I would like to start by saying, I don’t consider myself a great photographer, maybe the term photographer shouldn’t even be used to describe me, even if describing myself as bad. What I am, is a person who owns a camera, who finds enjoyment going out at the weekend to random locations, walking around and taking photos of what I love about this world.
In the last year I have become a big fan of minimal photography. Minimal photography is about expressing the beauty I find in the details that surround me, and I try as hard as I can to get the best possible results. I don’t post to my blog any photos that I consider not worthy or a waste of my readers time. I am my biggest critic and am yet to be fully satisfied with the photos I am taking. I feel I am on some sort of quest to capture the right photograph that expresses my true feelings and understanding about photography and the environments that surround me.
It is for these reasons that I feel the need to mention in a series of posts some of the things that frustrate me within our blogging culture today.
1. The “like” button
The “like” button as a concept is fairly sound. It provides readers with a simple means to tell the blogger that they appreciate their post and to keep up the good work. At least, this is what I thought when it first came out. What I have since discovered is the use of the “like” button to grab large volumes of hits on ones own blog with very little effort and without posting anything of any worth.
For example, on the last two posts which I have submitted, within 20 seconds of me clicking the publish button I have had 3 or 4 people hit the “like” button on them. Not only that, but it is more often than not the same people. The same people who “like” the majority of posts down the same stream that mine appeared in, in my case usually photography. What this tells me is that people wait for the stream to update new posts and instantly click the top right “like” button. By doing this they haven’t looked properly at my photographs, they haven’t read anything I may have said and are just hoping I will feel warm enough inside that I will click their blog, thus giving them a hit. These same people also never leave a comment on my blog.
I find this rather damaging on a few levels. Firstly it damages the legitimacy of WordPress as the blogging site. Secondly, the blogger themselves, they made a new post which they may have been proud of, and although it may make them happy to receive a “like” they do not provide any means of reflection or criticism. Thirdly, I think it damages humans as a collective, it damages our intellect and ability to, as mentioned, reflect, critique and discuss on a variety of issues that people write about or visualise in their blogs.
Of course, I am aware there is a vast majority of WordPress users and general bloggers who enjoy commenting and discussing on others posts, after all, isn’t that what blogging is all about? Writing about the things that interest you, in the hope that you will meet people who share that interest and want to discuss and provide their own ideas. And there are indeed people who genuinely do like someone’s work, and have taken a closer look when they click the “like” button. What I am finding though is an increase in the amount of people who fake the “likes” purely for their own selfish reasons.
Giving a comment can be a lot more than just a means of discussion. It is a way of helping others improve and providing them encouragement by detailing sections of their post you genuinely like and dislike and give critical reasons as to why, so that they can improve upon where they went wrong. I for one would really enjoy some critical and encouraging comments from other photographers on my blog so I can try to take on what they say and improve.
If I receive “likes” on my post now I just ignore them, I find them very disheartening and in my opinion they go against everything that blogging is.