The two week free trial I had in place for Glass comes up for renewal today and I am really conflicted. To the point where I think I might sit and wait for a bit before jumping in. Granted the cost is only £26 for a year currently, so what I stand to loose is minimal — but what I stand to gain isn’t exactly much either.
I stand by much of the thoughts I had originally in that I do really like the way it works. The founders of the company really seem to want to make something great for photographers, and I trust them to stay stead fast on their founding aim to avoid all of the social trappings spoken about when pitching the app. However my worry is I just want anything but Instagram and this is just the latest in a long line of attempts to replace it.
These thoughts on getting into yet another social platform do not happen in a vacuum either. Since diving back into taking pictures I have been thinking about what kind of pictures I like to take and also why I enjoying taking pictures in the first place. Worry isn’t the right word to use, but I certainly think about who I take photos for and why I share them. The words I use to describe it can have lots of delusions of grandeur. Using words like “artistic” and “self expression” when in reality they could simply be to try and make me look cool on the internet.
A Bit Of Validation
I havn’t quite found my ‘thing’ yet and as such take very varied photos, and the reality is I want other people to like them. They are taken as much for me as they are other people and I do worry constantly about making them good enough to share because they are important to me. James Popsys talked about making his photos about something, not just of something. Which really speaks to me when I start to think about capturing a split second of a scene and try to tell the story of why I took that image. Composing a story in one split second when the world around is constantly changing is like meditation to me.
But with all this fluffiness going on, turns out I like my images being validated and Glass doesn’t do that for me. I know this is the whole reason the platform was built, and I agree with its goal but maybe I just don’t need that at this point in my journey. I have a sinking feeling that my photos are not good enough when compared with the smaller number but higher percentage of actual photographers on Glass and they just disappear into the app.
When I scroll through the app, the people I follow are also very minimal. Many of those that flocked to the app have fallen off already, with many more to follow once the end of their two weeks trial arrives. In which case I may be left with a ghost town of dead accounts and photos that all seem to look the same.
Although they are improving things slowly the discovery is not where I want it to be, and the resultant people to follow list features loads of people that take the same kind of pictures and offer me very little in return. Invites are specificity being shared with a more diverse pool of photographers currently but even that doesn’t seem to have moved the needle yet. It doesn’t have much to do with diversity, but everything to do with an iPhone only, invite only barrier to entry — which could be intentional.
I knew this newness would wear off, and I knew that I had reservations right from the start. Don’t mistake this post for a full on trashing as I still think that in the long run apps like this are needed – I just don’t think it is for me currently. Turns out I quite like getting a few likes.
Update: Follow up here where I changed my mind and went back!