It was bound to happen. An A-list blogger or two decides to throw in the towel. Enough blogging is, er, enough. But why? Read on…

Two well-respected bloggers have announced their retirement recently. One is the irascible Dave Winer, creator of the RSS format and a blogger for almost a decade:

On March 13th he wrote in Scripting News:

I can do it, folks, I have already, in some sense, stopped one of my rivers,
and soon, probably before the end of 2006, I will put this site in
mothballs, in archive mode, and go on to other things, Murphy-willing
of course.

It’s been a long time coming. When I started blogging, depending on
how you look at it, either in 1994, 1996 or 1997, I had different
goals, and happily the goals have been accomplished.

Note his “I can do it” assertion, as if he’s already hearing the “No, you can’t!” chorus that did, in fact, spring up from the bloggerati upon his announcement.

Another is David Allen, best-selling author of Getting Things Done. On March 15th he wrote: I’m halting my personal blog for now…

‘Twas a noble experiment, 270 Entries and 1,529 Comments later, and it
was great for me to experience this medium from the inside out, in my
limited way. I’d probably continue it in some form, if I didn’t have a
multitude of other things to do that are taking priority. It’s another
time I need to practice my own GTDing and renegotiate my own
commitments with myself…”

The time and priorities factors
Not surprisingly, David Allen’s reasons for stopping, after exactly two years, are mostly to do with time and productivity and re-ordering his priorities. I spoke with him by phone a few weeks ago (I had asked him to consider writing a jacket “blurb” for my book) and he elaborated, saying that blogging for him was an experiment. He wanted to understand the medium. But he didn’t need to “spread” his brand through a blog.

Most of what he does professionally is face-to-face through his workshops or consulting with high-level execs. He doesn’t need to propagate – or introduce – his brand online to everybody. And in fact one of his goals is to encourage his coaches to work on establishing their own brands more forcefully. You can visit their blogs on the company blog page.

What’s New pages re-cycled
Dave Allen notes in his final post that he’s reinstated a What’s Up page on his main site. You can visit it here. Note that it isn’t dated. But it provides him a space to offer Web visitors a bit of company news. Remember the “What’s New” pages of yore? They were pretty much a standard part of any Web site. Note that you can power a What’s New page through blogging software, by configuring it so that your entries aren’t dated.

The privacy factor
Dave Winer elaborates on why he’s going to stop blogging by saying, “I want some privacy.” This, in fact, is a more profound reason not to blog. And one that begs the question of just how transparent a big company or public figure or top executive can be in a blog. The answer is… not 100 percent. The trick, of course, is to find the line that approaches real authenticity without revealing too much.

Dave Winer:

So there’s the first part of my reason. Blogging doesn’t need me
anymore. It’ll go on just as well, maybe even better, with some new
space opened up for some new things. But more important to me, there
will be new space for
me. Blogging not only takes a lot of time
(which I don’t begrudge it, I love writing) but it also limits what I
can do, because it’s made me a public figure. I want some privacy, I
want to matter less, so I can retool, and matter more, in different
ways. What those ways are, however, are things I won’t be talking about
here. That’s the point. That’s the big reason why.

Your comments?
So what do you think about the issues of time, productivity and privacy – as they relate to blogging? And what it means to stop blogging? Click the Comments link and leave your thoughts. I’d really like to hear them.

Useful Links

More buzz about Dave Winer’s decision to stop blogging

Robert Scoble’s rant about bloggers beating up on Dave Winer
(It  has to do with whether Winer should properly take credit for creating certain code standards, from XML and RSS, to OPML and podcasting. Winer has alienated a lot of folks with his prickly personality. But the fact remains that he’s brilliant. Of course being obnoxious or controversial garners you lots of links and exposure in the blogosphere.)