If you're like me, blog/vlog sites are entertaining.
A couple of years ago when I started blogging and (now) vlogging on various sites, it was cathartic for me. It was the perfect way to interact with people of opposing and contrasting views to debate various issues. I had my "go-to" sites that if I was in a bad mood and wanted to punch someone, I would log onto those websites because I knew there would be plenty of folks for me to have a "written sparring match" with.
If I was having a great day and just wanted some mindless banter with like-minded men and women, I knew which websites to visit. Religious conversations? Yep, I had a site to visit. Sports? Nothing beats the NFL website. Sex and relationships? One of my favorites, Nerve. Spiritual and motivational conversations? Can you say www.oprah.com....
The sad part about the flurry of blog and vlog sites are that the initial excitement of a new site offering up fresh ideas for people to mix and mingle, over time dies off. I have lost count of all the websites I once loved to visit that have died on the vine. One of the latest that is on life support is a site created by a small group of 50 and older, celebrity women such as Whoopi Goldberg, Joni Evans, Lily Tomlin, Lesley Stahl and others, called wowowow.com. When it first started....holy cow the conversations! I loved it!
Exciting, stimulating and controversial debates abound. Really smart and savvy women (sprinkled with a few Gay men) that would have the most heated but really intelligent debates about everything from politics to sex, women's rights to celebrity gossip. Now, visit that site and it is like walking into a store that is going out of business that is down to the last few items on the shelves and a bored sales clerk at the register filing her nails. Click on any one of the links and you will see only 2-3 current contributors. 99% of the content is from ages ago.
They were once a thriving and hip site, but over time they drove people away because they couldn't define their audience. It was the 40+ working and active women with full lives, strong opinions and content with who they are vs. elderly women that live with their animals, love their grandchildren, mostly Republican and Tea Party women, non-sexual and hoarders. The two camps just butted heads so much that many left. So now no one is left. I still stop by and post for one columnist, but beyond her column I avoid it. It has become a haven for the mentally ill. I mean that literally.
Then there is (or was) this women's travel site that I visited every week. It was filled to the brim with smart ideas for travel - specifically geared toward women. They covered anything and everything you could think of in regard to travel. When I first joined there were just a couple hundred members. Within a year it grew to a couple thousand. Now it's gone.
So what's the answer.
How do we (the users) keep a website that we love relevant and thriving? I happen to think it is very simple. The website has to care about the users and provide current and interesting content that draws the reader in. And, the website has to be maintained in a manner that keeps it fresh and appealing. Those of us that blog on NewsVine do so because we are hardcore fans of the written word. We don't need flashy graphics and big, bold banners all over the place.
No indeed, just the facts for us.
But not every site is NewsVine. Sadly, I believe we will continue to see more and more well meaning websites tossed unto the virtual trash can, never to be seen again.