What happens when a personal blogging project stalls? If the expectations for the blog rest mainly with the person who came up with the idea in the first place, does anyone else notice, or care?
Telling Storeys, the microblog I created a few months ago to photograph, document and share the buildings of Birmingham has had an interesting run so far but I find myself in a quandary.
The idea started life with me striding around the city armed with just the camera on my phone, randomly snapping pictures then researching buildings with the limited resources I have (a couple of architectural guide books). I then published the photos with a description onto a Tumblr blog and using the scheduling function I would line up several posts at once, and arrange for a tweet to be automatically sent through a dedicated twitter account whenever a post goes live. The system seemed to work well.
So far I have attempted to keep things very simple: one photo and no more information under the image than absolutely necessary – name of the building, location, architect, year of construction and any other facts that I deemed to be interesting. I didn’t want the site to become too cluttered and I figured a photo and brief description was enough to pique the interest of the reader, and might encourage them to seek out further information themselves. I was hoping to inspire readers to just be a bit more interested in the architecture of the city.
Fast forward a few months and things are a little different. The more observant will have noticed that activity has slowed almost to a stop. I had a break for a couple of months, then realised I had to start spreading my remaining content out – stretching it to 3 or 4 posts a months (ish). Over the last few months, opportunities for me to photograph buildings as I walk around the city have become virtually non-existent which leaves me with no more content for the site. You see, I hadn’t ever thought that I would be finishing the year 8 months pregnant with twins (waddling a couple of hundred yards is a challenge – striding around a city taking photos is definitely off the cards).
Originally I thought Telling Storeys might tire because of the time it takes to upload photos to Tumblr and look the building up, but this, as it turns out, is the easy bit. It’s the old problem of simply not having enough content to sustain the idea.
So, what next? Well, I’m not going to be able to solve the content generation problem myself for a good few months at least. So is there an easy way that the site might self-generate (good quality) content? Should I ask people to submit images to Tumblr and just see what happens? It might be interesting to see where it takes itself.
Alternatively, should I try and find someone to help me by taking the site on for a while? With more content and more people shouting about it, I know it could do well – I had a really positive response when I set it up so it has potential.
Or finally, does anyone really mind if I take a few months off and drop back onto it when I have more time? Am I worrying too much? After all, this is a project that was created purely out of my own interest in Birmingham’s architecture. No-one is paying me to run the site, but a couple of hundred people seem interested enough to follow the tumblr and twitter accounts, so there is a certain pressure not to let them down.
I know I got myself into this, but what would you do?
Putting it another way: help!