Sesame Street, Jeremiah and Blogs

I am a pretty committed reader of online journals and blogs. It’s one of the ways that I stay current with my areas of interest:  Jewish education, Jewish life, innovation, pop culture and even a little investment advice. When Google dropped its “Reader” program, that let me look at my blog and journal reading all in one place, I found another handy tool, Feedly. And there I’ve been for a few years.

Like other committed followers of online writing, I’m always looking to add to my list of blogs and journals. After all, you’ve got to be a lifelong learning, especially in this day and age of rapid change. And like others, I’m sure, I just about never trim my list.

Yesterday, I decided to see how all the nice folks I was reading were doing with their blogs. To my surprise, about 1/4 of the blogs I had been following had gone inactive.

Here’s the thing about radio silence. Saying goodbye is important. In my youth, the last episode of M.A.S.H. was a huge event. In more recent times, last episodes of Friends, Seinfeld and The Good Wife, all were important for closure.  But blogs are different. People just get busy, or change careers, or grow new interests. They stop abruptly with no warning.

Bloggers, as much as any of us, are subject to short attention spans. Maybe it’s because of Sesame Street, with its short segments. Maybe it’s about our times, when, as my friend Allison Fine pointed out, we are moving towards a workforce that changes jobs every 2.5 years.

It wasn’t always that way. Baruch ben Niriah, the “blogger” for the prophet Jeremiah, didn’t suddenly change jobs when Jerusalem was destroyed. If he had, the book of Jeremiah would have just stopped cold. Same with the “redactor” of the Torah. He didn’t find a new job and just stop after, say, Leviticus.

Sadly, our times are different. I can still rely on a few stalwarts in the blogosphere and some great journals to keep my learning current. But, I do miss the idea of signing off with a last episode, a final post, a goodbye, and a thank you for following.


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