2020-11-23_decades-of-blogging: Joe Bustillos Media Projects

Monetary Wake Up Call After Decades of Blogging


I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a very long time and most of the time it just cost me a lot of, well, time. Besides just taking the time to write a post, there’s been the unfortunate habit of continually wanting to improve my website/blog. Often that went beyond just picking a new theme to actually switching blogging platforms And every time I switched blogging platforms I had to spend hours and days trying to move all of the old posts to the new platform. I started with LiveJournal in 2003, then got my first WordPress blog in 2005. I’ve bounced back and forth between self-hosted and WordPress.com at least four times. I’ve given SquareSpace a try twice. Then I decided that I wanted to post my images online too, and that’s been an incredible time-sucking experience. 

Flicker image account
Flickr image account

Around the time I started using WordPress (2005) I got my first Flickr account and would post every thing from any given event, like a rocket launch or concert, with little to no editing or picking just the best shots. So, especially after I went digital, it wasn’t unusual to post three-hundred images from a single event. Not particularly viewer friendly, but I thought that there must be some value to having all of the stuff posted. That idea lasted a good five years. I upgraded to a “pro” account, but eventually I soured on Flickr because it seemed to get slower and slower to just browse through my catalog and I really wanted to have more of a “blog” narrative with the image galleries. So I tried to do the huge photo album thing on WordPress. 

JBB's Media Projects - WordPress site
JBB’s Media Projects – WordPress site

That worked. Well, it was a lot of work and I switched WordPress modes a few times. I loved that I could organize the images how I wanted to and easily include a narrative. But I found it hard to keep up posting, given how many images I was generating and it seemed like WordPress has slowing down with the catalog browsing too. Then Flickr got bought out by SmugMug and that inspired me to move my huge catalog to SmugMug, which was known for hosting professional photographers. I spent weeks over the past summer working on that project. I love the speed that catalogues popped up and found a way to add the narratives to the galleries, but with the start of the new school year, adding to the online collection totally slowed down. Then there’s the reason for this whole post. 

I got the SmugMug account last year because they ran a deal when I renewed my old Flickr pro account that I’d get both services for the price of one. Imagine my surprise when I got an email telling me that I’d been charged over $200 for the account. Yeah, that really got me wondering why I’m doing all of this and how much am I really spending on this “online” existence. It was another wake-up call causing me to question whether it makes sense to be putting so much time and money into all of these pursuits. I mean, what the hell am I? 

I’m a writer who hasn’t buckled down and written the books inside of me. I’m a photographer who had fun shooting images of concerts and pretty girls but largely follower-less on social-media (not that I’ve even tried to really promote any of my stuff). And of course the Pandemic has ended all of these events for the past year. I was having fun playing music with the Some Assembly Required Band and doing Open Mic nights, to the point where I bought the domain joebustillosmusic.com. But that’s on pause. Over the past year I restarted my video podcast JBB’s Final Thoughts, but the beginning of a new school year has tended to dominate my every waking hour, from August to May sucking all of my energy away, leaving me with none to do all of these different (online) things. Then there have been several assignments I’ve been doing with my robotics students that rekindled my love of drawing and sketching…

The video that I posted a couple of weeks ago (see below), about the wanna be artist being told to do one thing every day has really hit me hard. It made me feel like I’m trying and failing to do all of these different things and not really getting anything done and certainly not generating the interest or buzz that’s needed to be continually investing in any of these endeavors. And given how from August to May all of my time is consumed with my chosen profession, teaching, something has got to give. I can’t continue to be so scattered and expect for any of these areas to get any better. I also need to think about the expense of what I’m doing with all of these online ventures.

Well, that’s one thing I’ll need to do over the break, figure out which pursuits deserve my time and investment and which ones not-so-much. But, alas, it takes time to save time and I have several responsibilities to attend to first. To be continue…

P.S., As I was in the process of posting this, I got a message from a former student, from when I taught middle school in California, over 12-years ago. The message reads:

Hello, I am a former student of yours at DeMille (class of 2008). I do not know how, but I came across your twitter page but it led me to your website and youtube channel. I’m glad you are doing good and still teaching.

I guess the universe doesn’t want me to throw it all away and go silent just yet. Interesting.

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