When this very site was hosted at Geocities and they effectively closed down blog hosting by stopping the auto-ftp involved they gave some time (about a week or so) to sort something out. I bounced on to one awful host before going Blogspot. For a while I couldn't access the archives of this thing (although the pages existed) and it was frustrating -- but it was just Evan and a couple of mates keeping the thing going and other than a quick bung to lose the banner ad I wasn't paying so I couldn't really grumble.
The Google buyout puts another shine on things -- it has to work for the good of some shareholders and if for whatever reason they decided to take it down I would expect some notice so that I can make other arrangements. Getting on for three years of my life are here and it would be a shame to lose that ongoing record of this time. Which reminds me -- I should get around to backing up the pages.
Actually it's funny looking back over that time and think what I have put up here. It's a constant source of amazement that I'm still able to find something to interest my admittedly small audience after all this time and that I haven't thought about giving it up in ages. To illustrate. I've just visit this food blog, via this good article linked by Anil. It's a site which the year someone spent working her way through everything in Julia Child's book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's one of those blogs set up for a reason which should come to a natural end when the time is right. The following appears in the next to last post:
"This thing was always meant to last a year and no more. I knew that. What I didn?t know, when I started, was how much I would come to rely upon the feedback and encouragement and just plain daily greatness of all of you who?ve so inexplicably agreed to go through this thing with me. I am sure that keeping the blog limping along past its useful life is no good to anyone involved, and the last thing I want to do is jump the shark; I know it?s time to go. But that doesn?t mean I?m necessarily happy about it."This goes to the core of what a weblog is for. I used to look back at the first year of the site as the Golden age. I posted at least four items a night and attracted a vibrant and vocal readership, which included, good lord, Premiereship footballers (go look back through the guest book). I was forced offline during the summer of 2002 (ironically when I wasn't working and volunteering at the Commonwealth Games -- so I had something to write about along with the time to spend) and when I came back I didn't seem to have the same relish for it. I couldn't find things I wanted to talk about and I was preciously close to turning it into one of those weblogs which simply reiterates the same things that other sites do. Posts are infrequent and halfhearted from the time because didn't know what I was doing anymore -- what the point of the site was. Then slowly I got the hang of it again and now I'm fairly happy with what appears here. It's not the same -- posts are much longer and I don't link to long articles half as much as I used to. The biggest change has been the introduction of more original content -- the Scene Unseen on a Saturday for example. I effectively worked out what the weblog was for -- to write about me and what I thought of the culture which surrounds me. It doesn't have to be 'about' anything else.
The point I seem to be approaching cautiously is that unlike the food writer quoted above, I don't think its possible for a weblog to 'jump the shark' -- or in other words experience a irretrievable drop in quality. It can go through the fallow periods were everything seems a bit off but given time it can come back, different but no less interesting. Post frequencies change and content, but they should ebb and flow with the interests of the writer. That's the point -- 99% of the time its our lives rendered in text (and pictures). As our likes and dislikes and reality develops so will what appears online.
That being the case I can't see myself ever closing the blog down entirely. Even at times when I become busier with work or studying it'll be somewhere I can egotistically throw up my thoughts and ideas and interests for my small but steady readership to look at. Although I don't write about everything on here (what with The Rules and all) it still provides a point of reference for me to see where my life has gone from and too in timespaces large and small. I like that it's always here, somewhere I can run to if need be.
[Additional: That said it would be interesting to know if anyone is reading -- I bring this up from time to time but its important to have a proper survey now and then just to see. So if you've got a second could you do me a favour and use the commenting system to leave the phrase "I DO!", how you discovered the site and anything else you might want to say (and your name if you like -- this'll happen automatically for Blogger uses ... everyone else needs to put it inline with the comment otherwise it flashes up anonymous). Thanks again in advance.]