which way do I go…

Photo Friday has changed their site. I’ve done 515 Photo Friday posts; my first one was July 14, 2006. Sometimes Photo Friday hasn’t posted new challenges–usually around holidays, and most recently, as they’ve revamped their site. But I don’t think I’ve missed a challenge in all that time, not even when I went on the occasional posting hiatus. I tried to follow every theme they used, no matter what a stretch I had to make between a photo and a theme.

I don’t know where I first saw Photo Friday. I’m sure it was on someone’s blog. I know several of my other blogging friends did Photo Fridays, too, but only one or two still do, and not always consistently. Shit, for that matter, who’s still blogging? I’m barely here other than Fridays and Sundays.

The reason I began blogging was because I enjoyed other people’s blogs. Tim started a LiveJournal and I liked it, so I started one, too. That was in late 2004. In time, I realized what my other writer friends knew–keeping an online journal or blog was PUBLICITY for what we published. And readers could find us on our blogs and interact with us in a way that rarely happened in the old snail mail days. I still have friends I made via blogging. I also met some people who are with good reason not friends. It’s a weird world out there.

I migrated from LJ to a WordPress blog in April of 2011 because I already owned beckycochrane.com and didn’t have anything to put there, not having published a novel since 2009. I figured I might as well use it as my blogging platform. In time, I stopped talking politics because that became too mean and no fun. After even more time, I wrote only occasionally. Facebook and Twitter and Instagram pretty much killed blogs. Who wants to read some longass post from a stranger when you can read 140 characters from tons of strangers. After all, didn’t the Bell Companies–and by that, I mean Southern, Western, Mountain, etc. Bell who later became AT&T–teach us that a romantic story or a sentimental celebration among aging parents and their children or a girl’s idol worship of her big brother could be conveyed in 30 to 60 seconds? Who needs movies? Or even half-hour sitcoms? Those phone commercials were the forerunner of Twitter.

I doggedly blogged even when almost everyone I knew stopped because I WASN’T writing novels. The blog became a creative outlet for my photographs, my paintings, my magnetic poetry, my nostalgia, my doll fashions. When Rescued Pets Movement began to consume my time–and you have no idea how much time that is, but all the people I never call or write or meet for lunch or email or see or travel to see or send birthday cards to: THEY know–the only things I was sure I’d make time for were those Photo Friday and Button Sunday posts. Even so, I linked to them on FB and people would comment there and never here, so my traffic must be pretty slim compared to the number of readers in blogging days of yore. A “like” button on FB is easy, and a comment there is mostly private since almost all my FB posts are friends and family only. This blog remains public, and though the dozens of comments from the old days are now only a few comments here and there, I still read them with the same interest and delight because connecting here continues to feel more genuine than on all those other quick and easy social media sites. This is one-to-one time between me and YOU, who still reads and comments. We’re not just one of a long line of tweets or FB posts or instagram photos. For a moment, we meet, just you and me, because we both want to be HERE, not just two voices lost in a cacophony of more voices than most of us, or at least I, care to hear at one time.

And Photo Friday–well, honestly, I started participating because by making the photos public in my otherwise mostly private Flickr account, and by posting them to the Photo Friday site, I could drive more traffic to the blog and therefore expose the Timothy James Beck novels and the edited anthologies and my own novels to a wider audience.

But now, as I say, Photo Friday has changed. I’ve been trying to figure out its new design, and as best I can tell, it allows us a better view of all the photos submitted on the actual site rather than clicking on the photographers’ links and going to their websites. In other words, Photo Friday has joined the quick and easy view it on your phone or tablet generation, no need to go to all those other places to see photos anymore. YAY!

Except…not yay. Because I liked clicking on those links and never knowing what I might see. A brilliant photographer from some country whose name I couldn’t pronounce? A hobby photographer who wrote really engaging stories about her crazy friends? By going to those contributors’ blogs or journals or websites, I have discovered whole new worlds that intrigued or entertained or dismayed or educated me.

And I, who am not a brilliant photographer and don’t pretend to be, am supposed to upload my photos there to be eclipsed by many far superior photos, and there’ll be no more visits from people who came to see one photo and, maybe intrigued by my tags, poked around and found other things that interested them, or that we had in common or–hey, you wrote BOOKS? Real books on paper that were sold in bookstores? I’m going to order one right now!

Anyway, this has all been WAY more than 140 characters, and thank you if you read this far as it means you are a rare and wondrous creature who still has an attention span and I probably love you more than Charlie the Unicorn. If I stop doing the Photo Friday challenges, I’ll still do something. I actually have a list in the notes app on my phone of what people told me they wanted me to blog about. It’s from July 17, 2010, and it makes me smile when I scroll down that far and discover it again.

YOU make me smile. Thank you for still reading here. I still love reading your thoughts.

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14 thoughts on “which way do I go…”

  1. I’m with you on the Photo Friday dilemma, Becky. I am normally one who embraces change, but this one doesn’t feel good to me for all the reasons you articulated. Ah well, I suppose there’s a season for everything!

    1. I was thinking of you when I wrote this, because through the years, we’ve done so many of the same things (photo a day, etc.), and I was sure you must have also had some of the same experiences. Clicking on a photograph (or not) because you recognized a person’s name and liked (or didn’t) his or her photos. Being intrigued by the title someone gave a photo and wondering what it meant so clicking through. Or just randomly selecting and clicking to see what you might find. Now you can see the photos immediately, which is a time saver, but sort of takes the fun and adventure out of the site. The world moves fast, and I, the dinosaur, want some experiences to require a little more savoring DESPITE my limited leisure time.

      1. Exactly! I honestly can’t see myself staying involved with the project, which is a bit of a shame. I’ll have to find something new to do on Fridays! Actually, I have to get back to blogging PERIOD – this year has been a whole lot sporadic in that area, as I’ve been focused on several other things and there are only so many hours in the day.

    1. Yes, I can, but my question is, do I want to? If I won’t be linking to here from there, if the possibility of connections to others is no longer there, and if I’m not a great photographer in the first place, does that remain something I even want to do? Or would I rather do something else?

      For example, somewhere around the end of last year, I’d considered reaching into the closet where my vinyl is stored (it’s so much more accessible to me now than it was at The Compound) and blogging about whatever memories a particular album or song or artist evokes. And when I actually did that when David Bowie, and then Prince, died, it was fun. (Not that they died, of course, but that I was reminded of the work of theirs I’ve loved.)

      But it’s so hard for me to carve out time to actually blog. And you–your stories are so much fun, and you get a lot more reaction and interaction with readers on FB than you did on your blog, so that’s where you post them now. It only makes sense. And it’s easy for us. BAM–one site, scroll down your feed, comment here and there, and sign out. Going to people’s blogs or websites requires more time and commitment. And I more than anyone get that often the time is just not there. I can’t even read my non-work email. I have a handful of people I still read on LJ and I go there maybe once or twice a month, in the middle of the night when I’m winding down, and try to catch up. So I, too, rely on FB for updates, but good grief, the amount of dross I have to pick through or hide to get to the gems–am I actually saving any time? And if people post the same thing across multiple platforms–FB, Instagram, Twitter, blog–that’s actually counterproductive for me as a viewer/reader. It downright annoys me. I then want to pick only one of their social sites, but holy shit, unfriend or unfollow or mute or hide someone and they find out, and it’s like you slapped their grandma.

      Social media is fraught with drama and peril, no?

      1. Vinyl, like a record 🙂

        Photo Friday was one of my outlets in a world loosing creativity. Although the thumbnails are an improvement, they do scream why bother enter their world (I was avoiding click/tap)? I want to think that the thumbnail would encourage going out to visit the photographer’s site.

        Having LJ and flickr means I still can’t use one service for both. Maybe I’ll return to FB, even though I cringe every time I think about that.

        But the Photo Friday Theme of the Week thing is what I really enjoyed. So, I look at their thumbnails and find myself unlikely to visit the photographer’s site. I’m not a professional photographer, but I like to explore their work.

        520 weeks is about 10 years.

        1. Okay, so apparently at least the first photo you submit there, maybe more, has to be moderated before they publish it. My photo is still not showing up there. You do have the option of putting a web link along with your other info, so maybe people can click through to Flickr or a webpage or whatever. I will know more when I actually get a photo on there.

          I wonder how many people have decided all the hoop jumping is just not worth it? It’s a shame. I really did like Photo Friday.

  2. I find I go through blogging slumps and blog-reading slumps — usually both at the same time — and then feel guilty, not so much because I haven’t written anything, but because I haven’t read or commented on the things my fellow blogfriends have taken the time to write. They put in the effort; therefore, so should I.

    *sigh*

    I agree with you that Facebook, et.al., have more or less slain the blog-beast. Several knit or book bloggers I followed have bailed out of the blogosphere; another knit blogger I follow lamented a few days ago about how she hardly gets any link-ups any more for the Finished Object Friday and Work In Progress Wednesday round-ups she hosts, and she was pondering giving up even providing a place for the link-up.

    I don’t know about anyone else. All I know is I blog for my own satisfaction. If someone happens to read what I write and like it, I’m happy. If no one reads it, I’m still okay. My blog, my rules. 🙂

    1. Your last paragraph expresses my feelings exactly. It’s my space. I’m glad when people visit and when they comment. But I guess it’s the thing anyone who creates has to learn. You do what you do because you have to, you want to, you enjoy it. If you try to control how it’s received, you’re squandering energy better directed toward more creating.

      1. That is how I was with LJ. Then, I foolishly tried to consolidate some flickr and realized the shear volume of broken links I ended up with. Ugh. We were not amused.

        So, I’m slowly working towards a different approach or maybe some plot to that will channel my creativity on something else with flickr yonder and ye ol’ El Jay.

  3. Indeed. I am a rare and wondrous creature –oh look bird!– with what was that? Oh yeah, an attention span of ADHD, but ironically I don’t subscribe to terse twitter and facebook. I actually find the terseness depressing to comprehend and the endless sentence/paragraph annoyingly hard work to digest, re-digest, re-re-digest oh and then comprehend. Yet, I freely abuse any rule of English.

    So, I have a LiveJournal too, and flickr to Photo Friday and back to LiveJournal– thinking ye ol’ LJ would still be around; I bought the permanent account that I now seldom update: not because I feel crappy/depressed/etc. (consequently rule 1 is not to fidget with facebook etc. when I do feel like that: I only feel worse.) English, be damned! Just killed another plant Wrote a nonsensical je parle francais to facebook Brushed teeth 4 u 2 C

    Well, I don’t know what I’m going to do anymore. It amazes me how peoples’ addict for twitter/facebook/instant behave, and how far down they look when they come across someone alienated. I was rejected by a guy on Grindr because I wanted to meet face-to-face at *$, yet didn’t want to send any pictures. My profile was current to 2 months, and I only had 1 face picture of me on it. Somehow, to him, he felt that was a warning since all phones have cameras. To him, it was inexcusable to not send pictures on demand! Here’s one of a cracked floor tile! So, a social network is anti-social full of spyware and Trojan adverts due to the invasion of the business majors. That’s a bit like insurance prior to 2008, now that I think about it.

    Speaking as a Computer Engineer, I simply don’t tie myself to one as all those somehow superior highschoolers of my past who now are. They feel tech-savy merely because they have a facebook (yearbook extension) account, or worse, an iDevice, yet have no idea how they work. And, I ain’t no DB Eye Tee. Tea?

  4. I hope you keep blogging, Becky, I really do. I know I am rubbish at keeping up with you, but I always know you’re there and I always do come back – after however long a hiatus.

    I have been so sorry to see so many people give up on, or drift away from LiveJournal and blogging in general. I have been keeping a blog for very nearly thirteen years now and have updated my LJ every day for the past ten months. The decreasing interaction gets so frustrating! As you know, my social life is all but dead at the moment, or, rather, LJ is my social life. I’m am so glad that you, too, keep the faith and keep on blogging, despite all of the demands on your time.

    Do look after yourself. I was sorry and concerned to hear that you are unwell. Perhaps you need some time out? RPM is a wonderful and noble cause, but you won’t be able to help those hounds if you’re burnt out.

    1. The wonderful people at RPM agree with you that I need to take care of myself. We’re working on ways to do that.

      I feel the same about your LJ–I’m so glad you’re still doing it. I love looking into your world so far away, seeing what you see through your photos, reading about your family and enjoying their old photos, and getting to view the life you’re creating in your lovely home. And of course, the dogs are a source of happiness, too. =)

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