When I walk into one of my children’s’ rooms during the school year, it is usually just out of the corner of my eye that I am able to see their web browsers being minimized.  If you have a child in high school, you know what that means.  Without question they are “Facebooking”.  Mine aren’t particularly into Twitter (as far as I know!), but many are.  My estimate is that out of every hour spent studying, at least 30 minutes is spent on Facebook……or checking to see if they have received a Facebook message.

Then I started a rather large and, to me, exciting photographic project which is going to be taking up a good deal of time.  I will likely be posting more about this in the future.  But it occurred to me that these same things that distract my kids might also be distracting me.  Photographer Cole Thompson recently blogged about this as well and wrote a post about his possibly giving up Facebook.

The other thing to consider is if Facebook today is really what it once was or what it was initially envisioned to be when every large multi-million dollar corporation has a Facebook fan page.  I mean there are people who make a living giving seminars on how to use Facebook, Twitter, and social media in general for purely marketing purposes.

I have to say that I have never been willing to be anything other than myself on my Facebook fan page and enjoy using that forum to share my work.  But it takes time to post on Facebook, it takes time to produce a Twitter feed, and it even takes a good amount of time to write and upkeep this blog.

Now, this blog is truly a labor of love, as it will be 4 years old in January with this being the 468th post!  And I feel that writing about photography gives me ideas and helps me think ‘photographically’.  As I mentioned, I do also enjoy maintaining my Facebook fan page, but I have already considerably weaned down my “Twittering” to almost nothing.  I long ago gave up posting images to Flickr because I found the whole award and invitation process silly (which is not to say you can’t dig and find superb work there).  But I find myself wondering if doing some of these things is indeed a distraction from getting my photographic work done when one has a ‘day job’ and  limitations to the amount of time available for photography.  After all, in the end, it is the work we produce that defines us photographically.

So what does it all mean?  I am not at all sure.  I really don’t want to give any of it up.  But I know that I have definitely cut back on posting to my Facebook fan page simply because of time constraints.  And my blog posts here have decreased to about once every five days.  But I would rather write fewer, well thought out posts than more frequent ones that say less.  Perhaps by giving up just a little I can end up producing more photographic work.

I would love to hear other people’s thoughts about this issue.

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5 Responses to “Distractions”

  1. Mark Says:

    I am a bit more social online than I am locally, probably because I can do it more at my own convenience and catch up at odd hours. You are completely right, it can become a significant distraction. I often wonder if the expectations are growing as far as keeping up with what people have going on in their lives. It used to be you would keep up with maybe a handful of friends, maybe less. Now add in the internet contacts, and that is a lot to deal with.

    There have been some studies of late that show the average person can really only maintain about 150 “relationships,” whether online or in person. Our brains just don’t have the capability of keeping up with more. I must be below average, because I know I certainly don’t know what is going on with 150 people. But it goes to show those that have the thousands of “friends” can’t really manage such things either.

    Don’t forget, you now have Google+ also! :-) I was going to work on some images starting an hour or so ago, but have spent the time catching up on some blog reading. So quit distracting me, will ya?! ;-)

  2. Howard Says:

    I guess it gets down to what one means by friends. My son, for example, has about 1000 friends on Facebook. But I suspect that contorts the meaning of the word friend.

    On the other hand, I have met a handful of people on line that I would not have otherwise met in ‘real life’ (one of which is you) who I communicate with from time to time and whose work (and probably even more importantly, whose approach to work) I strongly connect with and am very glad to have ‘met’.

    I guess we are in the very early stages of the whole social media thing and maybe our grandchildren will have figured the whole thing out!

    The thing that gets me is that at one point it was sort of a counterculture revolution (ah, remember the 60′s) and now every multi-billion dollar corporation has a Facebook page with someone running it pretending to care about the “Fans”.

  3. Mark Says:

    I can understand for smaller companies having a Facebook page, because it is one of the easiest ways to have a “website” now without having to know actually how to build a website. But you are right, for the big ones, and what seems like every product out there from potato chips to Vodka has to have some sort of FB page.

  4. Steve Says:

    I don’t bother with Facebook anymore as I’m bored with the superficiality of it, but I have never tried to use it as a business tool. On the other hand, I will readily admit to being fascinated by how it has grabbed the attention of so many people (and being somewhat dismayed at the same time).

  5. Howard Says:

    It is a rather interesting phenomena, isn’t it.

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