Elderly man sitting alone in a chair sunbathing at the Los frailes beach in , Baja California
Lesson 1. Chatrooms, forums and irc
Do not quit your day job, sell all your things and head out into the world hoping to live from selling the fine art pictures you take through the net. It will not happen. I have been there and tried that before all the social media started really flowing and it has left me with nothing but nice memories and bunch of the best photographs I have taken, but I am broke. Chatrooms and forums are for amateures and lensporn, with very few exceptions. The most you can gain out of it is a good quarel if you use stronger words than yes and no in your image critisism. Want to get close to a troll with out traveling to Norway than this is your area. There is no lack of trolls in the photography forums.
Lesson 2. Facebook
Do not count on the jungle telephone of Facebook. You are not lost cat. Post from you or about you might be liked but not shared. You should not be surprised or angry at people close to you that do not share every thing you write. Sometimes they do not see it some times they do not understand that you want them to share and some time they just are to tired to write some thing. But you get their likes and you like their likes. Even Scott Kelby struggles with shares. Looking at his shares and what gets shared should calm you down and remember, unless your hamster needs brain surgery you will not get super share or sponsors.
Lesson 3. Twitter
Twitter is like the rain. Most of the time its just overflows and you feel like you are drowning but once in a wile you like it. You should not be surprised if your tweets do not take of and get massive retweet. You are not trying to be funny, nor are you posting a quote from some thinker every one is already puking over. You are posting some thing new that people might have to think about and people are scared of new things making them think, except if it is a new gift or new free headband from your favorite groceries store that does not make them think about any thing but shopping. If your tribe of followers counts less than 10.000 forget result but expect nice interaction now and then.
Lesson 4. Instagram
Instagram is good. That is if you are into foods and pets. Food photography and landscape photography that makes people forget that they live on this earth is some thing that makes you very popular and you get all those fine hearts and maybe even some comments. Unless you are a girl that thinks she is the chosen one for the next big thing of fashion blogging forget about being noticed, well if you manage to gather a tribe that equals the population of Reykjavik you get a shot at it.
Lesson 5. Pintrest
Sorry if you are not taking images of cupcakes and handbags you can forget becoming interested on Pintrest. Maybe if you post lots and lots of sunsets and dreamy landscapes you can make it, especially if the dreamy landscape includes unicorn, woman in white dress bareback on top of black stallion galloping on a beach or barefoot couple drawing hearts in the sand beach of a remote Island. If you can fit all of this in one picture and add a waterfall you are the winner.
Lesson 6. Linkedin
That is the place where all the amateurs telling them selfs that they are pro hang out and try to get the pros that lurk there behind a rock to share their secrets of fast success now and how to remove red eyes in photoshop elements. It is unlikely that you gain any thing out of posting there but you can have fun there once in a blue moon but be careful no one understands sarcasm in the internet world. Not even the pros when they stick their nose out.
Lesson 7. G+
If you are not Trey Ratcliff Chase Jarvis or Scott Kelby you are doomed. Well maybe not. If you where one of the early adopters and you are frequently posting 2- 5 times a day on G+ you stand a chance. You need to be in lot of groups and be very active, almost to the point of having to hire some one to post on your behalf if you want to have time to do some photography. That is what most of the big names do so go get a secratery with social media skills now. You can become a star in the G+ world (even though no one out side of it knows of you) but then you will have to have lot of videos, e-books, apps and craps and sweatbands to give away. If you do not have some thing to give and you are not into landscape and lens porn you will have a hard time. For a photographer wanting to connect to other photographers this is the place though.
Lesson 8. My space
sounds like shouting in a cave. If you like being alone listening to lot of weird music myspace is the place to hang out in, otherwise go visit your grandmother you will get more out of it.
So to sum this up does social media suck. Yes it does if you are not big in terms of followers. To become big you have to set up a strategy stick to it and then its like the rest of things in photography, endurance. Build a tribe and you will succeed, don't build a tribe and you will fail. Building a tribe can take a lot of time so you better pick out 2-3 medias and work on them, post daily and have some thing to say. Share what you like of what others have to say. Don't be to eager and spam the channels with every thing you can get your hands on about photography. Be true to your self and things will happen (or not). If they wont happen at least you tried and made some new friends while at it
This article is based on (not so) loose research and my laziness on social media. Not cat was harmed during the writing of this article.
Stay tuned, stay happy