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© Robert Sommers 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Face book em Dano.

I am back. I had a short affair with Facebook but we have now parted, each going our separate ways, I think somewhat amicably. Hopefully anyway. Hot and heavy. I hit the platform with more content in a shorter time than many thought was probably humanly possible but I saw the writing on the wall and had to stop. It was literally hurting my head. And frankly, I felt like I was cheating on you.

Some people can do such things in moderation, I know my obsessive self better. Was reacting to notification pings like pavlov's dog, checking my feed at three in the morning after a pee, just not the platform for a guy like me for the long term. Not the kind of place for an oversharer.

The positive thing is that I reconnected with some people I haven't been in touch with for many years and in a few cases the negative thing is that I reconnected with people I haven't been in touch with for many years. Thankfully there were way more of the former.

I actually have a pretty long history with social media. I was on the Well in the beginning during the nascent times of DOS. I was an original member of the social network Prodigy. I was on Facebook near the beginning, quickly dropped out, joined up again at some point about five years ago.

I treated the platform like a hyper attenuated version of the blog this time, bombarded them with music and pretty pictures. It is hyper politicized and balkanized so I largely stayed clear of politics which was a very nice break for me. Got warm and intimate. I received a lot of positive response to my photography and many wanted me to stick around but I just couldn't do it. The amount of people I touched was staggering. I put this picture of a New Mexico lightning strike up and got over 750 hits the first day.

The response to my photography was very flattering. People who don't read blogs, people who only knew me professionally and hadn't been exposed to my creative efforts. So I joined some closed groups, Utah photos, Arizona, California, Los Angeles, New Mexico and all of a sudden many thousands of people were liking my images and posts. Very quickly.

The parameters of my supposed exhibition in New Mexico this summer are a bit shaky at present but I did get the word out so it might be helpful in the long run because many New Mexicans loved my stuff and heck, maybe a few of them will want to buy prints this August.

Every social media network has a speed, pace and temperature. Some fit and some don't, some are good for certain personality types. My blog is perfect for me, a lazy bungalow with an airy front porch, I can take my shoes off and sit a spell and you wonderful readers are largely down for the adventure. Feel like there is a garden here that I need to tend.

Google + has been my second locale the last several years. Everyone is very polite, seldom critical. I can touch people there from many remote parts of the world. It has an international feel and a certain comity. That is an unusual thing.

I had to get off DPReview because people got so chippy. I was on a D850 forum on Facebook and the antagonism was such a contrast to Google +. Everybody trying to one up each other, being overly critical without invitation, people taking other people's work and revising it without permission.

Too fast, too many people, too scattergun for me. And so I have been neglecting the Blast, which is now in its eleventh year and deserving of love and attention. My daily readership, sensing a vacuum, has dwindled to a crawl. And I miss writing as little and as much as I want to, as opposed to short little snippets.

The mad scientist Owsley Stanley once told me, well actually he said to me on more than one occasion, that my problem was that I was always trying to play poker at a pinochle game. A metaphor for my habit of talking to my pals with two cans and a string while there is this massive party line within reach. I am slamming the door on a huge audience for a small and intimate group of friends. And I am really very okay with that. Because we got history, you and me. My peeps. And if you care to see what I am up to, you will have to tune in here. Lets try to keep the conversation going.

Let's see how long it takes me to get my mojo back.

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There are social media sites that I don't get at all. One of them is Linked In. It seems so desperate and I see the same sad people congratulating each other on Mary Jo's new promotion to head dishwasher or whatever. I am not sure exactly what the benefit of Linked in is supposed to be but I guess it would be good if you were looking for work. I belong but rarely look at it. I get an occasional job offering from the thing which is sort of strange.

Twitter is another one that is not a good fit for me. It is for people who want to make short and pithy grand observations. I do enjoy following Stephen King and the real Donald Trump and a few others but rarely tweet myself. Because there are far too many people making grand proclamations, from both sides. No need for me. Not the bag I am in.  More interested in nuanced middle ground, if there is any to be found.

I got on Facebook, which I have openly loathed for years in order to do one thing, get accurate information about asian antiques from a closed group of experts there that Cam recommended. And ultimately the advice and opinion I received was pretty worthless. But I did get to say hello to some people who regularly live on the platform and say hi to some old friends and girlfriends that I will always love and treasure and even meet some new people that I have grown fond of in a short period of time.

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I call Facebook the 24/7 hive mind. And I am a little bit of an empath and definitely people averse on occasion and just couldn't tolerate the "always on" neural connection. Some people have discipline, I don't. And I knew the writing was on the wall, I set a cut off day and cut the cord a day earlier than planned. Now I can almost breathe again.

I did play it slightly safe, I deactivated instead of deleted the account. Just in case I need to make the connection again but certainly can't foresee it for the foreseeable future.

 I did post an album or two and many photographs that I am very proud of. I posted a massive album of shots of show dealers and customers from the past 25 years, some dead, most alive. I didn't even process the shots, just threw them out there. Because in some ways I am the only one who has been keeping any sort of visual record these past few decades. I made sure that somebody shared it so that if something unfortunate happened to me, that the shots would live on.

My hope would be that Facebookers would occasionally link one of my better blogposts and share it. But I am enough of a realist to realize that it will probably not happen. It is like leaving Manhattan, you cross the Hudson , to the residents you simply no longer exist. It would be nice to be missed.

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Several blog readers also inhabit Facebookland. Helen and Beth for two but many more of you also. I would love your fresh perspective on my limited but powerpacked time over there. I got too close and intense, I know. Cam said that he had to unfollow me he was so sick of the birds.

I know some of you Facebookers are now following me here, Susan and Sophia and more. Please feel free to dish out an honest critique. I am glad you like my music Susan. There aren't that many that do, apparently. Dave Thuleen, thank you. Danny Verrier, thank you. Isak. Sara. Tracy, Richard. Roy. Brigitte. Linda K Sherwood, thank you! Stutz. Abby. And anybody and everybody else I missed. I just know my limits and also know that I was neglecting any serious writing. It was time to bail.

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Show season starts tomorrow. Going to get awfully busy, will be hard to shpiel for several weeks. And there is a lot I want to cover. Damn.

I did the Long Beach Swap Meet Sunday, next to Warmboe. Had a nice time, didn't get rich but found a beautiful painting and primed the pump. If you are a seller of merchandise you must go to the market from time to time.

The souk is where it is happening, things show up that you would never encounter if you were holed up in your own smial. Leslie and I started on the pavement and it is such a good reality check for me to get back to basics at the swaps.

Bill says that I am way more fun at the flea, joshing and bantering and having a good time, as opposed to the miserable guy eating from his worm can I become at some of the indoor Antique Shows.

And what an amazing place to people watch. Bill wanted me to take some shots I didn't even pull the trigger on because the freak show is ever present if that is your thing.

At this point in time I sort of like more mundane fare, couples that looked good together, the charm of the slightly more normal. My prerogative, my caprice. The train wreck will always be there to capture.


Now this guy was not normal. Wouldn't let me shoot his face. Didn't get why an apocalyptic guy who prefers to stay anonymous would tattoo spider webs on his head. Seems to me like it would be sort of a tell.


The last thing I am going to do if the end is truly near is turn my ears into hula hoops. But it certainly takes all kinds.

I met some young, nice and hip couples that made me feel a little better about handing the baton off to the next generation. I was selling some interesting photos that resonated with these two nice people and many others.


They were well suited for each other.

As were this lovely couple.

Duty now for the future.

I also met up with some old friends of course. Always good.

Dane, Sara and friend.
Stephen
Estela Rubalcaba Klink
I am really looking forward to going back there. It is a very nice way to spend a Sunday, both for selling, buying and people interacting.

herr Klink


Battery has been funny lately and the van wouldn't start. Thankfully we found jumper cables and made it home.  Bought a new battery yesterday.

My personal battery is pretty weak too. Hope I find a good charge this week too, a bunch of people that want to buy paintings and replenish my bank account would be a good start.

7 comments:

Helen Killeen Bauch McHargue said...

I enjoyed your sojourn on FB ....upgraded my feed and I loved seeing all the positive response to your photos. You deserve more recognition than you get on the blog. Way more. Way, way more. As a fan of your writing too, I’m happy you’re sticking with the blog. I don’t tire of the bird photos but I’m glad you aired some of your fab portraits too.

Anonymous said...

Ok. So I did click and read your welcome back to your blog piece. I think I do well on FB because it is quick and easy. Hey how are you? Bye
Perfect for me, when half the people are only really FB friends (or associates) I joined LINKDN today to look for job opportunities, a mistake. Oh well, back to a type-writer and carbon paper for me

Love ya

Susan said...

I’ve been wandering around your blog...it’s nice to be here!
I’m looking forward to future posts!

Bengt Erik Eriksson said...

The motto of LinkedIn says it all: "Its not what you know but who you know." Thats enough for me to know that such a place is nothing for me. So I dont use it. Instagram I tried a couple of months, but there you get the strange image that everyone of the human species are curators and world travellers and artists and athletes, drinking exotic blends of coffee all day, or at least will be very soon. So I dropped out. Twitter is twitter and I can live without it. Facebook I never have been friends with. I have tried more than once and Im still a passive onlooker for a very small selection of groups but otherwise I just cant engage in it. Just like in these other platforms the self glorification and the in many cases so very obvious need to create an illusion that it is happening a lot in ones life, primarily for oneself, gives the Facebook life a sad sounding board. I guess a lot of creativity get lost in the process. But then Im a looner and I dont value high speed in itself so... I still like the really original people that keeps hanging out on Tumblr and I have discovered the potentialities that might will develop in Behance but otherwise G+ is where I feel at home. That is the only platform to my knowledge that for me gives what Im looking for when it comes to communicating in social media: People that are sharing things they have created or find worthwhile to communicate to others in a trustful, interested, curious and often very competent community with international profile. And as long as it doesnt take up time from things that in the end are more important in life I enjoy it. It gives a sense of visibility and shared experiences without having to jump onto the self promotion train.

As for your Facebook adventure, Robert, I admit honestly that I was about to delete you. You know how much I admire your photos and sympathize with your reflections and your general world view but you came like a bull into my very small Facebook stream and totally occupied it. I guess the last couple of weeks eight out of ten posts, and then I might count low, have been from you. And even though your posts were beautiful and often engaging it got to be too much, especially as they in some cases were almost to be considered like warehouses of pictures. It could be otherwise for others but for me that amount of posts, and especially depository stuff, fits better in other channels where I can go back, use search tools and so on than in a social media stream. I just cant keep the pace. I loose track of it. And that annoys me, gets me frustrated. So in the back of my mind I started to wonder why this guy that has so many wonderful things to show do it on the Facebook bandwagon, where people that have many more things in their stream than I have must be totally exhausted and just dont have the chance to take it all in. So I for one is happy with your decision to feature the blog, which I think is a better platform for the things you want to do and gives slow people like me a chance to follow you. Which is a delight.

Blue Heron said...

Bengt. Totally with you on this one, mate.

Anonymous said...

Good morning Mr Sommers,

Nice to see you're back.
I always worry when you're missing.
Although I do not have the sharing obsession myself, I see that it works for you.
I love the lazy bungalow with the airy porch analogy.
I always used to love your letters and it's good to see that you have continued playing with words.

Now that spring has finally arrived, I've been busy planting potatoes, and broad beans and garlic and chilis and tomatoes and peas and onions for the upcoming veg season.
Also trying to make a living in the tricky crazy Brexit climate. (don't get me started)

I think your sister's epitaph is very touching and one I would be happy with myself

I appreciate the birds and always up for a decent bird pic.
The music is good and often familiar to me..

So....
All good 'n all the best
Px

Anonymous said...

Wow. One of your best so far.