Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Graveyard Shift

The etymology of the term “graveyard shift” is less entertaining than I’d hoped. I’d heard the apocryphal tales about people sitting in graveyards overnight, listening for bells rung by frantic people who’d been buried prematurely. “Saved by the bell,” “graveyard shift”—it’s an entertaining tale, but not based in fact.

That’s a shame, really. I was all set to blog a merry metaphor about wandering the cemeteries of greater blogdom, looking and listening for signs of life.

That’s a convoluted way of simply noting that blogs come and go. There are always new people joining the ‘blogosphere,’ while others have said their piece, made their peace, and moved on. Sometimes, their blog disappears entirely, usually coinciding with the expiration of their custom domain renewal. Their common epitaph is “404: Page Not Found.”

Others remain online indefinitely, untended for months and even years. It’s akin to one of those “frozen in time” moments you see in a movie — an online record of what their last blog-worthy thoughts and then ... perpetual silence.

The reasons behind these missing and dormant blogs are as varied as the bloggers who created them. There’s no simple “one size fits all” explanation, except to note: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3:1).”

For example: Len Hjalmarson, a thoughtful and prolific blogger, recently removed all content from his Next Reformation website, with the exception of a single farewell post. Later that week, his website domain expired and even that final post is gone. Len was instrumental to my decision to create this blog; his departure hits a little harder. An end to an era.

Someday, I would love to gather with my blogging kin around a campfire—a real one, with roasted meat and hearty ale—and share our present-day stories. I’m sure there’s a lot we could learn from each other.

I’d even be willing to spend a night on the graveyard shift, just in case.