Landscape changes?

28 11 2012

I’ve noticed some changes to the internet landscape for makers over the last few years. I’m not sure if they’re positive or neutral or just evolution in progress …

With respect to blog, in the last year or two I’ve noticed:

  • fewer blogs are being created
  • many blogs are being abandoned
  • many blogs that are still ‘active’ are being updated less often
  • fewer people commenting or participating in discussions on active blogs
  • some blogs don’t even allow comments any more (this may be a platform change?)
  • I’ve even noticed some gallery blogs are being updated less regularly

Further, there seems to be fewer people creating or updating their own websites. Of course there are exceptions, I’m making observations on a trend not individual sites/blogs – there are still some magnificent blogs and sites out there!

With respect to other outlets, I’ve noticed an increased use of facebook, tumblr, pinterest and instagram.

The result, to my mind, is more of a ‘presentation’ than creating space for an ‘interaction’. Not everyone wants an interaction, that’s understandable; though it’s a shame that less content is being created in these newly popular platforms, they’re image-heavy though not very text-rich.

Less text also means that it’s less likely an interested person will be able to find pages through search engines (as in my recent experience of attempting to find links for exhibiting students), which rely on words not images.

With less text and information, I feel I know less about the making, the ideation, the intent. I’m not saying that it’s necessary and everyone should share this aspect of their making – but when it is shared, it does make a significant difference to how I can relate to art.

I’ve been wondering if people in general are less interested in sharing the detail now, and snapshot images are sufficient. Interestingly, are we becoming less self-indulgent and no longer finding it necessary to talk about ourselves in blogs?

What are your thoughts?

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Update [28th November]: there have been some great comments and discussion – please do have a peep and perhaps contribute your thoughts

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19 responses

28 11 2012
Sylvia

Hi Karen.
I am one of the graduating NMIT students. Until two years ago, I did have a blog. I stopped blogging as I didn’t have the time necessary to continually add posts.
I also got to the point where I felt I was writing for a few and questioned who really was interested in what I was doing – a time of much self doubt. I purchased a domain for a future website and had it for two years and did nothing with it. Again, time was the issue as well as questioning how I wanted to present myself and my work. Guess I was still finding my niche in the manufacturing process.
Completing the Advanced Diploma has given me confidence, although it vacillates (the bane of many artists I am sure) and I am considering my web presence as a promotional tool. I started my Facebook Page as it seems many businesses are using this approach to advertise and it is cost free.
I am in a quandary as to what avenue to pursue – blog, Facebook or website. I am not really happy with Facebook as a marketing tool for myself, although I can’t give an in-depth explanation as to why. I find it is easier to add a pic with one or two lines of text, than write an engaging discourse about a topic of interest. Facebook may reach a wider audience, as it goes viral more easily than a blog post.
I believe for many, once on Facebook to check up on friends’ timelines, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to check out business pages, with little effort. In comparison, it’s more of a trawl to discover blogs by viewing blog authors’ reading lists, in the Blog side bar.
The time factor is a big issue. I can lose time easily Blog hopping, whereas I skim Facebook entries quickly (less text).
Whichever way one decides to post on the web, the issue of copyright is a big factor too. Giving too much detail allows for unscrupulous artisans to expropriate the work of others.
Much food for thought in your post. Thanks for opening the discussion.

28 11 2012
Karen

Hi Sylvia
Thank you so much for your amazing comment!
I completely understand the time issue, I have that myself and I’m sure most bloggers feel it too.
You make great points about Facebook, finding new blogs and deciding which platform is best for your own path … urgh, and copyright is a huge issue, with so many internet users feeling free to appropriate as they wish without care.
I’ve also found myself in such thought processes about my own blog and its direction.
Again, thank you so much for your thoughtful contribution 🙂
Karen

28 11 2012
Sylvia

You are welcome.

28 11 2012
carol gregory

Hi Karen,

I followed Sylvia here via FB, so that obviously works for me. I’ve never really been interested in setting up a blog, cant think anyone would be that interested in what I’d write and I don’t look at many other peoples blogs. I’m pretty active on FB, though less than 2 years ago but it is good to share with distant friends. I have a website but I mainly use it to promote my metal clay workshops, where I also include pics of my own and students work. It’s a weebly site so incredibly easy to update and I do try to keep it current, though not so much with photos, but the actual text.

I agree that many website are started and left, nothing worse than a website which is still showing events for 2 years ago!

Like many other creative people I love the making and hate the promoting/selling.

I have also got some pinterest boards and this seems to be the growing place, whilst not much by way of commentary, when I’m looking on there I often go to particular websites.

Biggest problem with all is deciding how much of the time spent is productive, on which note better get up and into the studio

thanks for this

Carol

28 11 2012
Karen

Hi Carol
Thank you so much!
I agree with the dislike of promoting oneself – it’s a tricky one though, as an internet search is likely to be the first thing a potential customer or stockist would do.
A website platform that’s easy to use yourself is a super idea – easy to update and no spending money on a ‘designer’; I’ve heard awful stories of people being essentially unable to update their own sites because the designer has made it tricky etc. An out-of-date website is not a good look at all!
The downside of a maker not having any self-created web-presence (or an outdated one) is that others create an online profile for them – in that the only results of a search is what others have written about you.
I haven’t got into pinterest yet … perhaps it’s worth a look…
Thank you again!
Karen

28 11 2012
Vetti

I’m wondering if there is a publicity/promotion component in degree courses for makers – how to write a proposal/plan a show/photograph your work/basic PR/using social media to build your business etc. If not, why not?

28 11 2012
Karen

Hey Vetti!
I did my degree a while ago now, and there wasn’t any component like this.
I think there was a component encouraging blogging a year or two ago, as I noticed a flare up on start-up blogs in response to class requirements; though many of these didn’t continue after that.
I’m not sure if there are such components in any current courses?
I’d expect the main limitation to be funding … I believe there are even reductions in the main learning classes 😦
Further though, universities are traditionally slow to respond to rapidly changing technology…
Interesting …
K

28 11 2012
Sylvia

In the NMIT Advanced Diploma course , a component of the business subject was self promotion using various options.

28 11 2012
Karen

that’s fantastic!

28 11 2012
Vetti

Thanks Karen,

A lot to consider, but I feel much can and should be done in this area…

28 11 2012
Karen

Oh, I do agree with you … though wonder how best it can be done within in the institutions???
One thing that RMIT didn’t do as well as it seems NMIT does is the preparation for ‘real life’ – while we were told which grant bodies were available (and had to prepare a grant application for assessment) and that we should get advice about taxation, we weren’t given any advice about how to price our work or marketing presence or setting up a business or the like. This wasn’t promised as part of the degree, so they weren’t under-delivering as such, but a qualification with this included would be useful!

28 11 2012
Catherine Witherell

Very concise, interesting and true. I wrote a blog for 6 years and it was really fun and I had quite a nice following and I got to the same point where I didn’t have time, was evolving in my art in such a way that I wasn’t doing the same things and just wasn’t interested in searching out and reading blogs either any more. My last post was January 5th of this year at the end of a year long project and it seemed a good place to stop.

The blog gave me a lot of confidence, brought me great opportunities and I now have a long record of what I did and made in those years. The fanmail from other artists seemed to be what I really needed to keep moving forward at the time and I also opened an online shop to sell my work.

In that last year or two when I wasn’t posting as much, online classes and video tutorials were becoming very popular and even though I had been an instructor at an art retreat for three years – another gift of the blog world – and I could make videos too, it didn’t get me very excited. I have been taking a much needed a rest and finding new directions to express myself and learning more of what gets me excited again and not always working to improve my stats or checking to see how popular my blog was. It had served it’s purpose for me.

Facebook can eat up a lot of time too so I limit most of my interaction to one whole day for a group I administer there and then check in for an hour in the mornings and a bit at night. It really depends on what your goals are as to which network you’re going to put your energy into.

28 11 2012
Karen

Hi Catherine
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, particularly sharing your own experience.
The blogging world has brought me many opportunities that wouldn’t have surfaced otherwise too, and for that reason I do love it! Though I agree that there is a point at which the blog ‘has done its work’ so to speak. I am regularly considering this with respect to my own and making sure it still satisfies my intent for it and that my intent is in fact still relevant to my hopes.
Perhaps this is the experience of many of those who have also left their blog (perhaps only for now).
For me the downside of Facebook, along with being a time-black-hole, is that the audience needs to also be a member to see the content (unless its open for public readership); I know its thought to be rare, but I do know many who are not on facebook.
Much to think about!
Thank you again for commenting.
Karen

28 11 2012
Sylvia

Karen, regarding membership, that’s true if one is trying to access a personal account. However if one creates a Page promoting business/activity/wares, it is public and membership is not required to view the Page. My Jewellery Page is public and membership is not required to view it. A box will pop up asking to log in or sign up, a viewer just needs to close the pop up box and the Page is still visible. That was the reason I created the Page. After creating my Jewellery Page, I discovered I should have opened a personal account first. Needless to say, one does not have to use the personal account to post at all, just post on the Created Business Page.

28 11 2012
Karen

Thanks Sylvia!
The interesting thing is that I had no problem finding your page through a search engine, though I didn’t have much luck finding all of the students’ facebook pages.
I think those that I couldn’t find (though have been subsequently told about) may not have used their full name in the page title – perhaps a tip for future, and while it may seem totally boring and non-creative to use your own name as the page title, I think it does certainly affect how search engines find things.
Though I would appreciate more knowledgeable SEO info if anyone knows for sure…

6 12 2012
La Leipsig

Hi Karen,
I find this a very interesting post as I just started new with blogging. So first of all, thank you! Ofcourse a big part for me will be marketing my work but I feel the underlying need to express myself through this medium. I have never seen myself as a writer but the more I write the more I unravel myself. Guess it is a kind of therapy!
In regard to Vetti’s question above, there is a free course available from a guy called Mark McGuinness it’s called “Pathfinder”. It totally focuses on creatives and it will equip you with essential skills to succeed in the 21st-century creative economy.
Helga

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