Shorter, sharper?

Failures may not be” may have rambled a little too much, particularly when it came to whether or not a blog could be considered a failure.
Let’s see if I can clarify my definitions (enough so that I don’t contradict myself in a comment!):

A personal blog is not a failure if…

  • The author feels it’s served its purpose or
  • Some number of readers have benefited from it.

A personal blog that never has any readers or feedback? That may not be a failure, if the author intended it as a place to think through issues.
A personal blog that has one entry a year? That may not be a failure, if that’s how it works out for the author.
A personal blog that the author regards as a failure? OK, so it’s a failure to the author (after all, if you write six best-selling novels but your definition of “success” is gaining a Nobel prize, you might consider yourself a failure, sad as that self-image would be), but the blog may nonetheless have been worthwhile for the readers (and for the author, but the author doesn’t recognize that).
A personal blog where the author explicitly sets out goals, fails to achieve those goals, and doesn’t learn from the shortcoming. Yes, maybe that’s a failure.

An institutional blog is not a failure if…

  • It doesn’t get lots of comments–unless the institution has made a point of begging for comments.
  • It disappears after a while–unless the institution continues to publicize the blog’s existence and treats it as significant.
  • It has sporadic posts–unless the institution’s explicit goals for the blog, or the audience’s reasonable expectations, require more frequent posts.
  • It was an experiment, known to be such, and the experiment didn’t succeed.

When is an institutional blog a failure? When it doesn’t achieve the goals of the institution and the institution doesn’t learn from the shortcomings.
Is that clearer?
So, if I do some “where are they now?” profiles of public library or academic library blogs–either of the pioneers, those that have disappeared or, for public libraries, those I found particularly interesting back in 2007–the profiles will be “here’s what I see,” not “here’s what failed.”

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