In today’s world with free social media– why make your own (gasp) paid photography blog?
The simple answer: freedom.
For example, I’m starting to become more wary of ‘free’ online social media networks (Facebook, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook, Flickr (owned by Yahoo), Snapchat, etc).
The problem: these ‘free’ social media networks censor you. They make their money from advertising– so of course they don’t want any ‘offensive’ content on their platforms. For example, this is why Instagram doesn’t allow for nude pictures (unless you put on censor bars on nipples, etc) because it will offend advertisers.
I experienced this first-hand. I posted this below image on my old Instagram (I deleted my Instagram) and it was removed for ‘not complying with community guidelines’.
What I was trying to state with this image is this:
Let us beware of racism, or else we will become like the KKK (Nazi’s).
It was actually a positive social message via art– to warn us of tyranny via fascism. Below is the image that got banned:
Below is the original image:
I am not so upset that my image got ‘censored’ — because for-profit companies (like Facebook) doesn’t guarantee you ‘freedom of speech.’ They can do whatever they want on their platform– including censorship.
The big takeaway point is this:
If you don’t want to get censored, don’t use a ‘free’ social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc. Rather, OWN YOUR OWN PLATFORM (blog, website).
How to start your own blog
Very simple, I personally run my website on 1and1.com, and use wordpress.org.
WordPress.com is a great alternative, but the problem is that WordPress.com gets censored in a lot of countries. For example, some wifi hotspots in Vietnam — they censored wordpress.com (I couldn’t access any blogs or websites hosted by WordPress.com). I believe that China also censors wordpress.com sites. So if you want maximum viewership of your website without any censorship, stick to your own self-hosted website/blog and use wordpress.org.
Why I prefer wordpress.org
I love wordpress.org because it is open-source and free. Anyone can modify the code. You can also modify and hack it however you want.
For example, I have my wordpress.org setup so it is Uber-minimalist and zen. No statistics on my home page. I can customize it to my heart’s content.
I can make my own web store without paying extra money (Cindy hosts the HAPTIC SHOP via wordpress.org and woocoommerce.com).
The problem with most social media platforms– you cannot disable your page views, notifications, your follower counts, or your like/comment counts.
For example, what if you wanted to post images to Instagram, but wanted to remove the ability to see your like/follower count? You can’t.
For me, I hate numbers. Why? I know when I started blogging, I got too emotional with numbers and page views. I would get super-excited the days when I would get tons of page views, and depressed the days I got few page views.
The same thing with social media– I got addicted to the likes. It made me wonder, ‘How many likes is enough?‘ The answer: you can never have enough likes. As long as you are a slave to social media, you will always be in the eternal ‘rat race’ of ‘keeping up with the joneses’ by trying to get more and more likes and followers.
Why I deleted my Instagram
Why did I delete my Instagram? To be honest– because once again, I got addicted to the likes. It fucked up with my self-worth and mood as an artist. The days I would get lots of likes, I would feel over-joyed. The days I got a few likes, I would feel sad.
I would start becoming afraid and fearful of posting images. Why? Because if I uploaded a picture that got 2,000 likes– and if the next picture didn’t get (at least) 2,000 likes — I would feel like a failure. I started to only post images which I knew would get a lot of likes, rather than posting images that were true to my own artistic vision.
Ever since I deleted my Instagram, I feel like a child again. I have a renewed spirit of taking pictures. I feel liberated.
I’ve been making more pictures, I’ve been having more fun, and I’ve been experimenting more with composition. I’ve been exploring more of the visual world, and posting more pictures and visual diaries of my time here in Kyoto.
I’ve enjoyed making these ‘visual diaries‘ because it is returning to the origin of photography, and what it was initially for: to make personal memories of your own personal life. Before the days of social media– photography was more personal. You only made pictures to share with your few friends, family, and maybe a few other photographers you knew. You didn’t make pictures to please your followers; you made pictures to please yourself.
The nice thing with owning your own photography blog; you can post as many (or as few) pictures as you want.
So one idea with your own photo stories, and your own visual diaries. Don’t care about how many likes or page views you will get. Just upload and post images for your own personal self. Do it for your few friends, family, for yourself, and for your (few) followers.
The world needs more of your personal photography.
Sites comes and go. Remember MySpace? Xanga? Friendster? Your photography blog (given you keep paying for the host) will exist (much longer) and no get shut down.
How to start blogging?
Okay, so if you want to start your own photography blog, where should you start?
- How to Start Your Own Photography Blog
- PHOTOGRAPHY ENTREPRENEURSHIP 101 by ERIC KIM
- Blogging articles
Most important thing, have fun :)