Etchings on the Digital Cave Walls: The Evolving Nature of Blogs

Well hello there. It’s been over 4 months since the last update, and I only posted 9 times in 2013.

these hands Etchings on the Digital Cave Walls: The Evolving Nature of BlogsIf anyone who happens to read this follows my other creative outlets, you can see that I’ve been anything but dormant – posting regularly to 500px, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Despite the silence, I actually traveled quite a lot in 2013: China, around a large swath of the U.S. for 7 weeks, Indonesia, Singapore and destinations throughout the Philippines, most recently the island of Siquijor.

So why the lack of blog posts? Honestly it comes down to sake of ease. When you’re busy, it’s far easier to post a Twitter update or Facebook post than to log into WordPress, deal with formatting or embedding images, etc. I certainly am not the only feeling the effects of this paradigm shift. Check out Kottke’s recent post, “R.I.P. The Blog, 1997-2013″ where he said:

Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice. Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs.

Instead of blogging, people are posting to Tumblr, tweeting, pinning things to their board, posting to Reddit, Snapchatting, updating Facebook statuses, Instagramming, and publishing on Medium. In 1997, wired teens created online diaries, and in 2004 the blog was king. Today, teens are about as likely to start a blog (over Instagramming or Snapchatting) as they are to buy a music CD. Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids.

As he clearly states, this was a deliberately provocative statement, and yet rings true on many levels. When I started blogging in 2002, there was essentially no other medium available for posting regular content to the web.

This site began as a method for reaching family and friends who wished to keep up with my (often ridiculous) stories of travel and adventure as a bright-eyed naïve 24 year old new to expatriate life in Indonesia. I suppose it then evolved into a small, interesting community of regular commenters – many of whom I had never met (but many I’ve since met) and yet enjoyed hearing from.

From there it morphed into a place to post my love of photography, but with much less of an introspective spin (probably for the best). And finally, since moving to the Philippines, I’ve had less and less time to maintain my interests outside of work. In just 4  1/2 intensely busy years in Manila, I completed an international teacher’s certification, finished a master’s degree in 2 years, have been teaching master’s courses online and most recently started a new company (all outside of working full time).

So where does this leave this blog? Will I abandon it completely? Would that be preferable to these random, infrequent posts spaced months apart allowing the blog to slowly fade into insignificance and decay?

No.

There may no one left to even read these words beyond the robots that troll for cataloguing every word I type into a permanent archive to shape my future self’s online shopping preferences. And yet, I’m driven to forge on, documenting whatever comes to mind, posting photos from my various travels, (I’m up to about 85,000 untouched photos at the moment).

If nothing else, once I’m at the end of my time on this earth, it’ll be interesting to look back upon these various stages of life with fondness and an appreciation for the years that rolled past, glancing over thoughts authored throughout decades, etched on the digital cave walls reflecting this tiny blip on the radar of existence.

Etchings on the Digital Cave Walls: The Evolving Nature of Blogs

Well hello there. It’s been over 4 months since the last update, and I only posted 9 times in 2013.

these hands Etchings on the Digital Cave Walls: The Evolving Nature of BlogsIf anyone who happens to read this follows my other creative outlets, you can see that I’ve been anything but dormant – posting regularly to 500px, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Despite the silence, I actually traveled quite a lot in 2013: China, around a large swath of the U.S. for 7 weeks, Indonesia, Singapore and destinations throughout the Philippines, most recently the island of Siquijor.

So why the lack of blog posts? Honestly it comes down to sake of ease. When you’re busy, it’s far easier to post a Twitter update or Facebook post than to log into WordPress, deal with formatting or embedding images, etc. I certainly am not the only feeling the effects of this paradigm shift. Check out Kottke’s recent post, “R.I.P. The Blog, 1997-2013″ where he said:

Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice. Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs.

Instead of blogging, people are posting to Tumblr, tweeting, pinning things to their board, posting to Reddit, Snapchatting, updating Facebook statuses, Instagramming, and publishing on Medium. In 1997, wired teens created online diaries, and in 2004 the blog was king. Today, teens are about as likely to start a blog (over Instagramming or Snapchatting) as they are to buy a music CD. Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids.

As he clearly states, this was a deliberately provocative statement, and yet rings true on many levels. When I started blogging in 2002, there was essentially no other medium available for posting regular content to the web.

This site began as a method for reaching family and friends who wished to keep up with my (often ridiculous) stories of travel and adventure as a bright-eyed naïve 24 year old new to expatriate life in Indonesia. I suppose it then evolved into a small, interesting community of regular commenters – many of whom I had never met (but many I’ve since met) and yet enjoyed hearing from.

From there it morphed into a place to post my love of photography, but with much less of an introspective spin (probably for the best). And finally, since moving to the Philippines, I’ve had less and less time to maintain my interests outside of work. In just 4  1/2 intensely busy years in Manila, I completed an international teacher’s certification, finished a master’s degree in 2 years, have been teaching master’s courses online and most recently started a new company (all outside of working full time).

So where does this leave this blog? Will I abandon it completely? Would that be preferable to these random, infrequent posts spaced months apart allowing the blog to slowly fade into insignificance and decay?

No.

There may no one left to even read these words beyond the robots that troll for cataloguing every word I type into a permanent archive to shape my future self’s online shopping preferences. And yet, I’m driven to forge on, documenting whatever comes to mind, posting photos from my various travels, (I’m up to about 85,000 untouched photos at the moment).

If nothing else, once I’m at the end of my time on this earth, it’ll be interesting to look back upon these various stages of life with fondness and an appreciation for the years that rolled past, glancing over thoughts authored throughout decades, etched on the digital cave walls reflecting this tiny blip on the radar of existence.

A Day in the Life of Manila [true story]

Just another day in Manila:

Novita took the car so I grabbed a taxi home from work. Traffic in Manila was so obscenely terrible that I decided to get out and walk. Only after exiting the car did I realize the entire street was lined with gates – meaning it was completely illegal to be on the busy street vs the sidewalk. (Ayala Ave / Paseo) Nice of the taxi driver to mention that. WTF?

So just as I’m ready to hop the gate, a cop runs over and yells at me to stay where I am – in traffic – with cars driving dangerously close to me. I politely tell him the story – that I didn’t mean to, didn’t know, blah blah. He asked for my ID so I lied and said I only had my work badge. “Sir, where is your license?” “Well, sirrrr, I’m walking so I don’t really need my driver’s license do I?” His face wrinkled up like he just swallowed a burning cigarette.

He said he’d confiscate my work badge. No problem, cause I’d just get a new one at work rather than spend 5 hours sweating in a filthy Manila police station to retrieve it. A far better option than handing him my license which was in my pocket.

He then tried to issue me a ticket. Hmmm, based on what – my work ID? “How long have you been in Manila?” “Uh, only 3 months.” “And you didn’t know you can’t walk on this street?” “Uh, I never walk this way – I drive to work.”

Now he’s really confused. Or is it angry? Irrelevant.

“Sir, I thought you didn’t have a license?” “Yeah, uh, I left it in my car.” Moving on… “Sir, do you realize I can give you community service for jay-walking.” “Yeah, but I also realize it’s your job to keep people safe and we’re standing here talking on the very street where you said it’s not safe to be.”

Obviously hard of hearing as he didn’t reply.

“Sir. Do you see all these flowers planted? They were planted by jaywalkers.” “Right. So how about you help me hop this fence and I can get home safely rather than chat with you in this ridiculous traffic?” He wasn’t amused but I think he simply couldn’t stand my insubordinate face anymore so he said, “Ok, but next time I catch you I will give you community service planting flowers.”

“It’s a deal, boss. Can you give me a boost?”

After I hop the fence. In my nice clothes. At rush hour. In front of 300 people. Carrying 3 bags and a bunch of photo gear that crashes to the sidewalk. I compose myself and continue on. At the next intersection a woman near me starts screaming. (Not at me, fortunately) The screaming escalates. She starts throwing punches at another woman. The other woman punches back – hard. Only then do I realize that the other woman has unusually large biceps under her skin tight dress. She was he in drag. So basically a street brawl opens up right in front of me between she-men with far too much estrogen/testosterone to be safe for anyone breathing fumes like that. In a city like Manila, you don’t wanna hang around for round 2.

As I’m walking away, a cop runs over and starts yelling at them, all I hear is, “Ladies, do you want community service!!!”

And this, my friends, is why I love expatriate life. Never a dull moment.

 

Want more? Here are similar posts:

Expat Experiences

Bule Behavior

Culture Clash

Social media vs blogging (Google+, 500px, Twitter, Facebook, etc)

I’ve been slacking on the blogging front, mostly due to my workload and recent travels to Indonesia and Puerto Galera, but also due to the fact that I’ve been posting in various other places (Google+, Twitter, Facebook, 500px, etc). I realize many bloggers have jumped ship for an easier, micro-blogging style of presenting a lifestream, but I have no desire to abandon this blog no matter how busy I get.

Here are some of the other ways to keep track of my photography and travels (the links are directed to my various profiles):

Google+

Screen Shot 2011 12 19 at 9.03.39 PM 540x165 Social media vs blogging (Google+, 500px, Twitter, Facebook, etc)

I find Google+ to be a great place to discover new photographers. I’ve been seeking a viable alternative to Flickr for quite sometime. I think Google needs to figure out where this is going, but it seems to have far more more traction than Buzz. It’s also grown much more quickly than I had expected. In only two months of being active, I’ve developed over 5,600 followers. I’ve been using Twitter for nearly 5 years and have only about 1,400 followers. Not that the number of followers necessary reflects any significance.

500px

Screen Shot 2011 12 19 at 9.03.56 PM 540x549 Social media vs blogging (Google+, 500px, Twitter, Facebook, etc)

500px is an interesting development. I receive far far less “views” on photos there and have almost no social contact or feedback – and that’s ok – cause the minimalistic design and clean portfolio options trump the cluttered feeling one gets when viewing Flickr. I’ll be uploading less work here but more of my culled photos.

Twitter

Even after nearly 5 years, Twitter still has a purpose. I’ve gone through many phases with its use, but it’s still unbeatable in terms of reaching certain groups, colleagues, resources and perspectives.

 

What are your preferred social media tools? Do you still see a place for blogs?

Christmas in Manila

We’ve decided to hang out in Manila for at least part of the 24 day break I’m currently enjoying. We debated heading to the island of Palawan but considering we were just in Jakarta and Bali last month, sticking around home sounds appealing. We may head down to the island south of Luzon, to Puerto Galera, but I was also just there two weeks ago so not sure if that’s a go. In all of Asia, I’d wager that the Philippines is the most active in terms of Christmas celebrations. There’s a definite energy and excitement flowing throughout the city. Sure I’d love to be chilling on an exotic beach, but it’s not so bad hanging around home for once.

Back in Manila in a new role

Phew – it’s been a while huh?

A tremendous amount has happened since my last update, with the most important change being the start of a new role at work. I’ve now taken on the position as IT Coordinator for the HS and program leader for the computer dept. It’s a highly demanding role, but a challenge I welcome and was ready for. I’ll continue with technology integration but in correlation with the coordination. I haven’t had a moment to catch my breath in 2 1/2 weeks and am often working late into the evening, hence the lack of blogging.

We were in the States all summer, mainly on a beautiful lake in Tennessee, but also a couple of weeks near Clearwater Beach, Florida. All in all it was a wonderful summer spent relaxing with family and taking time to enjoy a digital diet. Each time I return it feels harder to leave, but I also feel quite content with the expat lifestyle overseas.

We’re back in Manila in our new house in Makati (heart of downtown Manila). It’s great to have so much space and a quiet office of my own, but I miss the amenities of condo living. I’m sure once we’re more settled it’ll grow on us.

On a spur of the moment decision days before leaving the States I sold my primary Mac – my 17″ MacBook Pro. I had a really tough time deciding what to do about a new computer. The new MacBook Airs are incredibly fast for their size and I was contemplating picking up the 11″ Air and using the 27″ Thunderbolt display at home. In the end I decided that in order to best get back into my love of photography, the power and size of the 27″ iMac is the way to go. I ordered the BTO top of the line: 3.4 Ghz, 12GB RAM (8GB from Crucial that I’ll install myself), 256 GB SSD + 2TB internal drive, and 2 GB GPU. It should be a beast that will last me many years. I’ll likely supplement the iMac with a 2012 Ivy Bridge MacBook Air in a year or so for the best in power and portability. (we already have a Macbook / iPad / iPhone, etc that can get me by for a while)

Unfortunately, the Philippines built-to-order Macs take quite a long time to be delivered. I’ve been told it could be up to 6 weeks. Ugh. So in the meantime I am quite limited in my photo editing capability.

Overall, I’m quite happy with how things are progressing with life in Manila. Love the job, like the house we’re in, the coworkers are fantastic, and surprisingly I’m enjoying Manila more the longer I live here. There are many things I miss about Indonesia (we’ll be back in October for 10 days), but for the next couple of years (at minimum) we’ll remain happily in the Philippines.

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