Forget the Wills and Kate story, today’s big news in the world of web was Tom Harris’ announcement that he was retiring from blogging.
For those of you who don’t know Tom Harris, he is a Labour MP who has become extremely well-known in the digital world for his blog And Another Thing.
This blog was ranked in the top 10 UK political blogs last year and was the most influential of those written by actual politicians.
However, Harris has now publicly admitted that the stress that has accompanied his blog is forcing him to hang up his proverbial digital pen.
Blogging is having a negative effect on my personal, family and political life for reasons too many and complicated to recount.
Fair play to him for admitting to this, but the real question here is, should you actually retire from blogging or can you not just cut back?
We all know that many blogs go untended and often remain dormant for a long time, if not eternally. I know I’ve started a number of offshoot blogs over the years that have withered.
As long-term bloggers, it takes time, love and energy to keep a blog going continuously, especially if you’re not in it for the money (as few of us are), so if that has become an issue for Tom Harris, then fair enough.
He also indicates that the online vitriol that comes with any successful blog has given him cause to think twice about continuung, which is also fair comment – very few people can completely ignore nasty responses to something they’ve put time and effort into creating.
But completely retire from blogging? That seems possibly a step too far. If you get that much out of blogging, then there’s always the opportunity to scale back the frequency of posting or simply take what you do elsewhere.
I would question that, if you truly enjoy blogging, you can resist the lure of WordPress, no matter how much you claim otherwise. It’s like an itch you can’t scratch, especially if you’re high-profile enough to receive lots of feedback (both good and bad).
Harris himself admits that he’s ‘become a blogger who is also an MP rather than a politician who blogs’, so my question would be, why can’t you simply reverse the two?
Ultimately, only Harris himself knows how beneficial a life without blogging will be – it will be interesting to see if he revives his postings after a self-imposed sabbatical.