Over the past few years, I’ve watched a number of bloggers stop blogging with a lot of fanfare, publicly stepping off their platforms, often thumbing their nose (or another body part) to the world or just admitting that they are running out of enthusiasm and want a break.
For the most part, they are not gone for long, though some manage to stay away a year or so. Typically, all return for more, and what they bring with them is fascinating to watch.
When Bloggers Return with the Good, Bad, and the Ugly
Generally, those that slipped off their blogs quietly tend to return the same way, but they bring with them some magic. They’ve “been there, done that” and know how it works. They understand the big and little picture and they make smarter moves. They bring energy and enthusiasm with them, using the wisdom of the past to make smarter choices today.
These bloggers bring back with them not only the wisdom of lessons learned, but a new sense of inner strength. They survived. They understand what it is to walk away. When my husband quit working for Boeing as one of their top flight line engineers, people were shocked. You just don’t walk away from Boeing. Two years later, when he re-entered the work force as a engineering consultant, he was really nervous about losing that time and momentum. During the introduction to the team he would be working, the director told the group about Brent having left Boeing. There were gasps all around, and one man shouted “All Hail!” They were impressed that he had the courage to walk away from a dream job.
It takes courage to walk away. It takes courage to come back. The bloggers I’ve seen return back to the fold with humility are better bloggers. They understand the power of the blog in the world today as a powerful public platform. Their choice to come back was a conscious one. They respect it, and I respect them accordingly.
Many that stopped with a lot of public fuss, return angry, especially those who quit blogging as revenge in response to a business deal gone wrong, nasty commenters and bloggers, and burn-out from all the crap that bloggers have to deal with more and more like content theft, hackers, privacy violations, and the sometimes overwhelming burden of comment spam, scrapers, and splogs.
Such bloggers return with a chip on their shoulders, still angry and often vengeful. They may be “out to get the ones that dun’ them wrong” but more likely want to prove to the world that they are back and coming out fighting. “You can’t stop me!” is their warrior cry.
Some return with a renewed energy towards risk taking, which is good, if they use that for the betterment of themselves and others, but often it is more of a “I don’t care, you can’t hurt me” childish position rather than a strength. Their defensiveness often pushes beyond common sense and good manners.
When discussing this with a returning blogger recently, he told me that he wanted to jump off the cliff before others pushed him, since it gave him more control. “I’m fearless now. I’ve been beaten down and now I want to beat back.” I thought that was an angry and defensive position. He told me he didn’t care – which is the point I was trying to make. He didn’t get it.
The best bloggers care. Sure, there is point where you can’t care about every little thing because it does lead to burn-out, but it’s critical to care about your audience, about your readers, about your content, about your blog, about the reasons you come to a blog in the first place. By caring, you open yourself up to the possibilities as a blogger exposing yourself, your passions, and your work to the world through your public platform. By striking back and spewing your anger, your readers get a backlash they might not appreciate, nor understand.
As discussed in How To Get Back on the Bloggy Path, bloggers attract to them the type of readers they deserve, set by their tone and content. By turning bad and ugly, their readership shifts from supportive and caring, compassionate readers to defensive, angry, belligerent folks.
There is a lot of room in the blogosphere for angry bloggers, as well as for all returning bloggers. Personally, I appreciate bloggers who return humbled by their experience, using the lessons learned to improve things, rather than those who return still bitter from their experiences. Don’t you?