Sunday, February 25, 2007

Thoughts on blogging

I started this blog eight months ago, and it’s been fun watching it evolve. It really does feel like a living organism. Every day, even though I’m nominally in control of it, I’m never sure what it’s going to do.

Some days I get a surprise, like when a cool blog called the Gowanus Lounge recently linked to some of my Brooklyn photos, driving up the ol’ site traffic to an all-time high. More than 40 visitors in a day! Woo hoo! (My expectations are not grandiose...)

Some days I surprise myself with what I decide to write. And that can work both ways- some days, what I write makes me cringe.

I’m learning not to try to control the blog too much. My least successful posts, I think, are those that have been so tightly edited and pruned back that they can’t just unwind naturally. They have no air.

When I started this blog, I intended it to be very minimalist, and all about the photos. I didn’t want to write much. I figured, “Who would care about my life?”

But I think I misunderstood the appeal of blogs. If someone’s reading your blog, they WANT to know about you. They want to get a sense of your life and your outlook. That doesn’t mean I’m going to go nuts on writing - judicious editing is always a good thing. But I’m going to try to hold less back, maybe be a little less formal.

Still, I was trained as a journalist, and the matter-of-fact tone in my writing stems from that training. I was taught not to embellish or use too much voice. Just the facts, ma’am.

Speaking of journalism, you may have noticed that I haven’t ventured into politics. Well, that’s because I still work as a journalist, and a cardinal rule of my trade is that we don’t publicly discuss our political outlook. You can debate the wisdom of this high and low, but the feeling is that revealing our personal perspectives may create perceptions of bias in our journalism.

That’s also why I never mention the name of my employer. (Not that it would be all that hard to figure out, for anyone who’s determined.)

My site meter, which counts visitors to the blog, is both a blessing and a curse. It’s fun to see how many people have checked in, and what kind of crazy Google searches have led people here. But it can be dispiriting to check it at 6 p.m. and find you’ve had seven visitors all day.

I’ve considered taking the meter down. I haven’t done it yet, but really, I would write this even if no one stopped by. I’ve kept a journal for years and years, and this is just an online extension of that longtime practice. That’s why I’m so diligent about posting every day - I’m used to it.

The photography has been all I hoped it would be. It’s got me noticing things, paying attention, trying new stuff all the time. And I enjoy exploring the intersection of my photos, my Zen practice and my love of New York City, which I continue to see as my three dominant themes.

So, that’s where I stand on blogging. I have no plans to stop. Stick around!

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