A Note on the Life Cycle of Blogs

Decay Window/Fr Antunes, via Flickr

This is just to say that we realize that personal blogs by nurses have life cycles. They wax and they wane. While a core few are updated consistently, with the occasional gap for a vacation, and live on and on, evolving their appearances or keeping the old reliable appearance, many more simply die a quiet natural death. In many cases, no one plays taps. They served their purpose, they were noticed by a few or many of us, and then they quietly grew quiet.

Sometimes the bloggers say goodbye. Sometimes they just stop as if abducted by aliens. Or by their lives, or jobs, or illness, or death, or families, or by an alter ego. Well, that last bit is just speculation. Often the blogs live on, like deserted homes with the furniture still in them, never growing dusty, never surrounded by weeds or visible decay yet somehow sad. Or not so sad: testaments to an episode in a life in which a voice was raised with humor or outrage or questioning in a solitary room with a keyboard somewhere after the kids were in bed or while the DVR recorded the latest episode of something or other or early in the morning while the plows scraped the streets of the night’s snowfall.

Some nurse bloggers are more bloggers than nurses, it turns out, or more techies than bloggers, or some combination thereof; these too sometimes move on, some to paid roles as writers with columns on sponsored sites, some to roles in which they reveal their actual names to their audiences if they didn’t at first do so, some to entirely new professions that deprive their blogs about nursing and health care of their reason for being and their material. 

It’s the way of the web. It’s just fine, though it’s always a disappointment when someone really perceptive or unique or honest decides to opt out. We begin to see the passage of time on this ephemeral thing the Internet. We see markers of the first decades of this medium on the dates of blog posts we stumble upon through blogrolls that haven’t been pruned in a long time.

Which brings me to our blogroll. We update it when we can, when we find someone new to draw attention to. It’s not systematic. We’re very open, though we don’t include every blog we encounter. Sometimes we remove a blog that hasn’t been updated for a long time. Sometimes we wait it out for another few months in case this is just a hiatus. It’s a judgment call. If we do remove your blog, it’s nothing personal; and if you subsequently start to post again, please feel free to let us know. We want the blogroll to be worth exploring, to be a reliable source of places readers might want to check out. If you find a blog on it that’s become defunct, please let us know as well. We can’t always check everyone all the time.

Maybe in some future Internet the blogs and websites (or whatever we call them by then) will have a decay feature built into them so they’ll give off a musty smell of old leaves accumulated in cellar holes, so the words will begin to dissolve gradually, so other ideas and stories will take up residence in them like squatters and wild animals in need of a den. Now that could really get interesting.—JM, senior editor/blog editor

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Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. Peggy November 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I seem to find lately that all I have time for is to read and comment on blogs and items of interest. As was previously written, “life gets in the way.” As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to thank all the nurses for their thoughts and willingness to share them in such an open forum. Keep ’em coming folks! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  2. Shawn November 9, 2010 at 8:55 am

    I think JM’s correct – it’s like joining a conversation – like I’m doing right now by responding to Rob’s comment. And Rob, I like your analogy – “Its like phoning a friend, but no one picking up. Sad, when you can’t find out what’s new.”
    If only we had more time – or were paid just to surf the net and report/comment on items of interest. Is THAT what retirement might be like?

  3. jm November 8, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Thanks for weighing in. I agree that one good post can on occasion have more value than a dozen less passionate or engaged ones. Maybe one way to think of a blog, though, is as a way of joining a conversation rather than performing solo. But then, there will always be some solo performers who really speak to us and who happen to use the blog form as their medium. And some blogs created just to get traffic. And some for the purposes of saying the things you have no place to say in your daily life. And others interested in building meaningful communities, making connections. And sometimes all of the above, all at once. Good luck with that book on nurses and social media! -JM, senior editor/blog editor

  4. Rob Fraser November 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I really liked this post, great writing and I love @Torontoemerg’s writing too. My problem is that I’m nit a writer. Unless I have something to share, no writing of mine is worth the read. So I try to stick to useful ideas rather than creative writing.

    I know what you mean though about that disappointment when there are no new articles in paticular feeds. Its like phoning a friend, but no one picking up. Sad, when you can’t find out what’s new.

    I’m currently writing a book on social media and I’m debating how to advise nurses about writing. Sure running is great, but marathons can burn you out. Same with writing , I’d rather one good post a month for years than 8 months of biweekly posts. Sure there are a lot of stories, but my favorite part about blogs is seeing growth.

    Any thoughts on the subject would be very helpful.


  5. Saturday Linky-Linky « Lost on the Floor November 6, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    […] way.  It’s not that I’ve lost the passion for writing, life just gets in the way.  It’s all about the life cycle of a blog. I’m not on life support, just trucking (slowly) along. Finally I’ve figured out where […]

  6. torontoemerg November 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    @Shawn — the cure for that of course,is to carry a teeny little notebook with you for just such occasions.

    I wanted to mention incidentally how flattered and honoured I am to be on your list. Please keep me at least till I figure out this blogging thing, thanks.

  7. Shawn Kennedy November 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I suspect it’s because most nurses who blog have day (or evening or night) jobs that come first.

    Or, I wonder if many bloggers, nurses or not, have the problem I do: I often come across things that spark ideas and think, “That would be a good blog post.” But by the time I sit at the keyboard to write, for the life of me I can’t recall a single thought!
    As you picture your Internet of the future, perhaps add something akin to the “Vulcan-mind bend” (nevermind if you never watched Star Trek) connecting blogger brains to computers through a chip – or, better yet, wireless!

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