I’ve been using the internet for quite a while now, I wouldn’t say that I was anywhere the first, but I think I was online over 14 years ago, my first e-mail account was @yahoo.com, and I even has a @jedimail account before they got closed for infringement. My first browser was Netscape Navigator 2 and the search engine of choice was AltaVista.
Things have changed a lot since then, in those days there was no Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, or any kind of social networking beyond chat rooms and Usenet.
We are now inundated with social media and as a budding photographer and blogger it’s important for me to keep abreast of the changes and innovations that occur out there in the WWW.
I’ve been running my website for over a year now and have a respectable number of hits and page views per day, some coming from good SEO and others from links on other sites that I use. With the addition of Google+ to the social media arsenal keeping up with everything has got a bit much and something has to give. I’m sure that there must be others out there in a similar situation.
Currently I have a presence and am active on (in chronological order):
Flickr – I have been a member of Flickr since September 2007 and initially used it as an easy place to upload holiday snaps for my parents to see, since then I have honed my output somewhat. Flickr has been great for me finding people interested in the same style of photography – HDR and urban exploration and I would consider that I have made a deal of friends some who I meet regularly, others who I converse with and that I hope to meet one day. I’ve found Flickr to be an excellent resource for both hunting down locations and inspirational photos and photographers.
Facebook – I was slow on the uptake of Mark Zuckerberg’s baby and wasn’t initially keen on the fact that everyone can see everything that is added in a simple status update. I didn’t want workmates knowing that I had been down the pub all Sunday afternoon and evening before going to work the next day. However I succumbed to its lure and now am fairly comfy with its place. I use this again for urbex and photography contacts, but don’t share my profile too freely. I have no workmates on this platform, nor do I have a personal fan page for my photography.
MarkBlundellPhoto.com – My personal website and blog. Set up to showcase my work as an urbex and HDR photographer and the odd longer article such as this. Based on a WordPress back end, Photoshelter to vend images and GraphPaperPress to stick them both together with a theme. I try to update this on a daily basis.
Tumblr – used to host mobile uploads and linked from the above
Twitter – An excellent resource for up to the second information and with the addition of TweetDeck fairly easy to have a good overall view of my lists. Initially this was an absolute boon to getting traffic to my website, however with the number of people I follow it gets somewhat out of hand – too many people to follow and too many blogs to comment on, well not exactly – just not enough time to devote and cement relationships properly.
Google+ Finally I think that Google have come up with the silver bullet for social networking. A webapp that enables fate updates, segregation of groups of friends and lovely photo sharing ability, albeit with a few tweaks to stop image downloads. It’s still in its infancy however and I can see that it will eventually become all encompassing, integrating everything that we do on Google. I already have a Gmail address, use Google Maps, aggregate blog posts with Google Reader and of course Google is the defacto search engine.
The issue that I have and I and many others in a similar situation have is how best to use limited time to its full advantage. Something has to give. Many of the photographers that I know would love to make something out of their hobby and are looking for that ‘big break’ and to get that break we need to be seen, to be seen we have to get out there and cannot rely on SEO / chance so have to promote, social media is one way to do that – easily. However I like many others have a ‘proper job’ that requires attention and hard work and long hours sometimes too. On top of this we have to process images and of course have time to get out there and shoot. Most importantly we all have family and friends that we love dearly who must come first and certainly shouldn’t loose out to the social media frenzy.
The most useful innovation for me would be for TweetDeck to have G+ integration, then I really would have a great all in one solution – everything that I want to view in one place, in one window, on one screen. The ability to cross post from each platform – Twitter / FB / G+ / Flickr from my website would also save a great deal of time.
I can happily keep Facebook to friends only but see myself drifting away from that medium. Twitter will remain as a great source of instant information and news, but as most of the people I interact with there are also on G+ I may leave the RT’s on auto. I will still post to Flickr and link to my website, but the bottom line is that I can see that Google has me from all angles and as they innovate the pull will only get stronger.