Simplification

Over time I seem to have accumulated a whole host of sites, galleries and blogs. One reason was to experiment with their style, the other was that I just can’t resist a freebie. Well, I seem to find myself with more sites than I can maintain, which has made me feel that aside from Twitter and Flickr, I can’t really find time to do much with any of them! so, if  I am to maintain my plans to keep up the blogging as well as the photography, I’ll need to simplify things a little.

Basically, my main blog is going to be here (as ever). I find WordPress to offer the best blogging service I know about, so it makes sense to do this. Blogger was always a bit too dry, the now redundant Windows Live Spaces colourful, but too hard to load on slower computers this seems to offer the best of both worlds. I will still work on Japanophelia, though it is probably going to be moved over to WordPress and take a new direction as well, one that reflects my general experience of travelling in Japan and not just Kyoto (which birthed and judging by my lack of updates since, constrained it a little).

The same goes for my photo blogging. A Day in the Life has not been getting much love since I started Now and Zen and it is basically finished. Maybe I’ll blog a few photos there every now and then, but really, I don’t like their small onscreen display and I’ve since found something better, Tumblr, which is really suited to a photoblog.for the past few years, I haven’t added to Moments of Infinity, so I think we can safely say it’s finished, too. I intend to add a few more posts to bring it to a close, but it and A Day in the Life’s main purpose can nicely be merged into Now and Zen, which embodies the ‘Now’ of A Day and the ‘Zen’ of eternal moments.Or something like that. In a process I don’t really understand, it seems to have grown out of the two of them, yet is far more than the sum of their parts.

As for photos, flickr is my go-to site for uploads (though some will make their way to Facebook too, as most of my friends don’t and probably won’t join flickr). Like tumblr, it’s zesty, informal yet clear and well-managed style makes it an easy place to post to, especially now that iPhone-centric options are available. Nothing new there, you say? Well, it needs attractive apps to want to take the plunge and they seem to exist now. Also, only since the iPhone 4 came out could I sync photos of a decent resolution to manipulate or upload (not counting the few I take with the iPhone itself). So using it as a publishing platform is now a reality- if fact I did so a few times just today and lost nothing but a bit of battery life from the experience. I also find the experimentation with new filters, camera simulations and so on a lot more fun, ‘playful’ and immediate on the touch interface, so expect to see more of them.

Other photo sites can serve as galleries and portfolios, especially PBase, with it’s gallery-centric layout and emphasis on photography over snaps. Which isn’t to say the photography is better there than on Flickr, though sometimes it is- it just invites a different approach and one that seems to encourage larger galleries more than the bright and startling creations you see on flickr.

As for video sites, I experimented with quite a few, especially in the early days when YouTube was so limited. I tried Yahoo video, Google, Viddler… but really YouTube is enough for me right now, if only because so many people use it. I may branch out, but for now that is enough.

Like a lot of people, I’ve found that whilst it may be easy to set a site up and even customise it a bit to your liking, it is a lot more effort to maintain it and frankly, mirroring my content across various sites in the hope of getting a wider audience isn’t really worth it for me anymore. Only the ones that are easy and convenient to use are likely to survive my tighter schedule these days. Certainly, I can be clearer where to refer people to see more of my stuff. I probably won’t formally close or delete any sites just yet, though I may put a ‘moved’ notice on them. virtual space is in some ways not so different from real-world space. Some things are vibrant, while others are gathering dust. This says nothing of their quality, but a lot about their accessibility.

In closing this little update, I’d like to add one development that can keep multiple sites viable, even if you only take the time to properly curate a few. This is services like Friendfeed, which shows all your posts in various sites in one ‘feed’ and Posterous, which seems to be catching on more right now, which allows for the simultaneous posting of things to various sites. I’ve found it a little buggy right now, but it would be a good way to distribute materials to various communities. I’ve also found the ability to centralise in Facebook to be more effective than any blog could be. Better facilities for having sites send your feeds there exist, even better than when I last commented on this. You have to play around a little to get it working right and also ensure that it’s what you want to be up there, without spamming or annoying people (Youtube syncing seems to be guilty of this trait) but it seems to be the best of the online communities for showing things to friends who wouldn’t otherwise go to your other sites.

In all of this, we are finding new and convenient ways to relate online, sharing our views and creations in ways that overcome previous barriers of space and time. It’s quite exciting to be part of the beginning stages of what the internet is capable of being, a truly interconnected web, much like a neural network, what connects us all to each other in new and wonderful ways.

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