End of an era

Big shock in the Belgian blogosphere today:   Gentblogt, the mother of all city blogs and inspiration for so many (city) bloggers   stops after 10 years.

In my overview previous September of who is still blogging and who stopped , I had mentioned that mostly the Flemish bloggers in my bloglist continued, while across the ocean most seem to have given up. I had mentioned Gentblogt as alive & kicking  (and also that I didn't read anymore as I have lost my connection with the city of Gent).

And yet I was genuinely surprised & shocked by the news and then sad. When still living in Ghent, I loved the many updates on all things happening in the city, often with a personal view from the volunteers blogging.   You could also feel that they formed a big group of friends (of whom I often also was reading their private blogs).  The site was a live community with lots of comments.
I was particularly impressed by how well they were organized: professional good looking templates, agreements with news agencies to import a news feed with anything relevant on the city, an editing team with meetings and planning schedules for big events, a legal "not for profit organization" structure with published articles of association, ....  All of that, while they remained mainly a vivid spontaneous community of contributors on all things happening in and around Ghent.

After the news today I did browse a bit through the blog and I must say that lately I see the number of articles published is much lower, as well as the number of comments etc... In their statement they refer to the wide offer of other social media where people consume news, comment and have discussions.  They also refer to the changed lives in that decade of the volunteering bloggers and I can totally understand how difficult it is to keep on finding time and interest from bloggers to keep on blogging for such a project.  I participate now and then in the city blog of Leuven and we struggle in a similar way: we are in constant need of finding sufficient bloggers and time to keep the site alive with a nice variety of articles (thanks to a wonderful couple that carry the blog almost entirely on their shoulders, it's still running smoothly but I do feel bad for them sometimes and hope we remain with sufficient to help sufficiently).

When an icon like Gentblogt stops, it really seems the end of an era,  the end of the blogging era and that makes me sad. I do not intend to stop this blog yet, which will also celebrate its 10th anniversary in June (wooohooo) as it has become the ongoing archive of my life that I don't want to give up , despite decreasing number of readers, commenters,   decreasing number of posts where I actually type a lot of content (rather than dump some pictures quickly), ....   I still love blogging and I hope others still continue as well.   Let us be a dinosaur blogosphere, ...some stubborn people that simply keep on rambling about trivial things in our lives.


yab said…
Hear, hear!
Jenn said…
I agree, please don;t stop blogging. I think sometimes too it's find a balance between 'blogging' and microblogging (like twitter) Sometimes I have a big long story to tell and do so in a blogpost. Sometimes a quick message or picture which is the microblogging.

The other thing I'm finding challenging is as the kids grow being able to write about them without it feeling like an invasion of their privacy. Even now I'd love to write a post about Lucas starting middle school, but stuggle with how much to put in it...

Goofball said…
@Jenn: yes it's a fact that our online time gets more fragmented across more different social media (apart from the fact that online time also competes with a wide range of offline activities...fortunately so!). So it's harder. I find it harder to spend undisturbed time on the computer with an investigating toddler next to me :)

For a city blog running on volunteering bloggers (that usually also have their own blog) it's even harder to find enough resources to have a diverse & frequent update going on.

I also totally understand your struggle with the privacy of your children as they grow up. It's something that I'll likely struggle more and more with in the coming years.

And yet.....yet, I can't imagine not to blog about my life anymore. It's a way of journalling and I love to share stories with family and online friends.

So we'll see how the balance evolves over time.

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