Lately I’ve been pondering a the issue of dates on blogs.
While I see the usefulness of dates on posts (they help give context to a post) I wonder if they sometimes do more harm than good.
The reason I say this is that I’ve come to realize that I’m something of a ‘date snob’ when it comes to reading other people’s blogs. I suspect I’m not alone because the world we live in (and particularly the medium we’re writing in) is quite obsessed with ‘freshness’.
If I’m searching Google on a topic and come across a post that someone’s written on their blog I tend to look at when it was written. If the date is some months (or years) back I tend to rate it as less relevant as a post that might have been written in the past week or two – I don’t do it consciously but have caught myself doing it.
When I think logically about this I don’t see the sense in it because I know on one level that a lot of my own older content is still highly relevant – but for some reason I’ve come to see fresh content as equalling better content (sad I know). The result is that I’m probably less likely to read old posts thoroughly less likely to link to them (for some stupid fear of seeming to be out of date).
Am I alone as a date snob?
I suspect I’m not.
I’m not sure what the solution for this is – however have experimented with a couple of ideas including decreasing the visibility of dates on posts (I used to have my dates hidden away at the bottom of posts here at ProBlogger) and even taking dates off posts altogether (something I’ve done from the start at my latest blog).
This latest experiment with leaving dates off posts altogether has actually worked out quite well for me at DPS. I’ve noticed that a lot more of my older posts consistently are getting linked to by other blogs over time. I suspect it works well there mainly because that site is very much focused upon ‘how to’ or ‘tips’ type posts which are not time specific. A news related blog would probably not be able to get away with it as their posts need to be put into the context of time.
Of course I’ve heard a few other bloggers say that not having dates on my site means it’s not a blog – but I that’s another debate….
Questions for Discussion
I don’t have the answer to this ‘problem’ yet but thought I’d put it out there and see what others think.
Are we too obsessed with freshness as bloggers? Are you a date snob too? Have you tried any ways to combat this problem? Is a blog without dates not a blog?