Saturday, October 13, 2012

In the Air...

In recent conversations, a perusal of blog entries, and a general ear to the rail of the creative community... it's apparent that "something" is in the air.  It's hard to put a definitive shape and form to this feeling out there... but it's definitely there.  It's kind of like sensing that someone else is in the room without having to look or rely on any of the other of the major senses.

I think it's more than just a seasonal shift, but it feels like there's an increase in general unease, restlessness, insecurity, boredom, and prickly despair.  I can almost hear someone in the background saying, "le sigh".

I've only just picked up on this myself.  I've been so busy with my own projects that I haven't really realized it until now.  Looking up from my work, I've noticed there's a proverbial and subtle change in atmospheric lighting... a little grayer and a little less substantial.  In the blogosphere, I have seen a growing number of die-hard bloggers slacken the frequency of their posts or lighten the emotional depth of their entries.  (Myself included.)  I've also become aware of the lackluster responses to the content that is generated.  Recently, a very prominent blogger mentioned that she was blue... in yesteryear, her post would have received hundreds of comments... nowadays... maybe ten.  Did people just get used to her sadness?  Did they stop caring?  Did they stop reading?  Who knows?

And maybe it's just me... or has there been an increase in activity on social networking sites like, Facebook?  I see more and more people turning to sound-bite sized status updates as opposed to longer entries.  With my own blog, I've noticed a drastic reduction of unique visitors and a higher percentage of the people that do read the blog using the Networked Blogs feed in my Facebook stream.  I try to avoid statistics, but every once in awhile, I get curious to see the numbers and how people are using the blog.  I've been blogging long enough to know that there are seasonal dips in readership, usually corresponding to major holidays or around the school year or work day... but it seems like, from what I can tell... something "more".  And it's not just me.  Others have sort of noticed it too.

One of the other things there's been a lot of is fighting and bickering... and not just online either.  Is it because it's an election year?  I don't know.  In the past, I might have said that it was because of the recession... but numbers are up and it seems like people are doing better financially.  But there's still something there, like a trace musty smell.  With the general funk in the air, there's also been a reaction to it with one-minute meditations, "uplifting" chain letters, inspiring pictures with quotes, and people trying to do "something" about the "something" that's there, in the air.  Is this blog post another "something" about "something"?  I don't know.


Rebecca said...

I know that I for one am using facebook a lot more. I never used to go on there at all.....but, everyone else was, and so I followed....It IS a useful marketing tool, but I still prefer blogs. I am always really happy when I see one of my favourites pop up to the top of the list on the side of my blog, and click on to see a substantial post, with lots of pictures. I like the personal touch. I like that it is one person's space. It's like being invited to someone's house for tea, rather than meeting a group out for coffee in Starbuck's. Which definitely has it's place....but it's less intimate; less personal. I know for my part, I am still reading all my favourite blogs, but I'm not commenting as often. And I'm not sure that's even a time thing - it's because I so often read them on my phone, and my phone rarely lets me comment for some reason. It's very annoying. So your post has prompted me to think more about returning to the laptop so that I can connect more. Whoever thought that would be a step back in time?!

Lorelei Eurto said...

You've made some very very interesting points here! I never really thought about it all until now but I too have noticed a definite shift in blog reactions/comments and traffic. I notice people aren't reacting to the good and they aren't reacting to the bad. Which is sad for me. My readers have been my sounding board for a good many years now.
I wonder if they would "connect" better with more video blogs? or is it more about people reading to "get" information like tutorials and giveaways and less about learning more about the person behind the art.
Lately I have been wanting to use Facebook less and less. I tire of reading the same rants and the same depressed and struggling artists who use FB as their sounding board. But I really do enjoy finding that new blog, and found a few this week that I hope can revitalize me and my spirit, and that they update often.
You always say things so eloquently. I get to writing my post and try to keep things as brief as possible for fear that I am whining too much or saying something I don't want some people to be reading, people that i see in person every day at work. I can't wait for the day when I can say it all.

Beth McLarnan said...

Very good post Andrew, I haven't been writing in my blog because the things going on in my life as an artist are so personal, and I sometimes wonder if anyone wants to read that stuff or if they want pictures of my latte in Paris. You know what I mean? I am a writer (mostly research papers so not that interesting) and I've had a journal since I was in elementary school. I never think of my blog as a way to promote my work, but to share what's going on with me and how it's affecting my work or visa versa. I think I just get shy about it and I think artists are naturally shy anyway. But you're right, it's how we connect with other shy artist/bloggers and not feel so alone. You've inspired me to write a post I've been thinking about so thank you. And thanks Lorelei for sharing this. I love personal blogs, I loved yours yesterday--it made me feel less alone and that makes me a better artist. muwah!

Spirited Earth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spirited Earth said...

peeking out> I've become a blog lurker..sadly it seems,if i respond in the way i might like, my time is eaten away.
When i first joined FB i wondered why on earth anyone would want to use it.. changed my works well with my time restraints and provides a quick connect ,without committing the chunk of time that blogging takes(me, the rotten writer) ..perhaps if i were good and quick at writing I might look at my poor little blog differently.

my view..Blogging is for important things..things of substance and something i want around for a long time..where as FB is fleeting, a spot to make a quick quip or silly remark..
I know your post was more about the feel going around..and
as always you have made some thought provoking points..very on target..
Life in general isn't easy and I think people forget it takes actively looking for the good, even if it is only to be found in the smallest of things..find something/anything that will brighten the day and keep magic alive..
just an aside..the phrase i detest the most.."that ruined my day"
everyday one wakes up breathing is a gift..
ok,'nuf said, back into hiding I go..

Michelle Mach said...

Hmmm ... lots to think about! Thank you for articulating this problem. I'd been thinking it was just me, but maybe not!

Cece Cormier said...

Interesting assessment. I tend to keep my blog relatively free from personal posts and stay more focused on the art/work. Just my own style, even though I very much enjoy reading what others do share. I think that what you are picking up on is more of a shift in global consciousness. I'm not certain what direction it is headed, but do sense that it has been quite a year so far for many people. As for Facebook, I mainly joined to keep in touch with family. As an artist, I'd much rather be creating, or seeing what others have created, than on line socializing.

brenda Salzano said...

There has been a heaviness. It is all around and you are not alone in noticing it. My own blogs have shown it in lack of communication. One blog was attacked by some imbedded malware that is as I speak getting removed or if not able too will have to delete all four years of work. I have four blogs and thankfully it is not my art blog. People are feeling a lot of pressure but it is their reaction to the pressure that is hurting everyone. Stay in tune to all this positive and uplifting .
Let us choose only good and helpful thoughts and actions to all living things.

Krys said...

I read a lot of blogs, comment rarely if I feel I have something to contribute, but this blog post makes me look at it differently. Obviously if I am enjoying a writer/creators work, I need to let them know (Here's your notice ;)

As for traffic and facebook etc, personally, I have made a point these past 6 months or so to "BE" in my life vs just reading blogs etc. I could easily and happily spend all day online reading and I don't want to be the mom, wife, friend, human being that spends more time online than actually doing and participating. I find now I have a lot more inventory coming up from my Christmas shows and gallery commissions and I am doing some great things with my kids/husband/house/volunteer work etc.

I have cut down on the number of blogs I read...There are blogs that I found I just read because they were there and not because I looked forward to what the writer was saying, so I did a summer clean out. On the activity side I have a twitter acct now that I didn't before and while I don't tweet much, I have found some different content that I have enjoyed reading from favorite authors/writers etc.

I do think the negativity is more prevalent now on all media/mediums...the US is becoming so polarized and I find that sad. I live out of the country and it's here as well. I guess I don't feel that negativity is helpful or constructive...and if someone does it a lot, I just back out. But I learned a long time ago to step away from those types in real life if they don't offer me anything but heart ache. I will do the same with blogs.

I don't know if that gives you any useful information, but your post has made me realize that for those I do follow, I need to engage and participate as well as just read and enjoy. So thanks for the insight!

Krys said...

I just want to clarify as well, I don't expect Bloggers to be all unicorns and rainbows and everything is always perfect, that makes me highly skeptical. But if the tone is always negative or the sky is falling, that doesn't want to make me want to come back. (unless there is some humor or cake involved in the negativity!) (I also cut blogs that only post when they are trying to sell me something or tell me about their class).

Alice said...

I've felt it too--this shift in the air. People are getting busier and busier, no time to do more than a quick sentence on FB, and even in my own family our Sunday get togethers are shorter and farther in between because of busy schedules. But that's not all. Around here there are people struggling with finances, losing their jobs, trying to say afloat, losing their homes,dealing with cancer or other illnesses. Friends have no time to talk because they work two jobs just to get by.

As for the blogs, I'm relatively new with my blog being nearly one year old, and I know it will take time to build an audience. I prefer a meatier conversation such as with a blog rather than FB (which I abhor but seems to be a necessary evil if you are in business).

Maybe the earth is doing it's yearly shift as was reported by my cable company....or maybe it's the change of seasons. Whatever it is, I hope it goes away soon.

Elisabeth said...

Great post! I've felt that my forward propulsion is slowing and it's comforting to know that others sense the same.

TesoriTrovati said...

This is an interesting post. Maybe because I have hopped on the annual hamster wheel I haven't noticed it. I am very busy of late. But busy with what? Feels I am spinning my wheels. Can't keep the balls juggled as good as I used to. But I am still trying. I have actually been feeling rather hope-filled rather than hope-less.

You know I have never been one to do short posts about nothing at all a la Seinfeld. I only do them when I have something to say, something to share. But I have been thinking that I need to get back to the variety I used to indulge in... more of the 30 Words Thursdays... less on the jewelry and more on the observations of life. And maybe that is just because I am always in the basement studio and missing out on my life. I physically need to get out and experience it more.

So higher quality but not necessary quality. That is what I am aiming for on my blog. I don't have time to read posts every day from my favorite bloggers and I don't expect that people have time to read them from me either. People tell me that they like to savor my posts for when they can sit with a beverage and really read them. I like that. Makes me feel like I am sitting down with a friend.

As for Facebook.... I am actually tired of it. I find it exhausting and a huge waste of time. I see it as invasive and it feels strange to get friend requests from people I really don't know. And the fact that anyone can just peek into my life feels a bit stalkerish to me. I don't want to see all the inane things people are writing most days, and it has become whiny, politicized and self-absorbed. I don't want to be pithy on my statuses (and I am too verbose for Twitter). I don't post enough on my own page, nor my business page to make a difference. And all the constant posting on group pages makes my head spin, not to mention the notifications. I don't comment because I don't want to see emails of all the other comments (and I have my notifications off). I can only access FB and my email now late at night or on my phone which is too hard to follow. So I just don't. Maybe that feels like I am absent. So for me it is back to focusing on my blog. I will still use FB for some of the private groups that I need to stay in touch with but I am just slinking away from the group voyeurism there.

I just culled my blog list down from almost 300 to just over 200 (yours will always be on my list). And I need to do more. You can be sure that if I see the post and read it, I WILL make a comment. And not a throwaway one like 'nice post'. To me blogging has always been about building a community one conversation at a time.

Thanks for always making me think, Andrew. You are a treasure!
Enjoy the day.

Erin Siegel said...

Andrew, your senses are very keen. I tend to agree with Cece's comment. I think you are picking up on a collective global shift right now. We are all going though major shifts as a human race on earth in a spiritual sort of sense. It has been on going for some time now of course, but we are at a particularly major shift at this point in time. I have always thought of you as someone who is more in touch spiritually and aware of yourself, nature and the universe. So it is not surprising you are in tune and sensing something. I want to share with you a newsletter I receive from a lightworker. I will email it to you. I really resonate with her and her work and message. Maybe the information she talks about in her letter with help shed some light on the things you are sensing and help lift you up! I think it will. It did for me and I believe you will resonate with her as well.

Gardanne said...

I have been really busy. I guess I looked at my time and realized how many hours in the day I am at the computer, and I needed to shift some of that time to making beads. I also try and do something to increase my sales every year and as a result I am doing more shows out of town. Which has turned out to be a very positive experience, because I have been connecting face to face with my customers and other like minded folks.

Maybe if the economy is indeed getting better people are busier because of increased opportunities.

I know you have no way of knowing this Andrew, but even though I don't comment a lot I am thinking of you often. Especially since I got to know you better during your workshop. I adore your sense of humor, and you are probably one of the most generous individuals in this community that I have met.

I do feel guilty that I primarily use my blog as a tool to show folks what is heading to the shop and a little bit about the process. I am very open when I meet someone face to face, but I think I am a little shy when it comes to blogging about my life.
Basically most of my blog posts would be titled "Love hate relationship with teen daughter" so you are all officially up to date with my life.

Kristen said...

I so agree with you! I have seen the shift too and in fact I think I am part of it. Since beginning FB black hole I have noticed sometimes it is so much easier to check on statuses there than take the time to read a blog. BUT I am so missing the good a blog offers. I have decided to shift back to being a blogger and not so much a FB lurker. I also see the shift in ease of arguing as of late and it is getting to much. It is actually affecting my personality. You really just confirmed what I have been feeling and I thank you for that!

Catherine Danziger said...

You are very perceptive. I find that I am less interested in reading the blogs that I have been following for several years. I also find FB less interesting than it once was as it seems to be simply repetitive. There are more interesting things to do than surfing to get inspiration, although that is still possible. Maybe we are just all becoming more selective with our interests and our time.