Blue-Violet Iris Interior

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Evolution of Mouse in a Digital Era

Poor Mouse.

From November of 2007 to July of 2011, I was all about Mouse. I took thousands of photographs of him, he got to travel with me to California and Arizona, I started selling the photos, I wrote a children's book featuring him that I actually sent off to a publisher (it was rejected), I was working on a second children's book, and then I got that darn concussion last summer. Since then, things just haven't been the same.

"What happened?" Mouse wonders.

Part of it is directly related to the concussion and my ability to work on a complex project. I haven't had the energy and mental agility to research publishers and agents and to track down the final props for the alphabet book photos. Other factors have included Etsy's switch from displaying search results according to recency to results according to relevancy in August of 2011. Before the switch, as long as I renewed a listing every day, my photos came up high in the results. With the new search, the keywords that you use to "tag" your listings matter most and I have yet to figure out how to attract shoppers the way I used to. According to my stats, the drop-off isn't too severe, but before the switch, I was included in an average of 15 treasuries every month. Now, the number is closer to three.

So cold and alone...

Mouse has also been the victim of the success of my macro photo shop. I had just started taking mouse-free photos prior to the concussion and that's what I've focused on since. Items from my macro shop have been featured in an average of 55 treasuries a month. It receives five times the number of visitors and eight times more listings marked as favorites. It's much more rewarding, especially since I have only a very limited amount of time to devote to activities like making listings, to expend my energy on projects related to my non-mouse photography.

Also, Mouse and my new camera don't really mix. My fabulous 100mm macro lens has a very shallow depth of field--too small to contain more than a fraction of Mouse! That means if his eyes are in focus (which is most critical), his nose and his ears are just barely in range and the rest of his body, much less whatever he's posing with, is out of focus. This isn't so much of a problem with the 18-55mm lens that came with the camera, but I find that lens virtually useless for anything else, so I seldom have it on the camera unless I have a specific project for it. And Mouse is pretty banged up from twenty years of life, much of it spent as a plaything, something that is maybe a little TOO clear when captured in all those megapixels!

The eye on the right is in focus in this photo, but that means the eye on the left is out of focus!

Mouse's face is in focus in this image, but the tiny flowers he's posing with are not.

Poor battered little dude.

But there's something else. I have to confess, I've gotten bored of Mouse.

Have you ever had the experience where you've repeated an ordinary word over and over and over to yourself until it has come to seem totally absurd? That's how I've started feeling about Mouse. He just seems weird. I find myself unable to fathom why anyone WOULD want a picture with a mouse in it and that makes it very hard to promote him when I've lost faith in his appeal! I still love the idea of him as a children's book character, but the whole art thing has seemed increasingly bizarre. I am disenchanted with Mouse.

"What!?! But I'm so charming!"

But there is good news for Mouse fans (of which there are, thankfully, many among my acquaintance!) because this last week, I suddenly had a resurgence of interest in my little wooden friend.

Now, I've never gotten into Twitter because I've felt like it would be redundant--I'd be posting the same updates as I have on my photography Facebook page except without the benefit of being able to upload all the photos. I try to conserve my energy and having a c.creativity Facebook account AND a Twitter account didn't seem worth it. But then my mother was asking me if I'd ever considered being on Twitter and for some reason, it suddenly occurred to me that MOUSE could be on Twitter and that idea appealed to me immensely! It's bugged me that you can only connect your Facebook page to one of your shops on Etsy and I have it linked to my macro store, since that's where most of the action is. But if Mouse could have his own social media platform... I liked the sound of that!


So now Mouse has a Twitter account! The idea behind it is that he's tweeting from his perspective and I hope, over time, to develop a sort of voice for him. It's completely reawakened my interest in Mouse. I've started taking photos of him specifically so they can go up on Twitter and when I'm awake at night, instead of thinking of Words I Like (what, you don't spend your hours of insomnia creating mental lists of words you find appealing?), I've started coming up with ideas for tweets! I've always thought Mouse had a lot of personality for such a simple object, so I'll work on developing it now through a new medium, though I hope it will also rekindle my desire to spruce up his Etsy shop. Mouse, of course, is very pleased to be getting attention again and hopes to see you on Twitter!


  1. Sounds like a full new life for Mouse :)

    A friend of mine did Alphabet books about 20 years ago and she used different colors as well as objects very effective, good luck with your book :)

    Take care, cheers, T. :)

  2. I love Mouse! I like that he is a little beat up, I mean, aren't we all? And his twitter is so much fun. Don't give up on him!


  3. Aw. I completely identify. Did you know I ended up hating horses after doing my New College thesis? I am glad to hear you've gotten re-inspired with Mouse. :)