Recently I talked about publishing every 36 hours and the pros and cons of doing so.
Some of the conversations sparked off other ideas along this topic I thought were worth exploring more.
Specifically, how blogs are still compared to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and considered perhaps outdated or past their usefulness. Some might even feel blogging is “dead”.
The trouble is, as I see it, blogs are a quite different publishing platform. And the ones I’m involved with as a writer and a reader are very much alive.
Social media is increasingly about a constant stream of posts and updates, small bite size chunks.
An analogy might be going about the day with a packet of crisps in one pocket and a bar of chocolate in the other, alternately throwing a handful of one or the other onto your mouth every few minutes.
In my experience, the response and interaction level on social media is similar too – rapid but somewhat at the surface. It feels like stepping into a body of water expecting it to be immersed in a lake, and realising with a jarring thud, it’s just a puddle.
Furthermore, social media is so entangled in advertising, something I generally avoid and can’t bear.
It’s infiltrated into older forms of media and advertising too.
You can’t watch many TV shows it seems without a hashtag appearing repeatedly at the foot of the screen, encouraging you to, rather than actually sit and watch and enjoy the programme, hit social media to talk about it instead.
The TV shows generate more conversation around them on social media, which builds up their perceived value and importance, and more people watch.
More people watching the shows means more people watching the ads in between, and more products that we don’t need get sold, the consumer cycle ever amplified.
Blogs – at least the ones I follow and the one I write here – are very different.
To me, a blog is the personal online residence of an individual, where they share their thoughts, ideas, experiences and creative output with the world.
It’s similar perhaps to having a public, but still low key, community cafe where liked minded people can hang out and discuss their passions and adventures with you.
The blogger provides the relaxing venue and the warm welcome, and you come along with your own valuable ideas and experiences to add to the tribe.
The pace with blogs is generally slow and contemplative. Even my publishing rate of a new post every 36 hours is massively slower than how some social media updates every 36 minutes, even every 36 seconds.
No fast food thrown into hungry mouths here, it’s far more like sitting down and savouring a delicious meal, cooked with love and fine ingredients, with people who’s company you enjoy, and you feel you’re getting to know.
There are no ads invading the experience (at least not here on 35hunter or on the majority of my favourite blogs), interrupting that timeless experience of immersing yourself in another’s words and images.
Another, frankly quite disturbing, point about social media is the way its pace and fleeting nature is damaging our ability to focus on and enjoy anything for longer than a few seconds.
Perhaps 25 years ago one might buy a photography book, or borrow one from the library, and unhurriedly spend a few hours or more browsing the photographs within, taking in every last detail.
The modern equivalent of browsing photos on social media is quite the reverse.
Instead of taking even five or 10 minutes to peruse just one photo, we’re swiping through 10 or 15 photos in one minute – sometimes perhaps even 10 times this, each image barely settling on our retinas before we dismissively swipe on to the next one.
Which means, with such shortening attention spans, when it comes to reading blog post of only a few hundred words, it feels like approaching some epic classic novel.
Where will it end? In five years time will we not even read a full Twitter post because it’s too long?
Actually, in some ways, I’m pleased about all the social media there is now.
It helps me appreciate the contrasting gentler pace and deeper conversation of blogs all the more.
And it’s strongly influenced how I’ve tried to shape 35hunter as a calm quiet space for us to get together and converse about lives and experiences as photographers, amidst the chaotic hyper-connected rush of the 21st century.
Social media is adding to this clutter and clamour. Blogs provide a much needed respite and retreat from it.
So how about you? What do you like about the blogs you read?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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