“Oh no, not again” is the first thing that pops into my head whenever I get emails from my dearest readers asking me to promote themselves or someone they know because they’ve joined an online popularity contest of some sort. Not a day goes by without anyone pleading for me to mention to my social network (blog, twitter, etc) to “like” or “vote” for someone. I’ve been inundated lately with such requests.

A photo of Bryanboy at Boston Burying Ground wearing Kenzo

I love my readers. I really do. It’s flattering when people email me saying they love my site. Heck, it’s flattering when they email me, period. I acknowledge AND appreciate the time and effort (as long as it’s not a cut-and-paste template). Some of them are probably just trying their luck and of course, it doesn’t hurt to do so.

However, let’s cut the lip service. If you really “love” my blog, as you say, you’ll know that I don’t no longer promote online popularity contests of any kind. I think it’s rather childish to find as many people as you can, get them to click a button and voila, popularity achieved.

Also, I don’t want a snowball effect. It’s not fair if I blog about one contest and then I’m not gonna blog about others. It’s also not fair to my other readers who sought my support in the past.

As many of you have noticed, my site is a continuous work in progress. I like to think of my blog as a little online reflection of the moment, my moment: where I am in my life, how I evolve as a person, what I’m currently interested in, what piqued my interest, what I’ve experienced, etc. As much as I adore readers who have been reading for me years, I roll my eyes over the ones who are forever stuck in the past. Can you imagine if I blogged the same way I did three years ago? Four years ago? I can’t. That would make me stale. Who wants to be served stale bread over and over and over again? One must be in touch with the moment, not the past, in order to be relevant. I admire people who have a crystal-clear, rounded vision (and they stick to it!!!) of what they share online but always remember that there’s no cookie cutter approach when it comes to blogging. What works for some may not work for others.

I was walking alone around downtown New York one afternoon last autumn. You know, just a leisurely casual stroll. When I passed by the electronics store J&R, I saw a bunch of cameras inside the window. Upon further preening, I questioned myself and my blogging style over the years — I don’t proofread, I don’t grammar-check, I type what I think without censoring, I use expletives, and here I am, still using a crappy point-and-shoot camera blah blah blah. I attempted to console my bruised ego by thinking well, people don’t go to me to read precious prose or to see high-quality, visually-stimulating photography. People go to me for my personality!

Unfortunately, trying to reason with oneself didn’t work. That’s when the guilt kicked in. To put things into perspective, I looked back at all the amazing, life-changing opportunities that have been thrown my way. It would be unfair if I didn’t evolve and strive to deliver the best that I possibly can. Not everyone will obviously find my best pleasant and of course, what I deliver at my my best is probably what someone can deliver while they are weak… but the crux of the matter here is that I tried. Nothing wrong with that. Again, life is a grand buffet. You gotta try, try and try!

I ended up buying the most affordable DSLR camera they had in stock — a Canon EOS Rebel T2i. I thought I’d go for an entry-level unit; it’s my first DSLR. I left the store with an upbeat, cheerful mood, excited at the prospect of sharing better pictures. After all, we should always, always strive for the better, if not the best. And part of this involves uplifting our personal standards.

Unfortunately, my best doesn’t include blogging about contests or encouraging online voting for other people. I’m very sorry. Please don’t take it personal.t