I don’t blog as much as I’d like to, but I’ve done it off and on since 1997. Why is that?
Jeff Hilimire, President of Engauge (the awesome agency where I work) posted a call to others to explain why they blog and so I started to write a comment on his post and found myself writing a pretty long stream of thought on the whole thing (I have a tendency to do that). So instead of bludgeoning his post with my own lengthy article, I decided I’d better post it here.
You asked for it Jeff. Here you go:
The short answer: I have a social personality and I like to engage others to share thoughts and explore ideas. I crave it. You might say social interaction is my drug of choice. Even without the interaction or feedback, just the act of personal expression is greatly satisfying to me. You might say everyone has this to some degree, but I even write (or create photographs) sometimes purely just to entertain myself.
I guess this is why I’ve blogged here and there:
- A creative outlet, a way to express myself (thoughts, ideas, whatever)
- I like to share
- I find it personally entertaining
- The bonus is that sometimes it rewards me with social interaction.
- The fact I like playing with technology might be considered a reason as well.
The long answer (and history): Soooooo… get ready for T.M.I.
Year 1997: GeoCities. The very first blog I did was before the term “blog” was coined, I believe. My GeoCities site was sort of like a blog I guess. At the time, it was revolutionary in the fact that it gave people an easy ability to have their own space online to do with whatever html would allow at the time. To me, it kinda felt a little like what it must have felt way back for someone to get their hands on a printing press. It gave me a creative outlet to share a piece of me with anyone interested as far as around the globe, so long as they had an Internet connection. I was interested in the concept and I potentially had lot’s to say, but being a twenty-something guy at the time, my social efforts seemed a little more rewarding in downtown Atlanta. My first “blog” was abandoned for real social environments. ;)
Year 1998: TheGlobe.com might possibly be the first social network that got a lot of press as such. It was new and all the press revived my interest so I did a whole repeat of my GeoCities experiment and built a new “blog” on there with the same ideas and feelings. Once again, I strayed. Back then, the closest thing to having a multi-way conversation was to comment in a guest book and it failed to match up to how people stream conversations and lacked mechanisms to promote sharing – so it wasn’t very engaging or viral. So once again, that died on the vine since it couldn’t compete with a conversation over a vodka gimlet at the Leopard Lounge.
Year 2004: MySpace Blog. My blog on MySpace was the first one I actively kept up with. My reasons and drive for doing it were still the same: share my random thoughts and now also samples of my photography. Only this time around, there was finally some socially activating technology that allowed for easy and natural sharing of my content and I was getting far more engagment from people as far away as Japan without really doing anything other than just posting stuff. MySpace automated the sharing and discovery to a level that finally surpassed my social capabilities in real world environments – and that was amazing, engaging and addicting. I blogged a couple of times a week and had several thousand readers a week – many of which I then met out and about downtown. However… at the time, MySpace was still a novel thing, generally viewed as a juevenile Internet entertainment distraction from the business community, so I kept playing with it in that “box” until pretty much everyone migrated to Facebook.
Through to 2010: Facebook blog? Nada. Wishing for a Facebook blog outlet, but Facebook never really adopted a good blogging component – the Notes thing doesn’t cut it. I think I was still in the mindset that my blog needed to be socially empowered. Without that integration, it’s lackluster to me. So my MySpace blog died with MySpace. By the time Facebook share buttons and Open Graph protocol bridged this gap, I was long since distracted from blogging articles to simply posting status updates and photos. Dumbed down to some form of Facebook fast serve, micro engagments that has rewired us all some sort of digitally induced, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder… hold on… just got a tweet msg on my phone… So I just posted pretty photos from my various photography endeavors, which always got plenty of attention.
On a sidenote, I did do a short stint as a podcast host for a companion show to my TV show pilot (photography oriented). It was interesting, but all the production that was involved was an enormous amount of work and it was very specific to the promotion of the TV show. Even though it got “New and Noteworthy” by iTunes, we canned the podcast because the ROI didn’t make a lot of sense.
January, 2011: TonyKinard.net. And so it begins… another contrived blog? After a bit of a hiatus from my career as a digital marketing professional (while I played on the beach and enjoyed my other business as a commerical photographer), I was back in the agency business, excited as ever about the industry. With all that excitement, my drive to share my thoughts and ideas outside of just pretty photos in a portfolio, fueled by my dissatisfaction with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to provide me with a platform to satisfy this need, lead me to finally create yet another blog… only this time a full-fledged, self-hosted WordPress blog, to play with and evolve to suit my current blogging whims as they come about here and there.
Will this one last? Will it become anything other than mindless dribble? I make no promises. Odds are, it will evolve along with the trends or give way to something new sooner or later. Probably some other creative form of personal broadcasting and interaction. Maybe everyone will have their own variety show video podcast that somehow evolves from social media type engagement style technology. Hmmm….