Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why I haven't been blogging

Firstly, note that this is not an apology for letting the blog sit dormant. I'm not sorry that my life is rich with the giggling, chattering, demanding life of a 10-months-and-one-day-old boy. I'm not sorry that my housekeeping (or houseneglecting) is more in demand now that the wee one is inspecting on hands and knees what I can usually ignore from 5+ feet of distance. I'm not sorry that what small amount of me-time I can eek out is spent knitting and petting my dog rather than blogging. All of that said, I do hear the voice in my head reminding me that I started a blog for a reason, and that same voice nags me to write in my journal (also neglected), and the journal I keep for my son (somewhat neglected) - all things I want to spend some energy maintaining. So I've been thinking about what gets between the thoughts in my head and a blog post.

*The Nitty Gritty*
There are six simple steps to blogging:
1. Thinking about the post
2. Writing the post
3. Taking relevent photos
4. Moving said photos from camera to computer
5. Moving said photos from computer to FLICKR
6. Inserting said photos from FLICKR into blog post.

I spend a decent amount of time doing step 1 as this is pretty location-independent step. (i.e. as I'm driving to/from work, in the shower, in the darkroom waiting for film to develop)

Step two doesn't take much time when I've given the entry proper thought - a few minutes in front of the computer, tops. Maybe a few iterations of step 1 - step 2 - think about it some more (step 1a) - rewrite (step 2a).

Step three is where things start to get hung up. My camera doesn't work well with flash, so photos must be taken outside, during daylight hours (that eliminates 5 days a week for me). Photos need to be taken when a little one is distracted lest he grab/maul/eat the object being photographed. I'd prefer to take photos in a mildly interesting setting, which requires thought and placement. And frankly? I feel silly taking photos of knitting, so this eliminates several other moments of opportunity.

Step four doesn't seem hard, but how many of you have a full memory card in your camera? Yea, exactly.

Step five is a limitation based on which computer the photos from step 4 were moved to. And if the photos need any modification (sizing, color balance, etc) this makes this step rather time consuming. I'm not good at using Photoshop, but I appreciate the difference with even the smallest attention to detail. My available time for this is roughly between 10 and 11pm, time usually reserved for things that often take precedence (sleep, cleaning the kitchen, reminding my husband I know who he is, etc.)

Step six is a snap...when I make it this far.

That said, I get really bored reading long posts that aren't at least broken up by photos, thus I hate the idea of writing really long posts that aren't at least broken up by photos, thus I have a lot of posts stuck in step two waiting, waiting, waiting for the camera to start taking/uploading/editing photos by itself. Since that isn't going to happen, I come back to the reason for starting a blog in the first place.

*Who Cares?*
I don't expect a wide audience, I don't even expect the people who care about the thoughts in my head (my mother and maybe one or two far-flung friends) to be regular readers. But the medium of blogging is different from journal writing. My journal is a place to work out the thoughts I get hung up on, the thoughts that are ill-formed and may be hurtful if shared with the wrong people, the darkest of the thoughts in my head. These things are private, but helpful to work through with the aid of a pen and paper. Also helpful to look back on months or years later to observe growth, places that should have grown, and so on. A blog, by contrast, is a public space, a place to share things that are open for comment. [as an aside, many bloggers (in my opinion) confuse the spaces and share publicly what I'd certainly keep private. Others share things that they then demand no one comment on (?!). But in this world with employers who reject candidates based on what they might have written in a blog or on Myspace/friendster/facebook, thought must be given to what is thrown to the blogosphere.]

Whether we mean to or not, we all have a cyber-personality, and it is up to us to control it. Whether or not we have constructed our Myspace/friendster/facebook/blogger profiles, whether we have made purchases on the internet, whether we have ever done a Google search, our cyber-personality exists. Even someone who has never used the internet or signed up for a free email account has a cyber-personality - their mailing address and phone number, even other personal information can be found online.

I think I'm going to lift my self-imposed restriction on blogging without photos. I may go back and insert photos where I can, though I do apologize for the long boring stretches of text. I'll do my best to come up with interesting ways to break it up without creating more hurdles for myself. I'm trying to craft my own cyber-personality, in hopes that it may one day reflects the many facets of who I am.