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To Answer My Own Question About Deleting a Blog

I have a recurring dream where I am surprised with an amazing trip and when we get to the airport, I ask Josh if he packed my camera and he says no, shuttling me through security.  In my dream, I start to feel panicked over the idea of going to this place I’ve always wanted to see (usually India, Nepal, or Australia) without my camera.  So I start stalling, making excuses for why we need to go back home, take a later flight, and I am being pushed forward onto the plane without my camera.  Instead of being excited for the trip, I am miserable of the idea of traveling without any ability to record what I’m seeing; no journal, no pen, no camera.

There are people who process their trip in the moment, soaking it all in.  And there are those of us who need to regurgitate our trip and process it a second time to really take it in.  Chew the experiential cud.  This is true both for physical travel as well as emotional travel.  I need to relive moments or access memories via photographs or blog posts or journal entries down the line, or I don’t feel like I’ve really soaked in the experience.  I envy people who can process everything in the moment; but I also know my limitations.  I am someone who needs to record and reflect later in order to really know how I felt about an experience; to understand every thought that flitted through my mind at the moment which was incomprehensible upon first glance and makes complete sense when I look at it a second time down the road.  I always have a notebook on me, a pen and a camera in my purse.  While I could leave my phone at home and be okay, I wouldn’t be able to function away from home without an ability to record things.

Which is why I don’t think I would read a blog that I knew before I started reading was ephemeral in nature.  Or, maybe I would read it, but I would always hold that blog at arm’s length.  I know intellectually that every blog I read has the chance of disappearing tomorrow, but chance is different from certainty.  So I am willing to invest myself in a blog that most likely will be here tomorrow, and if it’s not, I understand too.  I’m disappointed in the same way I’m disappointed when a friend moves away or a favourite business closes down.  But I understand that shit happens, people move, restaurants close, and blogs are deleted.

I am someone who reads a posts.  Then returns to a post.  Then thinks some more about that post.  Then sometimes writes about that posts or highlights it in the Roundup.  Sometimes a thought will strike me years down the road, and I will return to that blog post and read it AGAIN.  Process it again, now with this new thought in place.  I don’t know if I would want to read a blog that I knew without a doubt would be gone down the road.  If it disappears because shit happens, I’m fine with the fact I invested the time.  But I don’t know if I would go into reading that blog knowing that it doesn’t jive with who I am as a processor, that someone may take it away from me before I’m done processing.

And perhaps you can now understand why Twitter doesn’t grab me, and why Facebook grabs me only slightly more than Twitter.  Because both of those mediums are ephemeral, fleeting.  If I don’t look at them in the moment, I miss it.  It’s too hard to search back through Facebook, and Twitter is gone semi-instantaneously if you follow enough people.  I can’t suck the marrow out of anything thought-provoking that quickly, and my time is so limited that if I’m going to read something, I want to suck the marrow out of it.  Which is why I prefer the pace of blogs.  I can read them, return to them, reflect on them, see all the comments that other people have said.  And now you may also understand why I sometimes leave comments days or weeks after the fact; many times, I was literally thinking on-and-off as well as rereading, chewing that intellectual cud.


While I’ve never made an explicit promise to you that my blog will always be here, I feel a sense of responsibility to (1) always keep it around and (2) write a note of explanation if I ever stop posting here.  No one pressures me to do this; I just feel as if I owe it to everyone who has left their thoughts here.

There are 3000 good reasons to delete a blog, and people have outlined a few of them in the comment section on that post.  If a blog space holds bad memories for you, or holds good memories that are too painful to access, it makes complete sense to release that space, let it go, erase it.  People delete blogs because they regret what they wrote about someone else, or regret that they shared too much of themselves, or feel unsafe online.  People delete because they don’t want to pay for the upkeep of a paid site nor have the interest in moving their words back to an unpaid site just to have the archives somewhere online.  I could keep listing very good reasons for deleting a blog, and in all of those cases, I don’t believe it’s a broken promise.  A broken social contract, perhaps, but your happiness and well-being needs to factor into that social contract as well.  I miss you when you delete your blog (or stop writing but leave up the archives), but understand and support you on that decision.  And it’s true — so many people have left behind their blogs, but we still remain in contact via Facebook or Twitter or email.

I thought the ChickieNob’s thought was interesting but also was such a black-and-white way (not to mention an eight-year-old’s way) of seeing the Internet.  So many people fall into that grey area, where I think deleting the blog makes more sense than keeping it around.  In the same way that there are items that we keep lying around the house even though we no longer need them or use them, and other things that I’ve needed the catharsis of burning, breaking, trashing.


1 a { 08.17.12 at 8:58 am }

I think more people than just 8 year olds think that way – it’s just that we get more accustomed to dealing with the disappointment as we get older. Look at all the people who would love it if another Harry Potter book were written – the story ended but we always hope there’s more because it was so good.

2 Mia { 08.17.12 at 10:09 am }

I completely understand where you are coming from. I created a blog, (like many other adoptive parents do) to write about our journey to adopt a sibling group of three from Colombia. It got popular quite fast because we weren’t using an adoption agency so I was charting everything step by step in detail. When we decided to switch gears to IVF, I decided to start a new blog for my new journey. I assumed people who were interested in the adoption blog wouldn’t be interested in reading about IVF so I thought it was best to start with a clean slate. I announced the change for a week before deleting the blog, and to my surprise some of my readers decided to follow along on my new journey as well. I was so happy, blogging is such an amazing way to make friends and connections and I know readers become invested in your journey and enjoy following along. I know my current blog is here to stay regardless of where my journey leads.

3 loribeth { 08.17.12 at 10:42 am }

I guess it’s human nature to always wish for more, to want to hang on to what we love forever. We all miss our favourite people and places and things, and blogs and TV shows, etc., when they vanish from our lives, for whatever reason.

But that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment they gave us and the value they added to our lives while they were here. “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” etc. ; )

4 tigger62077 { 08.17.12 at 11:16 am }

I don’t understand the actual deleting of the blog itself. If you start a new blog, keep the old one up – someone someday might need your words. If it becomes too painful to have that current blog, your readers will understand if “this space has become too painful for me to look at. I am leaving it behind and am going elsewhere. If you are a reader and would like to follow, leave me a message w/a way to contact you and I will send you the new addres” or some such. If you change domains, move the info over. If you no longer need that space and are no longer bloogging, fine, but leave it there. Leave a post saying “I am no longer blogging here, but you are welcome to look through the archives”. Those are your words that you wrote, your experiences that you went through…and you are not unique. There are others like you out there, who are just as lost as you were when you started blogging, who need to know they aren’t alone.

The exception being: if you no longer feel safe online, and that information is no longer safe to have out, close it down. Or pwd it, so that you can still see it but no one else can. There are other alternatives to just deleting it from the face of the interwebs, as if you and your experiences and words never existed.

5 Jill A. { 08.17.12 at 12:18 pm }

To read something and then have it gone is not that odd of an experience for those of us who grew up and aged reading newspapers and magazines. They were here one day and gone the next. Which is why our mother’s would leave us articles clipped from the paper and we would find them years later in the junk drawer:)

6 Justine { 08.17.12 at 1:18 pm }

I agree with your point about Twitter. I’m there because I feel like I need to be there, but sometimes I read a conversation or a post hours later, and wonder if by then it’s too late to comment. There’s no deep conversation possible, like there is on a blog post.

I love Jill’s comment about the permanence of paper, and the impermanence (*despite the Great Archive of Everything that is located Somewhere) of the internet. I’m also a book person. And a paper person, when I take notes. I wonder if all of these things are connected?

I have a need for permanence, I guess. Too much in life is fleeting. Even when people don’t delete a blog, but leave it without saying why, I wonder. Where did they go? And why didn’t they say goodbye?

There’d be a therapy session in here somewhere, I’m sure, if I had a therapist. 😉

7 Jendeis { 08.17.12 at 2:17 pm }

I was having difficulty understanding your POV until the part when you wrote about going back to posts long after they were written. I get this now. Nancy (of blessed memory) once wrote a post about how she dealt with her husband and stuff that had to be done after a baby was on the scene. I must have read that post 1,000 times and try to heed her words when dealing with my own husband and the fact that he must be following some sort of religious mandate that trash (fruit pits, plastic cups, dirty plates) cannot be thrown in the trash can and must instead be left ALL OVER MY HOUSE!!!!

Or maybe he’s just caught up in the moment with the baby. This could go either way…

8 Emily @ablanket2keep { 08.18.12 at 7:26 pm }

I like taking pictures, but don’t much. I like to live in the moment and take it all in, but I do go back later in my mind and play it over a bunch of times. I remember it better that way. I do that to with posts. I read them, read them over and might wait a couple days to comment. Even if someone deletes their blog, if I read something that touched me, it will be with me in some way forever.

9 Bea { 08.23.12 at 1:30 am }

Yes, and I have obviously been mulling on this one, too.

In my last response I made a comparison with books I knew I wouldn’t read again, but as soon as I posted the commented I thought, “That’s a really poor comparison.” For a start, even books I don’t think I’ll read again have an ending. Secondly, even though the reality is I’ll never read most of the books I read a second time, the option is open a hell of a lot wider than with a deleted blog, which is pretty much gone.

I’m still not 100% sure of my answer. I guess if the blog is going to be deleted (and I know it), I would need it to be much more entertaining in the short term to make up for the lack of relationship.

10 Bea { 08.23.12 at 1:32 am }

Entertaining OR useful or meaningful or otherwise memorable in some way.

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