Where have all the bloggers gone?

As you can tell by the picture at the masthead at the head of this blog, I’m getting along in years. For further proof, suffice it to say that the title of this post was inspired by a Kingston Trio song I first heard over fifty years ago: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?.

By the way, just saying the words “Kingston Trio” brings back a flood of memories from my sophomore year in high school. Such youth! Such angst!

(These opening paragraphs were inspired in part by a vow to my sister Mary Ann tomake my blog more accessible. Mary Ann said she has just started reading my blog. She said she found it hard to read my blog since it seemed so technical. so I’m trying to make my blog more accessible to a wider audience, or at least one wide enough to include her.)

As I noted in a recent post, I took a “software sabbatical” from August 2009 to June 2012, by which I mean that I didn’t blog, tweet, link in, or show my face on Facebook for almost three years.

I am thus in the rare position of using all that technology that everyone else has been using for the past three years, but seeing it with fresh eyes.

One thing I can definitely say, or at least state in the form of a question:

Where have all the bloggers gone?

To prove my point, I suggest you visit Sam Ruby’s planet.intertwingly.net.

(Mary Ann (and others), a “planet” is just an aggregation of blogs. The planet hoster makes up a list of blogs, then puts together a simple program so that, whenever a new blog post is made by *anyone* on the list of bloggers, then the blog post is copied to the planet. In brief, readers of the planet see *all* the blogs posts in the list of chosen blogs.)

Now that I’m back blogging, I have found that if I write a post in the morning, and then write another later in the day, or the next morning, then there are only a handful of blog posts from all the other members of the planet in between.

Sam kindly lists the planet members (webonauts?) at the top. Here is the current roster:

Adrian Sutton
Alex Russell
Alf Eaton
Allison Randal
Anant Jhingran
Andy Upgrove
Anil Dash
Anne van Kesteren
Antonio Cangiano
Apache Software Foundation
Aristotle Pagaltzis
Arnaud Le Hors
Ben Hyde
Ben Smedberg
Benjamin Carlyle
Bertrand Delacretaz
Bill Higgins
Bill Humphries
Bill de hÓra
Bob Geller
Bob Wyman
Bobby Woolf
Brad Fitzpatrick
Brad Neuberg
Brendan Eich
Brian Fitzpatrick
Brian Jones
Brian McCallister
Bruce Schneier
Bryan O'Sullivan
Bug Labs
Byrne Reese
Chad Fowler
Charles Oliver Nutter
Charles Stross
Chris Anderson
Chris Casciano
Chris Double
Chris J. Davis
Chris Oliver
Chris Wilson
Christopher Lenz
Ciaran Gultnieks
Clay Shirky
DB2 on Rails
Dalibor Topic
Damian Cugley
Damian Katz
Dan Connolly
Dan Diephouse
Dan Pritchett
Danny Angus
Dare Obasanjo
Davanum Srinivas
Dave Johnson
Dave Orchard
Dave Pawson
Dave Shields
Dave Thomas
Dave Walker
David Ascher
David Baron
David Heinemeier Hansson
David Isenberg
David Megginson
David N. Welton
David Recordon
David Siegel
David Terrell
David Weinberger
David Wood
DeWitt Clinton
Dick Hardt
Don Box
Don Park
Doug Schepers
Drew McLellan
Duncan Cragg
Edd Dumbill
Edge Rails
Edward O’Connor
Elias Torres
Eliot Kimber
Elliotte Rusty Harold
Eric Newcomer
Erik Dahlström
Evan Goer
Evan Henshaw-Plath
Florian Jensen
Frank Wierzbicki
Geir Magnusson Jr
Google
Google Data APIs
Google Maps API
Google Reader
Google Wave
Gordon Weakliem
Graham Glass
Greg Stein
Gregor J. Rothfuss
Gunnar Peterson
Guy Kawasaki
Henri Sivonen
Henri Yandell
Henry Story
Hugh Winkler
IEBlog
Ian Bicking
Ian Skerrett
J Aaron Farr
J Paul Reed
Jacques Distler
James Clark
James Duncan Davidson
James E. Robinson, III
James Governor
James Holderness
James Snell
James Tauber
Jamis Buck
Jan Lehnardt
Jane McGonigal
Jason Kolb
Jay Young
Jean-Baptiste Clamence
Jeff Barr
Jeff Schiller
Jeff Waugh
Jeffrey Zeldman
Jim Hugunin
Jim Jagielski
Jim Winstead Jr.
Jim Zemlin
Joe Armstrong
Joe Cheng
Joe Gregorio
John Boyer
John Cowan
John Foliot
John Panzer
John Patrick
Joi Ito
Jon Ramvi
Jon Udell
Jonathan Schwartz
Jonaz Galvez
Joseph Walton
Jukka Zitting
Justin R. Erenkrantz
Kelvin Lawrence
Ken Coar
Kevin Gamble
Kevin Marks
Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah
Kyle Weems
Lachlan Hunt
Lauren Cooney
Lauren Wood
Leonard Richardson
Linus Torvalds
Lisa Dusseault
Manu Sporny
Marc Andreessen
Mark Baker
Mark Masterson
Mark Nottingham
Mark Pilgrim
Martin Atkins
Martin Fowler
Matt May
Mephisto
Michael Koziarski
Michael O’Connell
Michael Pate
Michal Wallace
Microsoft Team RSS
Mihai Parparita
Mike Champion
Mike Dierken
Mike Dillon
Mike Harsh
Mike Herrick
Mike Melanson
Mike Milinkovich
Mike Shaver
Mikel Lindsaar
Mini-Microsoft
Nelson Minar
Niall Kennedy
Nick Sieger
Noah Mendelsohn
Noirin Shirley
Norman Walsh
ODF Converter
Obie Fernandez
Omri Gazitt
OpenID
O’Reilly Radar
Pat Helland
Patrick Mueller
Paul Downey
Paul Fremantle
Paul Hoffman
Paul Querna
Paul Sandoz
Pete Lacey
Phil Hagelberg
Phil Ringnalda
Phil Wilson
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Piers Cawley
Pratik Naik
Rafe Colburn
Raleigh Web Tech
Ralph Johnson
Randall Munroe
Rich Bowen
Richard G Brown
Richard Ishida
Rick DeNatale
Rick Jelliffe
Riding Rails
Rob Burke
Rob Sayre
Robert Burrell Donkin
Robert S Sutor
Robert Yates
Ronald Servant
Roy Fielding
Russell Beattie
Ryan Daigle
Ryan Tomayko
Sacha Labourey
Sam Ramji
Sam Ruby
Sanjiva Weerawarana
Santiago Gala
Scott James Remnant
Scott Johnson
Shane Curcuru
Shelley Powers
Simon Fell
Simon Johnston
Simon Phipps
Simon Willison
Stefan Walli
Stefano Mazzocchi
Stephen Colebourne
Stephen O’Grady
Steve Jones
Steve Loughran
Steve Vinoski
Steve Yegge
Steven Faulkner
Steven Lees
Stormy Peters
Tantek Çelik
Ted Husted
Ted Leung
Tim Bray
Tim Sneath
Tim Strehle
Todd “Turbo” Watson
Tom Moertel
Ugo Cei
W3C QA
WHATWG Blog
WebKit
Wendy Seltzer
Werner Vogels
Wikipedia: Atom
XML.com
Yaron Goland
Yehuda Katz
Zack Urlocker

(Before proceeding further, I suggest to Mary Ann the she should ask herself the following question:

If David is writing a blog post that lists all the members of Sam Ruby’s Planet, what happens when he publishes the blog post and it is picked up by Sam’s Planet?

Hint to Mary Ann: For a brief moment — and perhaps for the first time ever — Sam’s Planet will contain a post listing all the members. If only for a few seconds the list of members put up by Sam will appear alongside the list of members in your brother’s post.

This sort of self-referential event is the sort of thing programmers — and bloggers — spend lifetimes trying to achieve.

The same phenomenon can be found in Walker Percy’s novel, “The Moviegoer.” Binx Bolling, the protagonist, finds himself in a movie theater when he sees a shot of the same theater in the movie he is watching on the screen.

I read the book while still in high school — Such youth! Such angst! — before I first went to New York, so I can still remember the time I was in a theater in Times Square on 42nd between 7th and 8th, and saw on the screen a shot of a car driving on 42nd between 7th and 8th, including the billboard of the theater I was sitting in.

Some time you should ask me about recursion. That’s where the fun really starts …

Those of a technical persuasion, especially folks familiar with the open-source world, will note that the cast of hundreds includes many well known names, some of the real ‘heavy hitters,’ using the language that IBM marketing folks like to use.

Though I don’t what these heavy hitters are hitting, the one thing I can state with absolute certainty — assuming Sam is no slouch, and he isn’t — is that *none* of these folks are blogging on a regular basis.

For example, if the last day I have put out more blog posts than the Apache Foundation. The Apache Foundation has its own blog, representing the views of scores of Apache contributors, yet it only posts every two weeks or so.

(Mary Ann: “Apache” does not mean what you think it means. It stands for “a patchy server,” the kind of self-referential language programmers exult in, as noted above.)

We can each venture where they might have gone, as it’s hard to say for sure. I guess most folks would think of Facebook, Twitter, or some other social network.

Then again, if they lost their day job, they can always start blogging.

So if you see a bloger, give them a shake of the hand, a pat on the back, and thank them for their service on behalf of a lost art.

That art would be writing, or least writing more then 140 characters at a time.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] When Dave Shields returned from a recent “softare sabbatical” (no blogging, tweeting, or Facebooking since 2009) he wondered: Where have all the bloggers gone?: […]

  2. […] my recent post Where have all the bloggers gone?, I commented that –after a self-imposed three-year sabbatical from the web, in which I […]

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