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If Your Blog Died Today…. What Would It Be Remembered For?

Posted By Darren Rowse 18th of February 2009 Other Income Streams 0 Comments

If your blog were to die today – how would it be remembered?


Here’s a little 2 part exercise that might be fun (although slightly morbid) – and hopefully insightful. You’ll need half an hour or so to do it properly.

1. Write an obituary for your blog 10 years in the future

Project yourself forward 10 years, imagine that at that point you decide to end your blog having achieved everything that you want to achieve with it and write a short obituary about your blog as you’d like other people to have seen it to that point.

Keep in mind that your blog has been as successful as it can be and you’re ending it at the peak of its game.

  • What do you want people to say about your blog?
  • How do you hope it will have been perceived?
  • What will people miss about it the most?
  • What ground has it broken?
  • What has it achieved?
  • How has it helped people?

Take 10 minutes to write this obituary and dare to dream big.

2. Write an obituary for your blog as it stands today

OK – back to the present. Lets just say that you blog ended today. Perhaps it was hacked, perhaps you just decided to delete it or perhaps your server died and you didn’t have a backup – the reason doesn’t matter – the exercise remains the same.

Write an obituary for your blog as you think others see it now.

  • What would they say about it?
  • What would people miss about it?
  • What has it achieved?
  • How has it fulfilled a need or service in people’s lives.
  • What ground has it broken?

This exercise is one I did a few years back in another context and it was a powerful and motivating exercise. The key to it is to look at the two obituaries (the one you want people to write in the future and the one that people would write now – and to compare them and to sit with the differences.

The reality is that most of us have not yet achieved what we want to achieve with our blogs – however the question is, are we moving in the right direction to make our dreams a reality?

Many bloggers that I talk with have grand dreams and hopes – but their day to day blogging doesn’t take them closer to them.

Once you’ve compared your two obituaries – the next step is to start to put together some concrete steps that will enable you to move from the present reality to the dream for your future. These sorts of dreams don’t just happen – rather they are the result of taking daily steps towards your goals.

If you’d like to share your obituaries (or at least what you discovered in writing them) in comments below I’d be interested to see what you come up with.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. 1. Blog obituary 10 years from now:

    Ashok Karra’s “Rethink” broke ground in several ways. That a mass audience could engage poems and texts from political theory and philosophy at a fairly high level was something that defied most thinking about the web. But chatty, informal posts not afraid to link out to scholarship on the web or reference that in journals didn’t hurt the cause; it even helped bring academics from other disciplines onto the web, which up to that point had mostly been dominated by economists and analytic philosophers. Moreover, the change in political discourse effected was incalculable: a decisive break was made between the Web that indulged in conspiracy theories and shouting, and the one interested in making sure people understood the grounds of their best arguments. We see the changes effected all over today: people would much rather read poetry or watch interviews with people trying different things than paste the same comment expressing hatred for candidate X over and over. The blogs it spawned that cloned its technique were better in a number of ways – some had better scholarship, some were better written, some got better conversations going, still others were able to engage more esoteric issues and make them accessible. But the original blog was really, really daring, and was central to the emergence of the blogs like it.

    We wish the former blogger well in his want to be with his books full time. He has blogged about learning Arabic and Russian, and we understand that his forthcoming book on Osip Mandelstam and Stalin’s brutality is no easy task, and that his first priority is scholarship at this point.

    2. Blog entry today:

    Ashok Karra’s “Rethink” found its voice, but died just as people were finding it. There are a lot of problems with this blog: the author is arrogant and a know-it-all sort; his right-wing politics lend themselves to some unbalance; there are many entries that could use a good editor, and some that are beyond salvaging.

    That having been said – there might not be a bolder attempt anywhere on Earth to bring serious issues in literature, philosophy and politics to people’s attention and make them relevant. Ashok’s small audience knows this: they know without his writing, a number of significant texts and ideas and questions would have escaped their attention, and they know it is something special that he refuses to dumb anything down in an age where teaching doesn’t involve challenging people. The audience worked hard to promote their favorite entries, but it was an uphill battle: no one is going to read posts on Wittgenstein and Heidegger when the average YouTube viewer only watches a number of 5 minute clips in succession. The blog was up against too much, and the blogger is back at the university, isolated in classes, and his audience, hopefully, got something out of reading Aristotle, Plato, Dickinson, Yeats, Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Auden, Xenophon, Keats, Kant, Jefferson, Lincoln, Hamilton, Madison, Frost, Hopkins and numerous others that Ashok thought through, quoted, and presented intelligently, within his limits.

  2. Interesting… I’m thinking about how many post there will be in my blog after 10 years…

  3. Very Interesting and thought provoking! I’ll get back to write on this. I’ve never been so serious blogging and casually happy-go-lucky enjoying life. I’m not sure whether I’ll be Alive and Kicking after 10 years! Darren, you are a Thought Factory with Ideas:-)

  4. http://www.talkingfuture.com

    10 Years time: They came, they saw, they conquered!

    Now: They have arrived, they are looking around, the conquering department is lacking!

  5. Good idea about the blog obituary although I think it would be difficult to be kept updated.

    Mine would say something like:

    “… fought hard and never gave up, but had to succumb to the cruel reality but he might hit back anytime!”

    At least I hope :)

  6. 1. I would like my blog to remembered for helping many readers discover happier lives.

    2. I have just started so I have a long way to go.

  7. You know what, Darren, I’ve been thinking about this topic (blog dying) lately. But before the obituaries and all, on top of my mind is the question, “If I died (no one to blog so blog dies too), how would my readers know?

    As morbid as this may sound but, have you thought about this? “How would your readers know if you’re (knock on wood) no longer around?”

  8. Just wanted you to know I made good on my promise. Your post tickled my inner ghoulish self and so I wrote this in reply – http://salabasngmandaluyong.blogspot.com/2009/02/aw-shucks-darren-rowse-killed-my-blog.html.

    Thank you for your splendid and constant inspiration to us fledgling bloggers.

  9. You know what, this has change my perspective on blogging 360 degrees. At first, i thought it’s really just expressing one’s thoughts, or advertising to earn money, showing off and all those selfish stuff. But now i see it as something useful to help other people, to encourage, to educate, to give something of yourself. May it be that my blog (http://newsblog1st.blogspot.com) would die a memorable death.

  10. @ Grace I had also thought about that way. I thought if I die suddenly how my blog visitors know about it? What happens to my twitter, digg, facebook, linked accounts? What happens to money in my PayPal account?

    Well it is just stupid thinking. Daren this was really nice post. It made me think and motivated me towards my goals.

  11. I try not to think too much about death, personal or otherwise, but this is a good article for rejuvenating your efforts, that’s for sure.

  12. This is interesting and a bit comical and morbid at the same time. It is a positive exercise to make good bloggers really think about what they are writing and will focus many in writing for a specific reason. It also addresses what many people forget oftentimes when publishing thoughts online, that their words will be available for family members to view 10 years down the road!

  13. Thank you for that question ; I actually started to write down what people will miss from my blog ….

    In the end, I guess that one of my reader will probably keep up my work ….

    I am kind of proud of that

  14. @Mickie Kennedy
    Mickie, what makes you thjink the blog will be there in ten years? This is in fact the less likely scenario. If you work hard and keep the blog active and move it each time your host goes bust then it just might still be there, but the proability is higher that you will move on to other things, the host will have the receivers lock the doors one day, and the blog will vaporise overnight, leaving you to do battle to get your data back.
    I would very much LIKE my work to remain as a legacy, but it wont happen without some effort.
    Anyone with ideas in this area please visit the above website – not my blog LOL – and contribute.

  15. If my blog were to suddenly die it would probably
    be the digital equivalent of sudden infant death
    syndrome, being that it’s only six weeks old.

    It would probably read:

    “Scifi Watch: Died as it lived. Always reaching
    for the stars.”

    Live long and prosper http://www.scifiwatch.comoj.com

  16. LOL Darren, have you been attending seminars? I have done this exercise for myself… never thought to do it for my blog! Great idea :)

  17. this is a great topic, you can never get too much death, because every day we approach it a little more as we die, and for all too many it comes as a thief, Death is a great subject and is very relevant to all of the earth’s occupancy.

  18. Wow, cool idea for a post, I may copy it. I am pretty sure that my blog would be remembered as offering great information and content and also appreciated for the do-follow links!

    At least that is what my readers tell me now!

  19. If my blog died today, so would a part of me. My blog – its successes and setbacks – affects my attitude. And sometimes a particular post can stir my emotions. My blog has driven me to a point that it’s part of me.

    So… another way to approach this is: “If you died today, will all the work you’ve done on your blog be a part of your memorial?”

    That’s what I’m hoping for (not to die today, but to be remembered for my work).

  20. I did a similar exercise like this back in high school. It was more along the lines of write a letter to yourself 10 years in the future, instead of writing an obituary. The goal was the same though- to see what you’ve accomplished so far, and what you would like to accomplish by the time the 10 year mark hits.

    It’s great to check in every year or two as well, to see where you are along the way. The teacher who planned the exercise kept our letters and mailed them out several years later, it was interesting to see how much my goals had changed!

  21. If my blog were to die, then it would be remembered as a place where people came to get enlightened, share their knowledge, and be more aware :)

    But I dont want my blog to die, am too attached to it!


  22. Thanks for the though. I will have to relook at my blog and see what message I am conveying.

    Love your blog posts as always.

  23. An excellent post that I will recommend to the genealogy blogging community.

  24. Honestly speaking I did not think about that till today. I just want to make my blog famous and I am working on that at this moment.

  25. That’s true, we’re still trying to find our “blogger voice”. Writing an blog obituary might be a good idea…Will have to get back to you on that.

  26. I hope for my blog to be a ministry to moms. I go day by day so far. Maybe I need to be more future-minded! I just hope that at some point, I am able to encourage someone or give them a great idea for their family. I know this site is more about making $$, but I really like all your tips!

  27. Frankly speaking, Nobody knows what I ‘ve been blogging.
    so , Just I will find other things.

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