Friday, October 24, 2014

The Sound of Authenticity


There is a noise in the distance. It started out as a faint hum but is getting louder and louder. People are taking off the earplugs and setting the noise free. And my hunch is that people are going to continue to turn up the volume. What am I referring to? The sound of authenticity.

I have been a blogger for 7+ years. Much has changed on the scene since then. Facebook took over the world. Twitter shortened our voices to 140 characters. Tumblr and Instagram came along and turned our words into images. Pinterest happened and now we are all boarded up. Don't get me wrong...I love and use many of these platforms. But they are very different from traditional blogs.

People frequently note that the world presented on these sites is skewed to perfect and beautified. Perhaps too much so. As if the sun is always shining, the house is always clean, and life is always good. Instead of spreading the joy, this message can actually spread envy and distress. Now truthfully, I also often see entries on these platforms that suggest life is far from perfect. But the sense that "the grass is always greener" can seem pervasive.

As often happens in life, I think the pendulum is swinging. There is a frustration with this sense of "implied awesomeness" and a movement toward authenticity. And I believe this move is being spearheaded by the blogging community. Just one recent example is the Studio Table, where 120+ chose to share pictures of what their studio spaces really look like -- in all their messy glory.

Initially with the flood of microblogging platforms, there seemed to be a shift away from what I term "long-form" blogging. The ease of the newer sites made them very attractive. Many bloggers noted a decline in viewers and, most prominently, comments. When clicking on an upturned thumb is so easy...who has time to actually comment in words? And fill in those annoying Captcha Codes? At the same time, the crew that began blogging in the "early years" were burning out. It takes a lot of time and effort to consistently maintain a blog. A lot!

However, I have noticed a shift in the last year or so. Many new people are discovering blogging and again infusing energy into the blog community. And, happily, many older bloggers have shaken off the dust and have started to blog again. Their newest posts often start with an apology and apparent shock that so much time has past since their last entry.

Most importantly, there seems to be more authenticity than ever before in the content (see perfect example here). And for me, authenticity is very attractive and compelling. Real words from real people about real life. As a blogger, I strive to present an authentic voice in the hopes of continuing to build a community of people who connect to what I am saying and find true value in my blog. As a blog reader, I seek out the blogs where the voice and personality of the blogger comes through loud and clear -- in an authentic and genuine way.

The beauty of blogs is that they can be anything the blogger wants them to be. Every viewer can choose to read through or click past. And when I find authenticity -- I want in!

32 comments:

Jennifer said...

Well said Seth!

die amelie said...

Phew...wow! Thank you ever so much for that post, Seth!

I have written a really long post (which is kind of an answer...but would be too long to put in here) inspired by your thoughts.

http://vonpappe3.blogspot.co.at/2014/10/c-stands-for-courage.html

You really made me think (more than) twice today. Thanks for that!

Claudia x

ArtPropelled said...

Yes, well said Seth! I'm glad the pendulum is swinging. I felt myself sliding for a while there and it's time to sweep the dust off and get back to weekly posts.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I agree that a bog brings to you a more authentic state of mind that is presented. Your thoughts are more clear. Not just a snapshot of the pretty side of life.

Karenliz Henderson said...

WOW Your posts always seem to come at a time when I'm thinking the same thing. I seem to have lost my authentic voice somewhere. Maybe trying to be something that I'm not. Who knows. I do see more and more blogs coming back to life which is a good thing. Seth well said!

Kathleen Botsford said...

You definitely have your finger on the pulse of this blogger! Going through so many inner and outer life changes has left me exhasuted and easy prey for the quick eye candy of Pinterest and FB, but then thirsty for the authentic connections of my blogging friends and family. While mid-life chemistry has made it hard to concentrate for long, the world of images and instant gratification help perpetrate this lack of focus……and add to the distress of dis-connectedness. Thank you for sharing and bringing clarity to a discontent that has been simmer under the surface long enough!

Anne Grbic said...

Thank you Seth. You said it well!

Win Dinn said...

Exceptionally well put, Seth...thank you for a thinking (and authentic) post.

Carol said...

Yes very we'll said. I love the blogging community . I feel it has kept me in touch with the world instead of feeling very isolated and lonely. For me nothing is more enjoyable than starting my day with a hot mug of coffee and my favorite blogs! Keep them coming.

lin collette said...

Excellent post. Life for many is challenging and much blogging and, yes art journaling, doesn't seem to reflect that. Maybe it's a reaction to those challenges that people are so unrelenting in positivity. Don't get me wrong, I just wrote a blog post about the little blessings that get me thru difficult days. I see positive things everywhere but honestly it's ok to whine and be truthful in posts. And it's ok to pin ugly things. I won't think less of you folks. Be real. Acknowledge real life. It's okay

Gigi Harlan said...

I am a new blogger and gratefully I have found that many of the seasoned bloggers are so helpful and genuine in wanting me to succeed. I love blogging and I admire those that keep it real just as much if not more as those with the pretty all the time blogs. I think blogging is here to stay even with all of the more instant social media around. I hope so..

Jo Murray said...

I like a bit of 'authenticity', but surely we all realise that, despite seeming perfection portrayed on social media, we all have flaws and problems. That's life. I really don't want to spend my time reading an endless list of woes. However, that said, I do enjoy reading a humorous account of real life that we can all relate to, written by real people...such as your link.

Astrid Maclean said...

Couldn't agree more on one level! I am only a humble crafter (even though I'd like to call myself a mixed media artist)Blogging will always be my first and foremost platform to share my creations. And I try to be authentic in what I share. But no matter what the social media platform, I will never share my real self in public, I keep that for my real life friends, I therefore also very much agree with Jo Murray above!

elle said...

aw...thentic, Seth!

Sue said...

Hello Seth,
Well you have stirred the pot.
I agree with most of what you say, but I will never allow my blog to be a place to express my true self, my blog is for my creations and hopefully through that I can relate a little of myself, what you interpret me to be through this is your prerogative, as I know who I am.
My pet hate is sickly/over the top comments that I often read.
Smiles:)
Sue

donnaj said...

well said. i've neglected my blog-too much time on instagram and pinterest :) but have been trying to get back to it-had a lot of "life" this yr that got in the way. I like seeing blogs where people tell it like it is-not sugar coated everything is perfect. I don't put it all out there on my blog, but i don't paint a phony picture either :)

cecile graven said...

Thank you Seth, fot this post. Because English is not my language I will not say all that I wanted to say. I do blog for a few years on 2 blogs ( both have only a few 'followers'). One is about the things I create ( and it is on your list of blogs- Atelier Cecile) and the other is about my personal life. I do take care of my old mother and if I should write truthfully about my life I feel I would harm my mother's privacy. So my blog-life is far far nicer than my real life.

Ingrid Kristina V said...

Great post, Seth!
I think it is important to add a little bit about what's been happening in your life in a post now and then. How much is up to each and everyone. I, for example, don't share photos of my children, would never say anything that would say where I live or work As well as other private events and discussions. I save those for friends and family members... However, ocassionally i like to share what is happening in my life like my 3 year old shoplifting and me going back to the shop to return the bar of kitkat she took of the shelf without me knowing.. I find it a little boring when I read a post and it is 'here's the photo and these are the challenges.. I liked to see those craft spaces people shared.. I have a saying.. Just like you wouldn't trust a skinny cook you wouldn't trust a neat and tidy artist! :)
Your work is amazing and I look forward to seeing more! I feel very inspired each time I see one!
Best wishes,
Ingrid x

Dawn C. said...

Hallelujah!

Unknown said...

Excellent post Seth. Thanks for writing.

Bill said...

I can't tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on my blog because I would get hit over the head!

Roberta said...

I am no fan of instagram really. I have an account but I rarely use it. Too much trouble getting the photos to be good enough. I love my scanner for posting photos. I also have a twitter account but that whole thing goes too fast for me. Seems like empty calories! So I keep blogging away. Yes, I have fewer readers but I don't really care. My blog is really for me. I don't keep a journal and so my blog is my journal. I would love to put it in book form someday though! I think it would be a nice thing to hand down in case the internet ever disappears!

PamelaArtsinSF said...

VERY well said, Seth. It does take a lot of time and effort to blog and since people read blogs for free they may not feel the value. And I see I usually get more comments and "likes" on FB than comments on the blog....it is very frustrating. Thanks for posting such a well thought out post.

JackieP Neal said...

Again Seth! another fab post that hits home to and with many of us and gets us thinking- really thinking! I followed the link to Erin's blog and read her post- I love that gal- she hits the nail right on the head! Your talents not only lie in your art, which is truly wonderful, but in your ability to speak out and reach many through your posts- your connection is genuine and real- and I thank you for that! xo

Boo Martin said...

Wonderful post, Seth!!

Kay Wallace said...

You are a bit of an activist it seems, Seth Apter! And that is definitely a good thing. Today, you have inspired us to appreciate life as it is--not as it should be, or even how others expect it to be. I have stopped seeking perfection in life. In 70 years, I have hit a few bumps and had a few bruises, but am not sorry for any of it, for it has made me who I am today. I believe in honesty and, therefore, authenticity. I believe that "telling it like it is" is refreshing!

Andrea Matus deMeng said...

Brilliant post Seth!

Rebeca Trevino said...

how did you know? i have neglected my blog for almost a month . . . after 6 years of regular posts, I was simply tired, burned out. but alas, after putting it off for 4 weeks, i posted again last night.

my blog is the ONLY platform i use to show and document my work. i don't instagram, tumbler, twitter, flicker or facebook about art. i think i would have burned out years ago, if i tried to do all that. (a small amount of PINNING does go on, but it's been a while)

all that to say, is yes my studio gets messy,(so do my hands and clothes) and not all of my art pieces are a success, (some have to be taken apart and put back together others discarded altogether)
i don't think what you are saying is 'show the world all your mistakes and messes'. so you can be more authentic . . .
instead, i think readers want to see the work YOU are happy with. the work I want you to see is the work that will make you smile or make you think or that will inspire you.

BTW: if anyone wants to see my ‘authentically’ messy studio, believe me, it’s much better ‘live and in person’. Stop by anytime.

thanks for the post Seth. it’s a gentle nudge, to power through.

Rebeca Trevino said...

ps: stop by the Blog sometime. haven't heard from you in a while.
:)

Marjie Kemper said...

Another great topic, Seth. Your view on the quick fix options rather than long form blogging really hits home. I'm all for authenticity yet I do appreciate a balance leaning toward art. If it were a food blog, I'd like 90% of the content relevant to that... or whatever topic the blog's main focus is based upon,

Pam said...

I'm kind of late to this party as as relatively new blogger, so I really enjoy reading what experienced bloggers have to say. Honestly I don't know where this is all headed, but I'm glad to be part of it. Thank you so much, Seth.

Laura Strack said...

I don't Blog, yet, but it is on my bucket list. Reading your post today has inspired me to take the leap. What's been holding me back? Fear of the time commitment but also one Blogger said, "To start blogging, you must first decide what sets you apart from the rest?" I have decided that I don't want be different. I want to have common ground and if I resonate with just one other person, that would be fine. I want to write about places, and things and other people, that I love. I need to take the plunge and put up my first paragraph and call it a day.
Thank you, Seth. You are such a wise blogger and a huge inspiration :)