Waaaaaaaaay back in 2005 I created a LiveJournal blog in order to plan a holiday. It made it much easier for me, Paul and two friends living in another state and another country to coordinate. When the holiday started, I used it as a travel diary, then when I got back I changed the settings to ‘friends-only’ and used it as a diary-my-friends-could-read. (Later I started a separate craft blog so I could participate in craft swaps and web rings – gosh, remember web rings?)
I went through the process of friending lots of people followed by the guilt of un-friending the TMI posters, over-posters, meme/joke-addicted posters and people I, well, didn’t like in real life anyway. Most fellow LJers didn’t friends-lock their posts and I remember the frustration of the ‘What? You expect me to log in to read your posts?’ objection from them.
Now all those people are off in the evil You Know Where and I’m the one saying ‘What? You expect me to sign up in order to read your posts?’. Hardly any use LJ any more so I extracted myself from it to write here and get ‘What? You expect me to work out how to sign up to an RSS feed?’ objections instead, to which my response ‘At least you don’t have to sign up now’ falls on deaf ears.
Once Ravelry came along knitting blogs began vanished. Blogging in general seems to be a bit old hat. While I don’t measure the success of this blog by the number of comments or visitors. But it annoyed me to discover a few days ago that StatCounter no longer shows me who has been visiting, just how many of my images have wound up on Pinterest. (Either that, or suddenly all my regular visitors have stopped dropping by.)
Pinterest! What’s up with that? Micro-blogging? Hmm. I had a bit of a snoop and found some interesting articles about how Pinterest gets you to agree to only post content that you own, but the site just wouldn’t work if people weren’t downloading stuff from everywhere to pin on their page.
I was amused to see that this is, by far, the most-downloaded-to-Pinterest image from this blog:
Which came from a post about how I’d found a book on Fishpond about the technique and, thanks to Google Preview, the entire instructions were visible. Sure, it’s a simple technique and I would have worked it out just by looking at a basket made that way, or even a photo of a basket made that way, but I feel a bit guilty about it anyway because, rereading my post, it sounds a bit like I’m advocating consulting the instructions, not buying the book. Perhaps people are hearing about and buying the book anyway. I hope so.
But I digress…
It seems like at the beginning of social networking it was all about getting yourself Out There. Pretty soon the down side to that became obvious, and we started reconsidering exactly what we want to share or give away. Used to be the advice was to not put anything on the internet you wouldn’t shout out to a crowd containing your family, employer, corporations and the government. Now you shouldn’t put anything on the net that you mind someone else taking – and perhaps even claiming it was their own idea, as I’ve seen happen in the craft world.
Not that I’m saying I don’t want to share anything, but I’m realistic about what I put up here. After all, even if you don’t put something on the internet, you can’t be sure it won’t be ‘shared’ anyway, because someone else could post a photo or write about it.
So once again I’m questioning why I bother blogging at all. I consider all the aims I’ve had in blogging or putting up galleries of my artwork. Keep in contact with friends? Not once they moved elsewhere. Sell more art? Nope. Find a place in the craft community? Not really. Help other crafters? A little. When I achieved any of those, it was in a small way and/or didn’t last.
But I kept blogging because I enjoy it. It’s a fun way to keep records of what I’ve done, and to occasionally get something off my chest. It bothered me, though, that I may be spending more time blogging about art and craft than actually doing it. Maybe it’s not as beneficial as I thought. Maybe it’s a distraction, sucking away attention and time.
I started writing this post a few days ago. Then the company hosting this site called yesterday, trying to get me to renew nearly a year early. It made me realise something else: the domain name and hosting cost money, and though I can afford it there isn’t enough traffic to justify the fee when the main pay offs could be achieved other ways.
I can get things off my chest in my diary (which may be more therapeutic with less self-editing for public consumption). I can keep project records and to-do lists on my computer. Keeping the patterns and tutorial online is important, but I can put them on Ravelry.
I probably won’t shut up shop straight away, but I’m thinking it’s likely I will before the domain name comes up for renewal next January. In the meantime… I’m going to go check out Pinterest again. Perhaps micro-blogging is the way to go.