I was telling someone recently about the beginnings of 365 and it got me all nostalgic for the good old days. It’s kinda weird. When the movement first started getting popular a lot of people wanted me to cap the group off at 100 members or 365 members. They felt like it made it mode special. I didn’t want to though because to me it was all about personal self-discovery. And who am I to say that someone else couldn’t discover themselves because they came later.
It was also neat because around 1000 members or so it became pretty clear that I was creating my own little cult. Having a cult was kinda nice. Sure, it might have been nicer if it had gotten me like 47 devoted wives and maybe some tasty Kool-Aid, but it was nice nonetheless.
Now 365Days is a community of 14,984 members. We should hit 15K by the end of the week. All of the old guard, except myself has since tired of the concept and moved on. In a lot of ways I’m tired of it too. The main reason I keep going is ego. At this point, I’ve been doing this longer than anyone on flickr of which I am aware. 1131 days and I’ve never missed one. It’s a streak that I’m proud of. And I couldn’t live with myself if I just gave up and someone managed to pass me someday. So I just keep going. The Lou Gherig of the internet, and Cal Ripken can have my record when he pries it from my cold dead hands.
And the new kids? They don’t even know who I am, it seems. What’s the use of having your own cult when they don’t recognize you as HighFather. There was a time when I made explore at least once a week. When a thousand people wanted to check in and see how my day went no matter how mundane. These days, I’m amazed when I get 10 comments on a photo.
And it’s not the people’s fault. I mean, I admit, I’m not into it as much anymore. I don’t have anything left to proove. Clearly I can take a photo every day for a year. I don’t think anyone doubts that I could do it every day for five years (I’m a little over three now, for those paying attention). Really the accomplishment will be when someone notices I’ve been doing it for like 50 years and didn’t miss a day til I died.
But half the time I phone it in these days. Life just got too busy, and gets in the way. I have my comic as my primary creative outlet from day to day, and I probably devote more time to building a Zivity presence for my photography than I do to flickr.
But I miss it. I miss the comradery of the old guard. I miss feeling like there were people going through the same process as I am. I don’t really feel the same connection with most of the new kids. They’re not really "going through" the same process. They’re learning how to take a pic every day for a year. I did that already. I’m in the world of "how do you keep it interesting during the 4th year."
The world has changed.