The last 12 months have seen quite a few changes in the way in which I communicate and action the visibility and style of communication for my various projects*. I’m speaking primarily of my online projects. When I reflect on that realisation it seems to me that more and more of what we do is digital in both creation and consumption. Feels perhaps like we’re getting ever closer to the non tangible world of dreams but in our waking lives. I like it. And there are countless folks developing tech to make the transition seamless. WordPress are one of them. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years and you reside outside this so called western world, then you’ll realise its becoming more and more difficult to separate the two. Visibility and commerce. Our kids want ‘likes’ and they’ll all soon discover that likes can be bought.** A few of them will go on to discover that the only reason likes, hits, hearts and up-votes were ever invented was a means to a commercial end. Baby chino anyone? Having tried to keep clear of business related matters on my personal blog with good reason, there is a justifiable segue from the former regarding syndication and subsequent proliferation to a hopefully less than dull piece of modern prose that is not a cynical rant. Hang in there.
I started blogging because it felt like a natural growth and transition from diary writing which I’ve done and continued to do to even post Back Page, since I was at least 14 or maybe younger. I started a novel when I was 16 which I tore up and threw away. Probably a good thing. I talked about clouds in the first paragraph… What’s most precious about this memory was that it was typed on an old suitcase typewriter my mother gave me on B4 sized paper my father gave me. The machine was later sold at one of her infamous garage sales. I now call them diaries and they are mainly arguments in a higher voice of reason. Dissatisfaction I find is a wonderful motivator and once I took control of my disdain I was able to channel it into action in my early twenties. Music, art, business and children (in no particular order). I’m now 35 and I’m from a generation that may have been the last to have first typed on a typewriter. That is fucking cool. Of course being a designer and having a passion for the retartedly cliché, I have a couple of old typewriters around so my kids do at least know what these wonderful machines are. I also have a feeling that machines like this will make a comeback. Cassettes too. I digress…
The first round of blogging coincided with big changes in my online world and a bunch of new web sites going up.*** WordPress played a very big hand. Work and business (which funds everything I do), music (which more or less keeps me sane), and the various grey areas between the two which I won’t go into now but include a band, a label and a recording studio all had a part to play. It was honest, gratifying and no one read any of it. I did however push my understanding of blogging and how to get a blog to trend which awakened the capitalist beast within. So how do you get it to work? Send me your email address so I can spam you about SEO. I’m kidding. Please don’t email me! Again, so how do you get it to work? Once I was able to answer that the algorithm quickly shifted as I realised you only get out what you put in and why put in for a blog that reviews the best 3 Korean films I saw this year or has an odd unfinished poem about a backside? The Believer will not publish me and I think I only have one follower on the blog. The obvious answer for me was to direct traffic to the source that will indeed reap the most financial reward. And that is what I have done for the last 2 years. I’ve done it for myself and I now do it for clients as well and I’m very good at it. Mind you the adage still applies. You Only Get Out What You Put In. YOGOWYPI. Sounds Aboriginal. Might put it on a t-shirt.
As soon as every post and every link is only about one thing, the motivation behind the work changes entirely. There are even systems designed to automate the process. At a price of course. Wading this murk for 12 months before I even realised it was murk was very interesting. I’m shrewd enough and I know how to delegate but I’m also a fierce creator so it wasn’t long before I picked up the old A4 Windsor & Newtown visual diaries and started writing with a Bic again. There is a certain freedom that I realised was missing from the blogging only after I returned to the A4 + Bic format. I unconsciously censor my online work while no such boundary exists in my diaries. These books, no one has ever read and probably won’t until after I’m dead. There are about 3000 pages in total with at least a couple of hundred words on each. I recently split them into topics and categories based on my current projects which suits me very well. It feels like less is being written and I walk around with six diaries under my arm but I like the new format. The tone and motivation is the same.
And so here I was again. Written diaries in one hand and useless online material served up for one purpose only on the other. The things is, there’s some pretty good stuff in some of these diaries. Some might even be worth sharing. I hit a wall and realised the intent behind the action was no longer pure but it would take me another year to come to the conclusion that I had to either stop or balance it out in some other booze fueled way. Balance is a tricky word and it has many connotations but its real and we feel it in every facet of our lives. The balance I was trying to strike was a commercial one with some very creative implications. Or was it a creative one with commercial loss and gain at stake? I couldn’t tell anymore and if you bullshit yourself for long enough you do actually start to believe it. We have safeguards but I’ll leave that controversy for another time. I’m healthy now and have been for ages.
So anyway, I’m blogging again and the simple answer lies in a revelation regarding what I have in the past called the complete artwork. I know a few people that are completely convinced that anyone who’s made it has lied, cheated and possibly fucked their way to the top. Funny but maybe the truth really does get you further.
**If you didn’t know this don’t worry. But let the lesson be not to get too caught up in how many likes or followers any one has.
***See point *