This is my perspective after being a photo-blogger for over ten years. This blog that you are reading is still on-going for that entire time, anther one is now a magazine and for another it’s busy supporting a SoCal photo group. Oh, I have also started and killed four blogs, but more about those at another time.
A brief background; blogs as a form of social media really started becoming the hot thing to do in early/mid-2000’s, especially for photographers, which is about the time I started this and a bunch of others blogs. About 2012 the interest in blogs began to wane as more and more folks started jumping onto the other newer social media options; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. as easier ways to see a lot of photographs. Blogs tended to have more written content and thus not lend itself to the quick read-and-swipe as the other social mediums. Getting to the blogs you wanted to read required more time as most were not easily accessible as Facebook/Instagram. Blogs were mostly designed as individual publications; so in the 2012’s a bunch of folks abandoned, closed down or started up-scaling their blogs to become an on-line magazine. There were very few “like’s” or comments posted in blogs in comparison to Facebook & Instagram; blogs were not quick to read for a reader who then quickly moved on to the next post. It became apparent that who were hiring photographers or looking for gallery artist were working their Faceback/Instagram feeds and they did not appear to be spending their time reading blogs.
So why start a blog now (or restart a dormant blog)? Due to the algorithm and other administrative tweaks by the Facebook/Instagram management, etc, folks now realize that they do not control your destiny, look or audience as you can with a blog. Many folks are now leaving Facebook/Instagram or are rarely reading it (I rarely look at my entire feed for either one). It appears to me that the content found on a (photo) blog is becoming more relevant again. There are things that are better situated on Facebook/Instagram and as you will note, I still use this other social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others to advertise what I write here and what we publish in our magazine. Staring a blog should be consider in the context of a total self-promotion plan and where to you want to place your emphasis? You might want to reconsider a blog as a central key-stone of your overall self-promotion plan.
Doing a quick check it appears that in general there are now more options to get started with a blog (free) and blogs in general are still growing; this blog you are reading is supported on WordPress, a pretty popular blog platform with a lot of options, and has about 175 million blogs (2015) being supported by just WordPress. That’s a big number. And a pretty large community to tap into.
One of the reason that a blog is great for me is what I write about today is searchable and found on the various internet search engines for years to come. A quick check of my analytics reminds me that the what I wrote about in 2009 is still being read today. That might be the bad news too; what you wrote about can come back to haunt you. In my case one of the reason’s I was blogging was to improve my writing skills. And my early typos and grammar mistakes are pretty bad (the upside for a blog versus print; if you find a mistake, you can correct it on the fly, so now my past writing with all the editing is actually beginning to look pretty good!)
One downside for being a blogger; unlike a quick upload and caption on Facebook/Instagram blogs will require more of your time to develop, support and keep relevant. So keep that aspect in mind as you consider blogging. The upside; you can get into more depth and relevancy on a given subject with a blog.
I believe that blogs are an ideal personal medium to expand on an idea, concept, theme or campaign for (social) change. I use this blog to explore the concepts for my various artistic projects. Probably as much for myself as anyone else; I really do need to think about what I write as potentially the entire world will soon read.
For most of you blogs will not be a pathway to fame and glory, but it can become a very nice way to stay in touch with your followers and become part of an overall self-promotion process. A blog may continue to grow and eventually expand to become a full fledged on-line magazine, such as what happen with my photobook blog. You might develop a niche to write about that has very general appeal and others soon want to join in and become part of your program. To be honest, it was not my plan for the photobook review blog to become a magazine, nevertheless it organically grew and then others started to help me and one day it was apparent it was a more than just a photo-book-blog. A magazine was born.
You may well have an idea for an eventual magazine and a blog is an ideal way to test the waters and find out if you can attract and grow an audience. I can see that now in hindsight, but that’s because a lot of today’s photographic magazines started as individual blogs and about 2012 folks started to convert these from an individual run blog to a group of contributors that (re)launched themselves as a magazine. Similar to what self-publishing books is today versus the few options in 2005.
So perhaps what was once “old” (yeah in our current tech-world, ten years ago might be considered the stone-ages) is making a relevant comeback.
Hopefully apparent with my (expired film) photograph posted above from my Memory Pods project, as a photo-blogger I can create a win-win situation; share my experiences while showing art work from my photographic projects that might just get me the next book or exhibition. Hmmmmm, maybe fame and fortune is still attainable after all?
Cheers & don’t forget to leave a comment
Douglas Stockdale; blogger since 2008, here as well as, Editor & Publisher PhotoBook Journal, the contemporary photobook magazine (formerly The PhotoBook blog) and associate editor, SoCal PhotoExchange Journal (formerly PhotoExchange blog)
Exhibition: 2019 Summer Group Show, Fabrik Projects Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, exhibition opening August 3rd, 6 – 9pm, 2019
Featured photograph, above: Chaos (Memory Pods), 2019 by Douglas Stockdale (expired 120 film)
Good stuff, Douglas. Appreciate hearing this. I’ve always thought that social media platforms will come and go, bringing your content with it. Which is something nobody can control, but your website/blog is totally different. That is never going anywhere. A blog can be a permanent journal of your imagery/thoughts and what you’ve been working on. A place where people can always go back to if they are curious to see what you’ve been up to.
Rob, thanks. At this time a blog will really only go away if the blogger decides that they no longer want it hanging around. A decision by the creator (unless the likes of WordPress or Thumblr fold and go out of business). I know of a number of photo-bloggers who have stopped adding new content about 2012 and they allowed their blogs to go dormant, but still searchable on-line. Nevertheless a decision by the blogger, not someone else.