The Whole Social Thing
Since writing about leaving Flickr and 500px I’ve fielded a lot of questions and comments from fellow photographers. A few have applauded the move, some even followed suit. Others questioned my wisdom. But, most expressed broad agreement with the critique, while deciding to wait and see how the platforms evolve (or not) over the coming year.
To be honest, my move away from Flickr and 500px is really just the tip of the iceberg. I’m questioning the whole social media exercise and the manysemi-dormant versions of myself that exist online. I’ve lost interest in Google+, will probably delete my Pinterest and am looking hard at my social music accounts as well. I long ago forgot what the point of LinkedIn even was. Overall, I’m really questioning the effort that goes into maintaining and trying to grow all these avatars.
Or, to put it another way, I’m sicking of blowing up other people’s balloons.
The two places where I do invest time and have built community are this blog and Twitter. And, both are doing OK. In fact, I’ve managed to double this site’s traffic in 2012 (over 2011) and my Twitter followers have also more than doubled in the same stretch of time.
But, all these other social media sites, which I’ll admit are second tier in importance for me, don’t grow, even when I focus a disproportionate amount of time on them.
There’s a common wisdom that suggests we should spread ourselves over all these services as a way to maximise our reach – or something. Except, what I find is, the people who followed me on Flickr, or 500px also read this blog or at least, follow me on Twitter. The overlap is uncanny and undermines the “be-on-everything” argument.
Meanwhile WordPress keeps going from strength to strength. I’ve used WordPress to run this site since 2004 and I’ve been particularly impressed with how the software has matured in recent years and managed to keep pace with the need to integrate social services.
The most successful posts of the year (in terms of traffic) have been heavily shared on social media, but largely, this sharing has been independent (or very loosely connected) to my “marketing” efforts.
And, photos I post on this site get more views than my images on Flickr and 500px ever did. And, as I mentioned last week, the photographers I most admire don’t spread themselves over every service available. Those two reasons are more than enough for me to question whether there is a better way.