or even different kinds of blogs. If one reads via a list in an aggravator (:-)), then the “take a break” post and then maybe “back from break” post, tend to be classed as noise. But for sites which are more like syndicated columns or newsletters, such notices are courtesies to the audience (key members of which may be visiting the site directly or specifically looking to that site for a “brand” or “slot” of punditry).

    More deeply, “Life Trumps Blogging” hits home to many as a good statement against a certain type of blog evangelism, *some* of which has an unhealthy undercurrent that blogging should be a very high priority in one’s life, if not the ultimate value of one’s life (often this sentiment comes from people who make a living off being marketing gurus selling blogging in one way or another …). Karen, it’s clear this nonsense doesn’t have an emotional impact on you, which is good for you. But some of us, for reasons of being in a different environment, with different unfulfilled dreams, are more deeply affected by the near-inevitable disappointment generated from that huckerism.

  7. The blogs I list aren’t very newslettery at all; just the opposite. But once a voice becomes a habit, its absence is disconcerting.

    Blogging Trumps Life clearly meant a lot to a lot of people, but that it didn’t for me doesn’t make me either more highly evolved or less invested in my blog. It just didn’t speak to me in a way that was compelling or new. Walt has written many things I find both compelling AND new. That wasn’t one of them.

  8. Ed Cone and Jeff Jarvis are definitely “more like syndicated columns”. That is, they aren’t exactly posting syndicated columns, but they sure are very much doing it with a target audience in mind of the general public and powerful influencers. The tone is more “personal”, but that’s for style, not in intended audience (i.e., think of the “banter” that goes on during a newscast).

    My understanding is that you don’t view your blog as either the ticket to vault you to new heights of pundit gurudom, or the promised outlet by which your marginalized voice might at long last be heard. I wouldn’t use the words “less invested”, because of the tone, but maybe “less frustrated” (in terms of spending time and effort on a project which isn’t returning what the writer wants to get from it).

  9. Jenny Levine says:

    Walt, I’m just curious what the difference is between you announcing a delay or publication date change for C&I and a blogger who usually posts once a day and then announces a week or longer break. Both have fairly regular schedules, and the author is letting readers know of the change (even if just temporary).

  10. walt says:

    Do note that I said:
    “the need to explicitly announce blogging breaks”
    and that my essay–“Life Trumps Blogging,” not “Blogging Trumps Life” (!)–never ever said that it was wrong to announce an outage.

    Consider the preface before I quoted some of the “sorry I’m not going to be posting” or “sorry I haven’t been posting”: “noting that I applaud all these statements, at least partly”. The “partly” was the apology–there’s never any reason to be sorry that blogging took a back seat for a while. “Applaud” is a very odd word to use if my intent was either to mock or criticize.

    And, in fact, my bullet suggestions never, ever said “Don’t tell people you’re going to stop blogging for a while.” What it said was:

    “Don’t apologize for cutting back on blogging. There’s no need.

    You might let us know if you’re formally terminating a blog, but there’s no need to point out you’re disappearing for a week or a month—unless you’d like to mention why. (Congratulations to Cindi and Adri!)”

    Again, no need–but no harm either, and certainly mentioning why is never a bad thing.

    Jenny: I don’t normally announce publication date changes in C&I, particularly since it doesn’t have regular publication dates.

    But it is a formal periodical with ISSN and stated frequency, so there is an explicit reason to note a clear exception to normal periodicity. Any other comments I make about dates are posts about my life, and welcome to it; they appear here, not on the C&I Announce blog or the Topica list.

    And if someone really does Blog Every Day and treats blogging as a daily obligation, I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t announce a break. Very few of the bloggers I follow are in the Blog Every Day category, at least not any more.

    I don’t believe that anything in that essay or in the post that began this odd set of comments mocked anyone. I’ve received a fair number of “thanks!” for the essay, including one last Friday (from a frequent blogger outside the biblioblogosphere) calling it a “balm.” I received exactly zero messages or links saying “How dare you!” or anything of the sort.

    To my mind, there is in fact mocking going on in one of the comments in this stream, but it isn’t coming from me. (No, Jenny, it isn’t coming from you either: You asked an entirely legitimate question, and I believe I provided an answer.)

  11. How do you know there’s no need? What’s the rationale? Isn’t an implied contract with a reader (you can expect posts here frequently) as real as a stated contract? When exactly does the rule apply and when does it not? Do you really need an ISSN and to be a “formal” publication?

    And again, I know your essay hit home with a lot of people; it just didn’t ring MY chimes.

  12. walt says:

    Give it a rest. If you see a need to tell people when you’re taking a break, nobody’s stopping you.

    Good grief, this started as a little joke, and you’re trying to turn it into some kind of cross-examination.

  13. No problem, Walt–I’m not worried about this at all! Have a happy New Year.