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.

Lion Air Passenger Plane Crashes in Bali [Photo]

A Lion Air plane just made a water landing after missing the runway in Bali, Indonesia. [Jakarta Globe]

20130413160931979 Lion Air Passenger Plane Crashes in Bali [Photo]

Photo referenced by Jakarta Globe via Twitter [user not listed]

 

I used to fly Lion Air and Adam Air but never again. These type of incidents are simply far too common and is why nearly all Indonesian airlines are banned from Europe. When in Indonesia I choose to fly Air Asia now back and forth to Bali and Jakarta. At this point, I don’t believe Air Asia Indonesia has had any incidents.

I’m very happy to hear that it appears that no casualties have occurred with today’s crash.

News reports have stated that:

“The aircraft was from Bandung, West Java, and about to land in Bali Ngurah Rai Airport but it probably failed to reach the runway and fell into the sea,” said Lion Air spokesman Edward Sirait.

“There was no sign at all it would fall but then suddenly it dropped into the water,” passenger Tantri Widiastuti, 60, told Metro TV. “I saw holes in the floor of the plane … we were evacuated quickly.”

Jamu: Why Isn’t Indonesia’s Ancient System of Herbal Healing Better Known? [TIME Magazine]

Jamu: Why Isn’t Indonesia’s Ancient System of Herbal Healing Better Known? [TIME Magazine]

In 1990, Irish journalist Susan Jane-Beers noticed a herbal medicine clinic in the corner of a hair salon in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, her adopted home. A victim of age-related chronic knee pain that conventional pharmaceuticals couldn’t numb let alone heal, Jane-Beers decided to try jamu — traditional Indonesian medicine.

The results astounded her. After three days of taking only one third of the prescribed dose of herbal pills, the pain had vanished, making her wonder if she’d found “the magic bullet of all time.”

Read the rest on TIME here.

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?

“Blow-Up Babies”: Quite possibly the most inappropriate name for a business? [photo]

Throughout Southeast Asia the English language is often misinterpreted, misrepresented, or massaged into new forms of communication through humorous signage. Take this one I captured as an example.

Throughout the Philippines, and Manila especially, English is widespread and I have yet to see many humorous examples as I have so often seen in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Japan.

Until today.

Let me introduce you to a photo studio by the name of “Blow-Up Babies”.

IMG 1641 540x405 Blow Up Babies: Quite possibly the most inappropriate name for a business? [photo]

IMG 1638 540x405 Blow Up Babies: Quite possibly the most inappropriate name for a business? [photo]

 

Japan earthquake: tsunami warning for Philippines within the hour

Hoping Manila will be unaffected by the potential tsunami after the earthquake in Japan. My brother lives in Tokyo. He checked in and is fine. Hope aftershocks will not be a problem.

Also concerned about family and friends in Jakarta. Indonesia doesn’t need another disaster. Keep safe.

CNN International: Screenshot of my photo essay on the home page

4560290836 7199352de8 CNN International: Screenshot of my photo essay on the home page

Well, it was fun while it lasted. I don’t mean to gloat – really – it’s just fun to gain a little recognition for something I’m passionate about.

CNN International featured my photo essay of the Aliwan Festival on the CNN home page for a day. If you click on the above image you can see a full size version of the screen capture kindly sent to me by CNN Go’s Editor.

The photo essay is still up on CNN Go: http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/none/aliwan-festival-mother-all-festivals-812730 And I’ve been asked to be a regular (hopefully!?) contributor to CNN Go: http://www.cnngo.com/author/brandon-hoover (really need to change my self-portrait image)

I really hope this can be a jumping point from which to capture more of the Philippines. Indonesia is forever in my heart, but the Philippines is my home for now; it’s time to explore…

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