THE CHALLENGES OF SOCIAL MEDIA
I'm restarting my old blog and it's like coming home after being away for so long. It feels familiar and yet strange at the same time. I haven't posted anything here since 2012. It was long abandoned for the allure of social media, and now 10 years later I'm back here where I started.
Why I am coming back to my old blog? I actually had the idea back in September. The biggest reason is fatigue from being on social media. On all social media platforms you are at the whims of their algorithms and their ever changing features that prioritize monetization over value. Instagram evolved from a place to share photos and images to place dominated by reels and advertising. Algorithms are constantly changed and adjusted. It feels like I have to do a song and dance just to be seen, and you're punished if you don't fall in line. It almost becomes a full time job just to maintain your social media presence. I don't like this feeling that I'm at the mercy of corporation.
That time, effort, and energy I can put into creating things for myself without having to worry if I will get penalized for not posting regularly, or posting enough content and reels. That also affects your mental wellbeing, which in turns affects how you make art.
More importantly I want to have control of my content, what I post, and how often I post. Social media platforms constantly change, sometimes for the worse. They grow, then decline in popularity and value. Throughout these constant changes I want to make sure I always have my own platform, and right now at this moment, a good ole fashion blog feels like the perfect solution. (I really do miss the days of blogs and RSS. More than ever I wish Google would bring back it's Reader app.)
It should be noted that given what's going on with Twitter right now many artist are leaving the platform. Some are going back to old platforms like Tumblr, others are moving to a newer open source social network called Mastodon. Some are even starting newsletters. Newsletters seem really appealing to me, but not at the moment. Maybe in 6 months I'll look into starting a newsletters of some kind through a platform like Substack or Ghost. A can envision a newsletter being a companion to my blog.
I also have a Tumblr account that I started a while back, but never got it setup. I think I'll post on there as well. I'll give Mastodon a try as well. I'll try to be where the community is. I don't plan on leaving social media.
So why come back to Blogger? I could easily setup a site with Squarespace or Wordpress. I have used those in the past, but with little success or satisfaction. While researching options I came upon the concept of digital gardens. A place where I can learn in public and build a second brain, but tailored toward artists! A place where I can revise and build upon ideas, and make connections with other ideas. That's the kind of website I want to build, something that is valuable to me and hopefully others. Ideally I would like to build my site from the ground up with HTML, CSS, and JS. I need to satisfy the nerd in me that loves tech. However I am just hobbyist with very limited knowledge so it will take some time to build that site. In the meantime I'm using Adobe's portfolio app to host my website, and I figure my old Blogger site can be a good starting point to blog and start creating the foundation for a digital garden.
I picked my old Blogger site because back then I had so many ideas and things I wanted to do. It's refreshing, and really cringeworthy at the same time to see my art and writing from back then. I'm glad I didn't give up on my art, especially since it feels like it took so long, and a lot of work to get to where I am. That's the process of being an artist. You're always learning, growing, and moving forward. What I did neglect is my writing. I didn't put that much effort into practicing my storytelling skills, and for someone that wants to be a picture book writer and illustrator it's a missed opportunity.
Reviving this old Blogger account is the path of least resistance. It's already setup and ready to go. The goal is to build up the practice of writing, making art, and storytelling on a regular basis. And why not Blogger!? It's been here for so long, and it seems like one of the things that Google hasn't killed off yet. Actually some improvements have been made since I last used it. I definitely plan to stick with it for at least year and see where I go from there.
PLANTING THE SEEDS FOR A DIGITAL GARDEN
This is temporary, and I understand Blogger is a limited platform and far from the best option to have a digital garden. This is just a starting point. I'll practice and learn the skills I need to build my own site, but in the meantime I'll do my best to make this place my little budding digital garden for my art, the process of making art, the tools of making art, as well as the business of being an artist. I'll write about my favorite topics in illustration, comics, art, and design. I'll also write about mindset and mental wellbeing, something that has been very important to me for the past 5 years. Also, huge disclaimer, my writing isn't great and it'll be full of typos. Sometimes my brain can't see those errors, even as I read them over and over. (Is there a word for that?!) With practice I'll get better at it! Comments and critiques are always welcomed.
Here's to blogging and building a digital garden of creativity!