It was easy to believe we were building a community.
The bust probably began long before some high profile blogs shut down their comment sections in the last year. Everybody and their dog was blogging, readership was fragmented, and even faithful readers were less willing to spend time on junky content. It just wasn't sustainable. I was as guilty as anybody--a lot of what I posted was a half-step up from crap. But we sure talked about it.
Interestingly, my readership statistics are stronger now than they were in 2010, or I should say, my posts are fewer but they get more hits. The comment section is a lot quieter, though.
I was curious why, so I revisited my blog list, which is about 150 long. Of those, 69 posted in the last month, and the number that posted in the last week was much lower than that.
Some of the inactive bloggers dropped out quietly, others revealed a traumatic life event or said they didn't have time to blog anymore before they said goodbye. A few, I'm happy to say, just got too famous and busy. Of those who remained, many were much less active than they were a few years ago. I understand. Life happens, and I think we all want to do higher quality work.
I am commenting on other blogs less myself, too, because... life. And that next novel.
I can think of at least one blog that looks as active as ever, but it's the exception, not the rule.
Some of the professional bloggers I follow claim the art form is dead as a marketing tool, though it might still have some use for customer service types. Other voices--my favorite bloggers even before the bust came along--say there will always be a place for good writing.
I'm still here, and I'll stay around. I like having a place where I can do whatever the heck I want. Meanwhile, the field is less crowded. The renaissance may come, but the comment section may never recover.
And that's okay. I guess.