Let’s blog in 2019

This post won’t be about photography but it does fit in the general scheme of things and it does touch the photography profession.

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Medium.. what do they have in common? They have users providing free content for these platforms. I say free because I believe what these platforms give back to the user is not real.

The momentary satisfaction that comes from likes and short copy & paste comments is ephemeral — a couple of interesting studies even described how bad it is for our mental health.

The exposure for our businesses or creative outcome is also limited, unless we accept playing by their rules (and eventually investing real money in advertisement).

Ricoh GR II.

If you think of it, what a perfect plan these companies had: just build a website and app, convince people that it is in their interest to fill your platform with their content. For free. After that, sell their data and fill the platform with ads. Profit. I applaud as such a brilliant marketing plan, but I can’t stop seeing that I get nothing valuable in return. It is mostly a one way exchange.

Ricoh GR II.

Before Facebook changed the rules we were writing on our own blogs. Blogspot/Blogger and WordPress were platforms used for expressing yourself according to your own rules. You could post all you wanted (provided you were not breaking the law). You could make your blog similar to yourself, unique. You could follow other bloggers, build a real community with a focus. What happened to that?

We gave up all that freedom for the mirage of greater exposure, and for the instant gratification connected to push notifications. These social networks made it so easy to “like” a post, until this fact became empty. There can be no real value in something that is requiring no efforts.

In past if someone liked your blog post he wrote a comment to let you know that. This required a certain amount of time and care. Nowadays it is a matter of a single or double tap on a screen.

We accepted watching countless ads on Instagram every day, we accepted being told what to post and what not, we accepted having less meaningful feedback, as long as it is instant.

Ricoh GR II.

We became obsessed with statistics like the number of followers and likes, which are absolutely pointless from every point of view, unless you want to sell ads and your business requires huge numbers.

I am still on Instagram and Twitter though in a very marginal way (see my point of view on Instagram here if you want). I never had Facebook and never will. Everyone keeps telling me I need Facebook for my business, but I tell you, my business is doing just great without Facebook, because I spend time studying and improving, instead of wasting it on Facebook. Being a trusted professional, behaving like a professional is expected to do, being prepared, kind, having a good portfolio, learning how to deal with clients, this all brings something good for our business.

Social media are not needed for improving your business. It is a myth. The only business you are improving is Facebook’s one.

Ricoh GR II.

So, I decided to start blogging again in 2019. If someone will find my blog and appreciate my content, fine. If they don’t, it is still fine, because I enjoy creating this content and I don’t do it for likes and followers.

A blog has no followers, no subscribers, no likes. It is all about providing content to viewers (not to a multinational) and the eventual feedback in form of comments or emails. It can’t get more honest than this, and I love it. If the visitor takes the time to write a comment, this has value — even a single comment is more valuable than thousands of double tapped likes.

I remember when in 2013 Google killed its popular Google Reader, a software for managing blog subscriptions. At the time it seemed a crazy move and Google never gave a convincing reason. Nowadays I think it is all clear. They wanted to move people away from a free (as in free speech) platform like the network of blogs, pushing them to social media. Google created Google Plus in 2011 and they wanted people to leave blogs and move to their social network. How can you control and monetise thousands of blogs, each one with its own personality and content, without common rules? How can you interpret and sell their data.. how can you actually own their data? How can you sell ads on them? You can’t, so blogging had to be turned into something not practical and not trendy.

Making blogging less practical and pushing everyone to social networks solved the problem indeed. Now we are all somewhat controlled, forced to obey to rules, slowly adapted to the requirements of their ads and data businesses.

If a social network closes, we lose it all. We could be given the chance to export our posts and media maybe, but what about the comments, the messages, the feedback in general? What about the SEO relevance we thought we acquired? It is all lost.

Ricoh GR II.

Like many, I lived Internet from the moment it arrived and I saw how it changed our lives. So many of its opportunities turned into greed. For a while it was an incredible way for communicating and sharing, and now it is being turned into emptiness, where we are just required to buy, subscribe, give up rights, invest time in producing free content for multimillion companies, consuming media, absorbing ads, accepting being censored or banned.

Can we wake from this? Can we still share meaning and escape the mechanisms social networks injected in our minds? I believe we can, and we should.

We can still create blogs and connect to each other. Some people will think this is too much work, and that’s fine: we should accept that not everyone is a content creator, and it is just fine to live without publishing stuff on the net. We are constantly being told we are all content creators, but we are not. And it is fine. We can still be great people and do so many things even if we don’t constantly share it with strangers on internet.

Ricoh GR II.

Lets’ write blogs again, then, maybe subscribing to mailing list of blogs we care for, so we get a notification when a new post is online. That’s all. All these tools are free. No one will own our content except us. No one will censor us. No stats to drive us crazy. No frustration because the social network X changed its algorithm.

I want to try this and see if it makes me feel better. I will write articles that I think could be useful to someone. I will say what I feel I need to say, no matter if someone will find it and read it. Of course, photography will be the main topic here. Photography reviews, practice as a professional, theory and philosophy — and visual arts in general from time to time. I like this project, a lot. And this is real for me.

The cover photo was shot with a Lumia 950 in Moscow. In my opinion still the best smartphone camera. I’m an iPhone user since when Microsoft destroyed Lumia/Nokia, and I miss such a good camera in my pocket. The rest of the photos are shot with a Ricoh GR II during a photowalk with Inna in Olbia.


  1. Tante grazie caro signore Bianco! In fronte al bellissimo lago di Bolsena io mando le mie auguri per un blog splendido!
    Finally I found another person with a clear and similar view of todays situation of the internet and photography. (You images catch a warmth and feeling that is outstanding!) I will check back regularly.
    Tanti Saluti Lorenzo

    1. Thank you very much for your comment and congrats for your Italian 🙂 I hope you will find the next posts to be also interesting. Have a great day and thanks again, this kind of human feedback is why one of the reasons I am doing the blog in first place.

    1. I think times are changing and blogs will make a comeback, unless social platforms do some other move against them. I know a lot of popular influencers and they are all unhappy with Instagram and Facebook. Everyone is looking for a different platform, a different way.

    1. Hey there, thanks for stopping by! It is nice to read about other bloggers 🙂 I heard the XF 18mm is not a very good lens if compared to other ones on the X system, this is one of the reasons that kept me distant from Fuji.. a good 28mm equivalent is something I can’t do without. And I do love the lens on the GR 🙂

  2. I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve just said Andrea. I find social media a total waste of time. I tried to start a blog according my passion for photography a while ago but I haven’t put much effort yet because my free time is very limited. But in my future plans is to create content to share with my friends. I enjoy very much reading your posts and your photography with Ricoh GRii made me buy one for myself a month ago. What a beautiful little gem! Though I shot film a lot in the past, I think that having a camera like grii in your pocket makes you shooting more and have fun with every click of the leaf shutter. Hope you continue to post such beautiful stuff and photos! Thank you. A follower from Greece.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Dimitris, it made me very happy! I hope you will appreciate the next posts too, I just published a very long one. Best greetings from Italy (Sardinia) to your wonderful, important and precious land.

      1. I just read your post about pen-f! What a beautiful piece of writing according m43. My “main” camera system for the last 3 years is an omd em10ii with 17/1.8 and 45/1.8. I must admit that 2 or 3 times I had been very close to sell it and go for a bigger sensor but finally I am glad that I didn’t. For my kind of photography is more than enough. Thanks again for sharing such sincere points of view. Your photos are amazing regardless the camera. It’s the photographer that counts after all, not the black box. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!

        1. Thanks for your comment! What you are saying is defining the core issue I think: marketing wants us to believe we always are in possession of something that is “not enough” and so we should trade it for something better. Escaping this fallacy and creating with what we have is important, and the only way for understanding if what we own is really “not enough”. Thanks again!

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