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No, this isn’t a question concerning the Walk of Shame folks or even the song by The Shirelles, Bee Gees, Carole King or even Amy Winehouse, who l think performed a cracking cover. You probably have your own favourite …. but it is a question about community and absence, and mostly – absence. Does absence make the heart grow fonder? Who knows … everyone has a differing opinion of that statement?
Let me explain …. a few years ago, l would say 2018, l was having a conversation with Britchy – remember her? Helen aka Bitchin’ in the Kitchen who has now been absent from her own blog since May 2020, so well over a year ago. She had to leave [in case you ever wondered what happened to her] due to personal reasons. But we were talking about what happens when people ‘suddenly stop’ blogging without warning, they just disappear – how do we as friends get hold of them? Would people even notice your absence. Would the community care? Britchy and l agreed that where there is a will, there is always a way … drop a comment, email if you can or use the contact page if you are that concerned. This is working on the premise of WordPress and their blogs – but might be different if you follow them on other medias.
How long does it take for a person to notice the absence of another and at what point do they raise their concerns from noticing the absence to acting about it? I mean as bloggers DO we really make an impact on people’s lives? Do we HAVE to notify our readerships to our leave of absence or potential AWOL status … is it a duty, an obligation or merely a personal formality? Of course, everyone is different and how they decide to inform or not inform their followers, readers and friends is down to them.
In the last 1 – 2 years alone l have seen many bloggers disappear to never truly return Britchy is one, KK of Finding French Charming is another alongside Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess , Ursula of An Upturned Soul and even Richa of iScriblr who we know is very busy with her youngster, but more recently Ian Kay of Moon Is Rising and Tazzie of Echidna Home, Emily of New York Family Adventures have gone AWOL, and the list goes on … l always wonder how some of these people are, especially those we never seem to hear from again.
As of today, and crafting this post – l have 2630 followers and of that number l would say that 5% are dedicated readers over the course of any given month – that equates to around 130 readers give or take 1 or 5 maybe. Following that l may have roughly 2.5% of readers in addition to that who read my blog over every quarter year, so between 1 and 3 months, my blog enjoys the readership from around 200 people.
Of those 200 people how many would notice my absence in 24 hours and or 48 hours? Would l be noticed as absent? I would like to think in 24 hours perhaps a handful would maybe notice me not being present and especially if l had not given any notice .. but l wouldn’t be upset if in that short period time l was not missed. But l might be a little surprised if l was not missed after 48 hours.
I mean, l have always said l postdate the morning community greetings post anyway, meaning it is created the night before the morning after, l don’t bulk create anything, l make all posts on the day itself. I don’t have a filled drafts folder with 20+ posts waiting to be published. Everything apart from the morning post is fresh that day. I have said if there is never a morning greetings post on the day at all … something is wrong – l am either seriously ill, dead or have been kidnapped!
So, l think that of my dedicated readership circle l might be noted as absent on the morning of the second day, provided that the previous day’s morning post published on the schedule and wasn’t delayed by a WP glitch by 10% of my 130 readers in the first 12 hours and by the second block of 12 hours perhaps a further 10% might notice me missing. So maybe on a given day and an absent community greetings post 25 of my regular readers would perhaps wonder where l was. Of those 25 people l think l would probably receive emails from 20% in a matter of hours on the second day. I say this because l am a day to day regular poster and even with my reduced postal schedule l still produce 1 post most assuredly daily and actually 2 posts daily.
Now this isn’t me blowing glittery pixie dust up my own ass in the self satisfying department as a blogger …… but ever since Britchy’s conversation with me all that time ago, it is something l have always had in my mind … would l be noticed if l disappeared without a word and how long would it take? Would the community notice me gone?
I have had conversations in recent weeks and months with friends on two topics, one ‘community spirit’ and two ‘does absence get noticed?’
Whilst l don’t disagree with the truth that WordPress has a very active community of like minded readers and writers’, l don’t always hold with the community is close knit. Communities of people are made up of groups of people who enjoy a lot of the same or remarkably similar socialites with other people … but that doesn’t always mean they are all close to each other. I know there has been a lot of talk, posts and topical conversation concerning community during the pandemic and how it has brought communities closer together… which l don’t buy into at all and never will.
Would the WP community notice my absence after 24 hours? No, nada, nope and hahaha and l wouldn’t expect them to equally as much as l wouldn’t expect the full 2360 followers l have to notice me gone! BUT, would my immediate friendship circle notice my absence in 24 – 48 hours? Yes, l believe they would … but that is not a community of people, they are a circle of readers, dedicated readers and friends alike. The nucleus of my personal community would, and of that l am both thankful and grateful.
But now we come to the main question which is about absence.
Of my 2600 followers l have a close-knit connection with about 40 people. These are the people l read from on a regular basis every week and interact with the most on this blog. I have invested time with getting to know them and their blogs. They form my immediate friendship circle and l notice quickly if something is amiss and or if someone is missing. For some l notice very quickly as in 12 – 24 hours, whilst others l notice in 24-36 hours … but as soon as l do notice something isn’t right l usually drop them an email direct if l have it, drop a comment on their blog asking if they are alright and the last resort is to utilise their contact page direct if l haven’t heard anything back from them after 72 hours.
Now, of course everyone is different – some bloggers opt to simply disappear without a word of warning to anyone else, others leave cryptic clues and others again choose to notify their readerships of any planned ‘breaks’ …. it is after all their prerogative to do what they deem necessary … right? Or is that not right? Should the readership be dropped a small noter in post form to say “hey panic not, l am just taking a few days away to recharge or ….. whatever?‘
Anyway – to the questions …..
How long does it take for you to notice a regular blogger/writer/friend that you follow is missing and what do you do?
How long do you leave it before you start to query the absence and sniff around for clues or alternatively are you not worried if readers you follow go AWOL?
Do you actually notice and or even care working on the premise they’ll be back eventually?
Let me know your thoughts below …