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10 years of blogging

Time to mark an anniversary of sorts!   This website/blog has just ticked over 10 years in existence.   Perhaps at this time it's interesting to look back at how things have changed.

A typical presentation 2007-2008.  The homepage was a static html 4 page with a handful of simple linked pages and an email link.

A typical presentation 2007-2008.  The homepage was a static html 4 page with a handful of simple linked pages and an email link.

Above,  a screen-grab from mid 2008,  simple clean design.  A single image with linked explanation page.  Note the early signature brush effect on the image,  also there was a "links" page, considered to be almost essential at the time,  now out of favour as a blogging concept.

The further evolution of the homepage,  image captions and a growing list of linked pages.  

The further evolution of the homepage,  image captions and a growing list of linked pages.  

Above, by mid 2010 the homepage now includes links to social media including the now defunct spaces.live and marks the emergence of behemoths Facebook and Twitter.    In retrospect,  it probably also heralds the resulting broad decline in blogging per se.

By 2013,  the homepage had become a full page image with simplified menu system.    The blog was now on a separate, but stylistically similar,  system utilizing WordPress. 

By 2013,  the homepage had become a full page image with simplified menu system.    The blog was now on a separate, but stylistically similar,  system utilizing WordPress. 

Above,  moving away from the earlier simple structure/architecture,  the website became a combination of image galleries managed through Photoshelter and a self hosted WordPress blog using a linked WP theme.

Mid 2015 and the WordPress blog had itself become the homepage with a change of theme and resulting change of menu layout.

Mid 2015 and the WordPress blog had itself become the homepage with a change of theme and resulting change of menu layout.

Whilst the WordPress system has its advantages,  the major one being its almost limitless customization ability.    My experience was that it was easy to get sucked into grabbing more and more functionality through the use of more and more plugins.    The difficulty is that some plugins work well with others whilst some others don't.    There is a constant stream of updates and bug fixes for the WordPress system itself and the plugins.  

The website as of 2017.....

The website as of 2017.....

And so to the current site design.    As can be seen above,  my preference remains for a simple, clean,  uncluttered design.    I've now moved to the Squarespace system for the blog.    It covers most of the things I could wish for,  straight out of the box so to speak,  so I can forget about juggling plugins and compatibility issues.    The image gallery system is operated on Photoshelter with the styling and linking of the two being close enough not to be jarring as you navigate between the two systems.

All the changes to the website/blog together with changes to the web landscape itself prompt the thought,  is it all worthwhile now anyway?     When I started 10 years ago,  blogging was alive and well,  indeed thriving.   It seemed as though there was the sense of a blogging community,  if you wanted to know what someone was creating,  you bookmarked and checked their blog.   

Fast forward to the present and social media,  in the hands of a couple of huge corporations, has sucked the life out of blogging.   People now rarely visit blogs,  attention spans are measured in milliseconds,  original content is devalued as people ingest cat videos and mindless memes.    Many of the people whose photography I admire appear to have basically given up on blogging all together.   It seems that even those with a strong public profile and outstanding content now see little point.....depressing.

And so,  what for the future?    In the near term at least,  I'll continue blogging and creating content.  I'll continue to produce what may be the antithesis of modern social media,  a site focused on my own original content, free of advertising,  respectful of the privacy of others.

If nothing else,  it serves as an online diary where I can look back over my efforts as I have in this article.