My Best Of 2017
Taking a look at my output in 2017, what’s changed, what worked, what didn’t and what 2018 might have in store.
As 2017 draws to an end, it’s time to review the year. This was a pretty big year, with lots of personal and professional changes. So, it was fascinating to take a look through the year’s writing and see which articles got the most views and attracted the most comments.
By far the most read article of the year was The Virtual Film Camera Exercise, a short and somewhat simple blogpost, which clearly helped a lot of people. Though, as is so often surprisingly the case, despite all the traffic, there were no comments on the blog (though there were plenty of responses on Twitter).
Why I Deleted The Twitter App From My Phone (along with 122 others) did attract a few comments, along with a lot of emails and quite a bit of discussion on social media. A lot of people said they were going through a similar process, trying to change their relationship to their smartphones, to social media and the internet in general.
My about page was again one of the most viewed pages on this site and I would guess it’s probably been in the top ten every year since I added it. About pages are so important for new visitors. They are often the first place we look for once we’ve read whatever piece brought us to a site.
There were several other articles that stood out, either because of the traffic they attracted, or the heartfelt responses I received. Rockfella was an unusual photo essay, some images I made in New York back in 2015 that I only got around to posting a few weeks ago. Fake Rules was a personal experience which mirrored some of the important conversations we are all having about gender and social norms. Lunchtime was a short piece of creative non-fiction and also a study in the kind of writing (and the kind of mindset) I working to attain. Ending The Day Well was another little lesson, about how to finish the working day, which also marked the way my writing has evolved during the year and how my focus has increasingly shifted towards the question of living well.
Meanwhile – On Twitter
My use of, and in many ways my passion for, Twitter has decreased during 2017. I started the year on a long break from Twitter (which I wrote about here) and took another break in the middle of the year (which I’ve already mentioned). It was tough to pick out many good memories, but these three attracted a bit of attention & led to some good conversations. It felt like a very fragmented year for many Twitter users.
Snow Monkies pic.twitter.com/TLZURZfBFi
— Fernando Gros (@fernandogros) February 17, 2017
When Japanese homework become surreal pic.twitter.com/z9duaLwR0D
— Fernando Gros (@fernandogros) May 8, 2017
Most "only in Japan" stories aren't "only in Japan" stories. They're "writer only has experience of Japan & their home country" stories.
— Fernando Gros (@fernandogros) September 25, 2017
While my love for Twitter has faded, I’ve found a renewed passion for Instagram, with a change of strategy that saw me posting more of my better images and also using a proper hashtag strategy to make the work easier to find. I’m finding it easier to be looser and more poetic on Instagram now.
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~ A Sunset Web ~ I'm always surprised by the colours of Adelaide's sunsets. They evolve over an afternoon and are often radically different from one day to the next in a way I haven't quite experienced anywhere else 🌅 . . . . #photography #photographer #travelgram #travelphotography #travel #instatravel #picoftheday #photooftheday #australia #adelaide #nikon #nikond90 #tokyophotography #tokyo #worldtravel #worldtraveler #centralpark #art #music #australianphotographer #landscape #story #landscapephotography #sunset #blog #ocean #beach #sunsetphotography
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~ Open & Calm ~ I try to make photos that express inner desires and appreciation of nature. Sometimes the two happen at the same time 🙏🏻 . . . . #photography #photographer #travelgram #travelphotography #travel #instatravel #picoftheday #photooftheday #australia #adelaide #nikonphotography #nikond90 #tokyophotography #tokyo #worldtravel #worldtraveler #centralpark #art #music #australianphotographer #landscape #story #landscapephotography #sunset #blog #ocean #waves #beach #sunsetphotography
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Another year – another birthday. The past 365 days were hard but better than the previous set. More clarity & hope for the future. This year saw me intentionally slow down, draw closer to nature, and refine what I have to offer you as an artist. Thank you for taking the time to look at these photos, for listening, reading & talking with me over the past year 🙏🏻 . . . #tokyophotographer #fujifilmphotography #photography #photographer #dailyphoto #picoftheday #photooftheday #australia #flowers #landscape #landscapephotography #garden #outdoors #travel #instatravel #travelgram #travelblogger #inspiration #birthday #gratitude
Misteps and False Starts
I had high hopes for YouTube and also for my Mailing List in 2017 but both kind of fell by the wayside. I’m not sure the weekly vlogging format works well for me. Trying to shoot video with the iPhone 5S was no fun. Same could be said for editing video in Adobe Premiere Pro. In 2018 I will relaunch my YouTube channel and while I’m still undecided on what to do there, it is clear the gear review videos were more attractive than the vlogs, low quality video is a passion-killer and I need a different editing solution.
The mailing list was a casualty of my drive to spend less time online. Writing for and managing a mailing list is a cloud based activity and I haven’t been good in recent years at doing online work in a deep, focussed and undistracted way. The time I have spent online has mostly gone into improving this site.
New Site New Store
In late 2017 this site got a major overhaul, a big change from the last design, from early 2015. While all the original blogposts, back to 2004, are still here, the layout, reading experience, and navigation are all new. And there’s a store! It’s been years since I had a cash-register of some kind on my site. It feels great to have one again, a proper, easy to use online store for the things I make. The new zine, Modularity, is one of the first new products I’ve offered through the store and I’m very thankful to the team at Made Neat for all the work that went into building this site.
Thoughts For 2018
I’ll be starting 2018 in a very mixed mood. These are hard times for independent creatives, freelancers and artists. Changes to online algorithms, platform monetisation, and the potential collapse of net neutrality seem to be building a world where it’s going to be harder to get noticed, seen, and heard.
But, on a personal level, I feel optimistic. Having gone through a year of decoupling from all side projects, refocusing my work and reflecting on how I want to live my life I feel good about 2018. The day-to-day of life is slow, peaceful, and satisfying. I have shorter to-do lists and the things I get done are better than a year or two ago. As I spend less time online I feel freer.
Slower, better, freer – that feels like a motto for 2018!
So, as always thank you again for your time and attention during 2017 and I hope you will join me in 2018 for more creative fun and experimentation and chasing fresh ideas for living well and doing better in a challenging world. Peace on earth, goodwill to all.