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CYBERSCENES

Angst of the blogger

In her book "On Death and Dying ," Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Traveling through the blogosphere over the last year, Cyberscenes has noticed what could be called the five stages of blogging. The first four are: Stage 1: enthusiasm; Stage 2: fatigue; Stage 3: guilt; and Stage 4: existential crisis. Stage 5 is either a) continued blogging or b) cyber-death, depending on what happens in Stage 4.

While grief is largely a private affair, blogging is by definition a public one, so we the audience get to see these five-stage dramas unfold. This month, two local blogs were either in or nearing Stage 4.

In Waltham, the Borderline blog (borderlinenewtonwaltham.blogspot.com) was deep in existential crisis mode. In a Jan. 27, posting titled "Rethinking Borderline: Should I continue this blog?" the blogger lamented both how difficult it is to find good postings and the apparent unpopularity of some recent posts.

"I'm writing this post right now at 10:30 pm on a Saturday night," the post stated. "So blogging is taking away from my free time, which I could otherwise be spending with my family, or doing other more productive things around the house, or just relaxing."

At the end, Borderline left the to-blog-or-not-to-blog question up to his audience.

"So what should I do? Sell it? Take a break? Open it up to other writers? Give it up?"

The response was seven comments from readers, all urging Borderline to persevere, with some even offering how-to tips.

"I say just blog once a week," said a Boston blogger named Jennifer (www.imagined-community.com/blog ) "And don't forget it is that time of year. I have been feeling the winter blahs -- don't have anything to write about, blah blah blah. But I feel a bit dull from Jan - March every year."

There were no February posts on the blog by the time Cyberscenes went to press.

Meanwhile, over in Watertown, blogger Phil Temples at the Temples.com blog (temples.com ) might not have exactly been in a full-blown crisis, but he was clearly in self-pep-talk-land, making the transition from Stage 3 to Stage 4.

"Note to self: Self, do something about your web site!" he wrote recently. "It's getting stale. And boring. Write more journal entries. After all, man cannot exist alone on asinine George Dubya quotes. Until the last posts, you went almost 45 days without a single new entry. That's pretty sad."

Temples even dug up some statistics, which apparently state that 1 million of 2.7 million blogs surveyed had been abandoned after only one day, and that 132,000 web-loggers gave up posting after a year.

This column's Public Service Award goes to the Planning Liveable Communities blog out of Framingham (www.pedestria nfriendly.com) , for a recent number-crunching exercise that found that roughly 40 percent of vehicular accidents in which pedestrians were injured in town occurred on just three roads: Concord Street , Waverly Street and Route 9 .

Using state data from 2003 to 2005, the Feb. 20 posting features a map and a query tool for looking up all reported pedestrian accidents, including those without injuries.

"These stats don't necessarily mean those roadways are the town's 'most dangerous,' " the blogger wrote. "It's impossible to determine that without also knowing how many pedestrians use each roadway overall. However, it's safe to say that improving the pedestrian environment in those areas would likely have a larger than average public safety payoff."

Ralph Ranalli is a staff writer and web producer for Globe West. He can be reached at rranalli@globe.com.

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