Stewart, over at the excellent Stewchat/Boulmer Birder/From the Notebook blog, has used the medium of Twitter to canvass opinion:
Many of you are Natural History #Bloggers. I am wondering how Twitter and Facebook has affected your blog output? Im wondering if my blog has had its day, its been going 12 yrs with 750,000 views... Comments please.
Now, what is becoming obvious to me is that many of the blogs that I really enjoy - those that are a mixture of natural history observation that is laced with humour and entertainment - are withering on the vine. The bloggers concerned are either phasing, getting fed up or cannot find the time to craft posts. It can be a bit of a chore at times to pump this stuff out, and that is exactly what we shouldn't do - pump it out.
First up, why did we start blogging in the beginning? A few possibilities - the novelty of being able to contact like-minded folks across the globe; a platform to share thoughts and sightings; a vent for our frustrations; a chance to show off our writing, artwork, photography, 'brilliant' thought processes etc, etc. Let's face it, we love an audience, crave feedback and feed off the 'virtual profile' that we create. Sounds pompous doesn't it, but it's a truth.
So why stop, or at least think about stopping? Maybe the blogger isn't getting feedback. Fewer visitors. Cannot find the oomph to post. Might have said it all and finds themselves repeating the same old stuff. I know, I've been there - here's a picture of a Bee Orchid, it must be June...
But... sometimes you are reminded as to why you carry on. When you realise that you have a network of fellow bloggers and natural history friends that you've never actually met but feel as if you really know; when somebody meets you in the field and thanks you for the blog (yes, that has happened a few times); when you can disseminate information with ease (such as the Hawfinch paper); to share information on where to go and what to see; to try and inspire others to take up the natural history baton.
Blogs are still relevant. I like Twitter, but it cannot always say what I want it to say. Sometimes I need to expand. It's a bit like comparing 'news headlines' to a 'magazine feature' - if you just want the gist, then Twitter is fine, but blogging gives depth. Facebook is OK to expand on a theme, but you will end up arguing the toss with a number of keyboard warriors regardless of whether your posting was considerate or not.
So, to Dyl, Gavin, Jono, Stewart, Lee, Derek and all of the other bloggers out there - keep it up. If you need a break, fine, but come back refreshed and with the certainty that your voice, through the medium of the post, is welcomed across the globe, and in many more homes than you would believe.