Why is it that, if one hasn't posted for while, one must justify the missing posts with an explanation of some sort? Some are poignant:
This has been the longest time I have been away from blogging. There were several reasons for my disappearance the major one being the fact that every time I felt the urge to write about Iraq, about the situation, I'd be filled with a certain hopelessness that can't be put into words and that I suspect other Iraqis feel also.It's very difficult at this point to connect to the internet and try to read the articles written by so-called specialists and analysts and politicians. They write about and discuss Iraq as I might write about the Ivory Coast or Cambodia- with a detachment and lack of sentiment that- I suppose- is meant to be impartial. Baghdad Burning
Others are self-deprecating:
I probably haven’t actually blogged on this blog in a good few months. Semi-witty three-liners and pointless factoids aside, content has been sparse lately. Here is at last one good reason for all you two readers still checking this page to bitterly regret that blessèd old time. Today we are gonna rant. And we ain’t gonna rant on any topic either. We are gonna rant on US Politics. Can I get a hell yay, brethren? Dr Dave
Some are self-justifying:
Naomi and I will be away for the next couple of weeks. This will be the first decent-sized vacation we've had in a year and a half, and it's long overdue. For that reason, I doubt I'll be doing much posting, although I'll keep up with continuing discussions. Head Heeb [the link leads to a Wikipedia article on New Zealand]
Some are driven by blogger technology:
My one known blog reader friend has pointed out I haven't posted for a while, and I realise that if I don't hurry up I won't have an April posting in my back issues. What with Flickr n Skype to deal with, life gets so busy, but watch this space! Litrate
And some criticise themselves for doing what webblogs were originally supposed to do, give you a bunch of interesting links:
Lazy blogging, but I can't help it. I wrote a conference paper today, I have meetings piled on top of meetings tomorrow, the good reading links have been accumulating on my desktop, and I still have to read for tomorrow's class. I don't care how late I end up staying up, though, I'm gonna watch some more Battlestar Galactica! (Mr. B. borrowed the DVDs from the SIL I'm not speaking to, so I guess I owe her some credit for that, b/c it's an awesome show! Who knew?) Mr. B. is my hero, because he arranged my conference travel which, as always, I left until the absolute last minute because I suck like that. Anyway, without further ado, some of the contents of my desktop "blog this" file: BitchPh
What first struck me about these messages is their implication that one is doing something wrong in not posting for a month (or a week), or in leaving an automatically-created archive file empty, or in posting lists of links without much witty commentary and discussion, or posting short 'semi-witty three-liners'. Of course people will stop checking my blog if I don't post regularly; the beginners' guides to blogging warned me about this. And I do admire the blogs that post with superhuman regularity (e.g., India Uncut and Instapundit on the blogroll on the right panel), without wanting to emulate them. And multi-author blogs such as Boing Boing or Language Log can be counted on to have something new between morning coffee and lunch. But if blogs are about the routines of everyday lives and careers, surely silences are part of the story, and need no apology?
But I misread them as apologies. There's no 'sorry' here. They are mostly accounts - that is, they refer to some circumstances that justify the action that might be seen as blameable. I am thinking of the discussion of accounts in Charles Antaki (1994), Explaining and Arguing (London: Sage), but if you don't have a university library handy, he and his co-authors have a more recent treatment of accounts in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. In particular, they are the kind of exoneration (there are lots of categories, apparently) where one offers mitigating circumstances: I was busy writing a conference paper, or I had to have a holiday now, or it is hard to connect to the internet when the electricity keeps going off. As Antaki says, offering an account treats the previous turn as an accusation of some sort. So it projects me, the reader, checking the blog, as being annoyed that there is nothing new, or just a bunch of links, or just a semi-witty three-liner.
I expect that such a frequent device will get conventionalised, and we might get a general acronym for such accounts such as NEAT (No Electricity Again Today) or CBB (Can't Be Bothered) or GTNZ (Gone to New Zealand), the way telegraphers in the 19th century would say SFD (Stop For Dinner) to account for a silence on the line. Or maybe there is already such an acronym circulating out there.