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Life at beautiful Bearskin Lodge on Minnesota's historic Gunflint Trail
Updated: 5 hours 51 min ago

Anatomy of an epic blog failure, or how Facebook obliterated the Bearskin Blog

Sun, 11/29/2015 - 12:04am

This post first appeared in April, 2013. In spite of best intentions,  this should be titled Blog Failure Part II.The blog simply faded away again, while numerous Facebook sites, Instagram posts, Twitter accounts, and Pinterest sites survived or even thrived.  But sometimes we have a better story to tell than will fit in 140 characters or in a couple snapshots. So with a rerun of this vow to bring it back to life, the Bearskin Blog is back online.

The first Bearskin Blog appeared August 27, 2007, just a few weeks after our family took on the challenge of owning Bearskin Lodge. (Click here to read the first Bearskin Blog entry from 2007.) Reading that initial blog years later, I can still feel the overwhelming emotional rush of excitement, fear, and responsibility that defined our lives during those first few years.  Everything was new, hard, and very scary.

The Bearskin Blog was a great way to introduce our family to Bearskin guests.  After three decades of being a family-run resort during the Barb and Dave Tuttle era, a few years passed when Bearskin lost the family-owned feel.  Guests wanted a relationship with the owners; they wanted to know our kids, meet our grandparents, pet our dog. They wanted to see the people who own Bearskin showing pride in their resort, fixing and repairing and updating the cabins that are a source of treasured memories for generations of Bearskin guests.

So we shared our daily lives in our Bearskin Blog.  Our dumb mistakes (A Bad Day for Birds and Suckers);  the inevitable catastrophic moments (The Good Life)  or (Survivor — the Power Outage Edition); the scary stuff (A Disconcerting Afternoon); the wildlife encounters (Bear  vs. Dumpster) or (Moose  vs. Andy McDonnell); the sad losses (A Life Well-Lived).  After awhile it seemed that most guests who came to Bearskin already “knew” us, even if we’d never met before.

In January, 2009, we decided to try making a Bearskin Facebook page.  These days almost every business has a Facebook presence but as surprising as it seems now, back in 2009 making a business Facebook page was a relatively novel idea.

Posting on Facebook was easy for us; hardly any time commitment needed.  Find a nice picture, add 25 words — done!  Facebook was the ideal format to give our guests and Facebook friends a brief  moment in their day to savor the Bearskin experience.  The page quickly developed a following and in a short time we were reaching several thousand Facebook  fans.

In our busy day it’s always easier to find 5 minutes to post on Facebook than to expend the effort to write a decent blog. And so the blog gradually faded into oblivion.  Our last finished blogging effort was in the summer of 2012 — not for lack of starting new blogs.  Our WordPress draft file is full of good blog beginnings.  Finding the time to finish is always the issue.

Looking at our past history on the blog, I miss having such a full record of Bearskin life.   The Bearskin Blog is a chronicle of what has happened at Bearskin since 2007, at least up until the time I lost the fire to keep writing.

7,000 people like the Bearskin Facebook page (actually, now it’s closer to 12,000).  They get a quick daily glimpse of Bearskin life on Facebook, but there is no sense of history to it.  Yes, you can go back on the Facebook Timeline to see what was posted in the past.  Without even looking I can tell you what it was for any date of the year:  an interesting  picture with 3 – 5 sentences of seasonally appropriate comments.  It could be 2009 or it could be 2013.  The defining sense of time and place just isn’t there.

Life at Bearskin is not as novel to us at it was in 2007, but nonetheless it’s still always interesting here.  The changing of the seasons, the big  resort projects, the unexpected wildlife encounters, the unusual guests–all of those things make our days at Bearskin memorable. I’m going to try to revive our dead blog.  Of course, we won’t give up on Facebook.  But for those people who like to relish the long version of the Bearskin story, rather than a few fleeting Facebook  seconds, the Bearskin Blog is back.  Bookmark us and see how long the Blog revival lasts!

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