a small rant on blogging

I recently watched the movie Press,Pause,Play and I have to say it totally fired me up. There was a shortened clip of this interview with Christopher Weingarten which is essentially at 6:10 in this timeline. If you can’t get through the whole interview (which I hope you can), at least watch those last couple minutes.
At the risk of sounding like I walked uphill both ways in the snow, I completely identify with what Christopher is talking about here. He speaks the truth and although he’s talking about the music industry, he could have just as easily been talking about my little child and family photography industry. I think after this interview, I want to invite him over for dinner.
I was really late jumping on the blog bandwagon. I love being able to share new photos easily. What used to be something I did with html code on my old website became very simple to do on a WordPress blog. But then I tore into SEO (search engine optimization) and what I learned and am still learning is depressing. As it stands right now, Google doesn’t really consider images as content. Not yet, anyway. In order for me to maintain search ranking, I need to write “relevant” material and keep it current. I need to post boring titles like “Los Angeles family photographer” instead of creative titles. I’m supposed to link back to other websites as well along with a multitude of other tricks to get my website to pop to the top. And most importantly, I need traffic. This attempt to get traffic totally messes with my mojo. And in a sense, I’ve decided to opt out of some of the things I need to do to pump up my website. Don’t get me wrong. I want traffic. Of course I do. But there are certain things I just won’t do in order to get it. Here’s why.
Photography blogs are so often disingenuous. In a conversation with a friend recently, she used this word to describe the business of blogging and I can’t agree with her more. While there are some very beautifully written blogs out there by photographers, so much of it is disingenuous. In order to pop to the top, you need a heavy following and a lot of comments on your blog help. It’s too easy to say things like “organic is good”, “spanking is bad” blah blah blah. The blogosphere has turned into a culture of people constantly brushing each other’s egos with mutual comments and backlinks. It is true that if you catch me in person, I’m not afraid to share my opinion, I just would never be able to keep up writing quasi-contraversial content in order to stir up buzz on my blog. It feels very insincere to me It’s insincere and I just can’t do it.
Also, blogging, tweeting, and facebooking have turned into reality television. I hate reality television. And while I do update my status fairly frequently, there are just some places I’m not willing to go. Some things are straight up personal and private. Profiting from those things doesn’t sit well with me. Again, there are some wonderfully written blogs out there about people dealing with serious personal sh*t. These bloggers are brave and most likely helping their readers in many ways. I’m not talking about them. It’s the multitudes of bloggers who will disclose just about anything for no other reason than traffic, clicks, attention and ad space. To me it doesn’t matter if it’s a tragedy or a major personal breakthrough, somehow blogging about it to the world cheapens the experience and it grosses me out. So in case you’re wondering what I think….yes, if a tree falls in the forest it does make a sound. And just because you didn’t share it with the world doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Damn Kardashians
I strongly believe this is all a passing trend. Just like all of the over worked over photoshopped images out there, this movement in blogging is going to pass. Only the really honest, sincere well written blogs are going to last. Same goes for photographers. I think people are already getting overloaded with all of the photographers out there. Readers and potential clients are becoming more and more savvy. What used to pass for a great blog and great photography is going to fade away like any other fad. I agree with what Chris says here, many people are going to look back and be really embarrassed. I don’t want to be one of them.
I guess what I’m hoping for is that for those visiting my blog, none of this matters. I hope you don’t care about how I got through a difficult depression or how I feed my family healthy meals during the busy work week. I hope you don’t care when I gain or lose weight or what I did when I experienced that horrible side effect of Alli on my way to a shoot a couple of years ago (I promise you don’t want to know).
Please don’t get me wrong as I rant. I think this is an amazing time. Social media fascinates me and I would never go back. And it doesn’t matter what I think anyway. It’s here to stay. This is just the side of it I don’t care for. I’ll never check out from the social sites and I will continue to post and write about things I care about. Hopefully you will know it’s coming from a sincere place and it’s not some marketing scheme to up my blog rankings or win a popularity contest. What I want and what I have always wanted is for my images to speak for themselves. I want to try and nail the message home that documenting your family is a gift you’re giving to your much older self and to your grandchildren. Whether you’re hiring me or someone else, make your choice based on the quality of the work and not the hemp oil they poured on their cheerios this morning. For the love of God, not for the hemp oil.
Now, if you like what you read here, please share it with your friends and leave a comment. I think I’m going to need all the help I can get.