I was pleasantly surprised and honored yesterday when I discovered that my blog post on the Chinese New Year Celebration was “Freshly Pressed”. I’m kinda a new to this stuff and best I can tell Freshly Pressed (FP) is WordPress.com’s way of showcasing blogs on their site. To use the Flickr analogy, it seems similar being featured in “Explore”, though FP maybe a bit more exclusive. But for me, getting in the Freshly Pressed section seems more significant. Unlike the game of trying to make Flickr Explore, I really was not familiar with Freshly Pressed and was not trying to get “Pressed”. I decided to blog and keep posting stuff because of peer pressure, wanting to share my experiences and unexpectedly having fun. Peer pressure? Well I was never forced into blogging of course. It’s just that many of my photographer friends here in Austin have their own blogs. While I posted my photographs on Flickr, I really like the personalization and environment one can create in a personal blog. I made the analogy that posting on Flickr is like renting an apartment while creating your own blog is like owning your own house. Your apartment might be in a really nice neighborhood but the downside is you can’t customize the space. With a house, of course, you are free to make changes, paint it and generally make it your own, unless you live in one of those really restrictive neighborhoods. So it is with this sense of “creating my own space” and friendly peer influence that I decided to create this blog on WordPress.com about a year and a half ago. I don’t think I write particularly well or at least I never considered myself to be a writer. My first posts where short and it took me forever to craft them. But what I discovered along the way was that writing, like other things in life, is a skill that gets easier with practice. I’m not sure if I write any better but now at least I can do it a lot quicker. I’ve discovered that I’ve started to enjoying writing. I also enjoy helping people and getting my thoughts out here. There is a lot of change and turmoil in the world particularly with the rapid improvement in digital technologies and world-wide communications. Whole industries are being transformed and destroyed. But the fact remains that for me and individuals, this is an amazing time. Never before has an individual been able to publish their thoughts, artwork and opinions to a world-wide audience for such a low-cost.
I’ve also been able to make new virtual and physical friends around the world through this blog. Kirk Tuck, a local Austin commercial photographer, is one such friend. I have mentioned him from time to time. He has also been nice enough to point his readers to my little blog. Our blogging relationship is completely asymmetric. Kirk’s The Visual Science Lab blog is extremely popular. It’s a bit hard for me to comprehend how many visitors he gets. I once saw his stats, his visitors per minute graphs is larger than my visitors by week graph. I know readership is not necessarily the most important measure of a blog and I’m proud of what I built here but damn it amazing to see how the other half lives. Kind of like watching the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in the blogging world. Here are some interesting observations about blog volume. The “hit” I got when Kirk’s mentioned my blog was a lot larger than being Freshly Pressed. This surprised me a bit. Kind of shows the power of what a targeted recommendation from a popular blogger can do. However, equally interesting is that the viewers that came to my blog from the two sources behave differently. A link from The Visual Science Blog created a very pronounced short-term volume spike but very few people subscribed to my blog or even clicked Like on the post. The Freshly Pressed audience, on the other had, have left more comments, clicked Like a heck of a lot more and greater numbers have subscribed to my blog. It’s almost like Kirk’s blog audience is his audience, only a few people cross over, even though we both talk about photography.
Now, I think I’m realistic enough to know that being Freshly Pressed is a short-lived bit of recognition. My 15 minutes of fame in a small corner of the Internet. But, I have to admit that it makes me happy. Sort of a tacit approval or acknowledgement that my efforts in this blog space has some merit. So thank you to all the new visitors and people who have subscribed to this blog. I hope my future content will entertain and interest you in some way. The blog will remain photography oriented but I will mix the technical content, the equipment reviews and such, with my observations of places and events that I attend along with my views of photography and the photo industry.