A Flickr pro account was one of my Christmas presents and I wanted to make sure I enjoyed it to the full this year. A Photojojo article on New Years Photo resolutions also caught my eye and I signed up to Project 365. The idea is to take a photo every single day. It's quite a challenge for me - usually I save picture taking for days when the sun finally decides to show it's face or when I am bursting to blog about something I have completed.
I expected the discipline of taking a picture, regardless of how pretty life looks to be a new one for me. But I didn't expect to find that the pictures I am taking are very different from my comfort zone. I am making an effort to keep it real - not to stage shots, but simply to snap something that captures an element of my day for real. So there's more of the grey, the mundane, than I'd normally capture. And in a weird way I like that. I seems more honest somehow.
The longer I've blogged for, the more my blog seems to have become a 'thing' in it's own right. Not really so much a reflection of my life, as a stand alone project. I find that a bit strange. And creepy. And it's not that I deliberately keep everything in my blog-world all pretty and shiny-happy. I talk about my fair share of mess, mishaps and mayhem. But it has taken this photo thing to make me realize that it's still not reality.
Autum wrote a really great post about this phenomenon the other day.
I wonder if it is something we will all come up against as our blogs age. Whether self-censorship and "happy-blogging" are a natural consequence of knowing that the numbers of people reading our blogs increases and comments begin to come from people less familiar to us.
It always slightly freaks me out to appear as a link on the sidebar of a blog I haven't already come across by following up on a comment. Don't get me wrong, it's flattering, but for me, this odd little cyber-world is about relationships. Saying 'hi' to someone whose quilt you like or whose house you've been admiring. Asking questions and getting answers. Celebrating someone's milestone or cheering their success. It's the human element of these connections that give blogging its value and uniqueness.
Of course I don't always comment on every single post I read (because let's face it, who has time?), but I feel uncomfortable as a permanent lurker too. It's too voyeuristic.
So today, when you are skipping through that huge number of unread posts in your bloglines feeds, I challenge you to do something. Stop and make a human connection. Something real. Something honest and from the heart. Because otherwise I am afraid that this wonderful outlet that we share may me reduced to something like a junk mail catalogue which we feel justified in flipping through and discarding. No matter how pretty it is. And the thought of that makes me sad.