Thursday, 26 April 2012

the problem with blogging

well, not just blogging in particular. I mean more specifically microblogging: the stuff like facebook, twitter and tumblr that makes it easy and accessible to share pictures, thoughts and, "neat stuff I found on the internet".

I use both tumblr and facebook to stick my artwork on it and lately I have been having some thoughts. They don't make me necessarilly uneasy but they have made me fundamentally question my working practice.

Within my circle of art school peers and teachers, most people will readily accept that internet presence is a good thing: helpful for keeping a record of your work, displaying it to potential employers, expanding your audience and very hopefully meeting like minded individuals. And if you can do it cross platform (by using more than one social networking site), even better! It's just expanding your chances of the aforementioned good things occurring.

but I wonder, I wonder...

don't get me wrong, I think putting your stuff online is a must do and really good for you in these digital times (especially when you're doing digital artwork and have no physical master copy) and beneficial in a lot of ways. I am also mindful that what I am about to write about is not necessarilly relevant to anyone apart from me and certainly don't put down the idea of using the internet to its fullest capabilities, if you feel that's what works for you.

what I question is the rewards based system that accompanies sites like facebook and tumblr: the effective, "like" and "share" hierarchy that exists. I am victim to feeling proud when something I have posted on tumblr receives a lot of notes. the thing is, that more often than not these notes are meaningless to me.

how much validation is it if somebody who reblogs tens of pictures an hour reblogs yours? particularly if it's only done to impress others? why do you need validation?

this then of course leads to the inevitable question of whether I am indeed drawing and uploading content for the sheer joy of it anymore, or whether part of it is to do with keeping up appearances. ("but what about my audience? they'll miss me! or worse, they'll think I'm lazy...")

not that I'm implying that I think this every time I upload something, but the little thrill one feels when a note pops up saying, "so and so has liked this" does make me wonder.

it filters into normal life as well, particularly via facebook. How often do we post a picture, a status with the knowledge that it will get a lot of, well... 'likes'? Sure, it's not in the forefront of our minds but the idea is definitely there. And what does a, 'like' even mean?
Well, I suppose it means somebody likes what we do. But why do we need that? And isn't the clicking of a button on a website a very hollow validation? Certainly moreso than leaving comments; even then, on websites where comments are the only way you can express an opinion through comments (youtube I'm looking at you) they often just say, "cool" with little more added.

my main, personal problem with this is that it really reduces the human experience (I'm not talking about social networking as a whole: I think it's useful and an incredible lifeline to a lot of people, notwithstanding the wonders of being able to talk to people across the world! my problem is with the, "like and share" culture that accompanies it)

isn't a pat on the shoulder and a, "good job!" much better. or even no words at all, just wry smiles. a proud feeling in a room where your work might be on display even if nobody is directly saying anything about it?

I just wonder, that's all.

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