Social media platforms…

how much do you really “like” them?

DSC_5660Whether via social media or in person, building your relationships is a long-term process, and the ultimate goal is to strengthen your network one person at a time.

Raymond Arroyo

A conversation that took place the other night got me thinking about engagement and the rather overwhelming choices of platforms on which we could spend our time.

Their value certainly can’t be dismissed as we try to build our own brand as artists but for me it comes down to balance.

I’ll be the first to admit that marketing is not and never has been my strong point. I admire those who have the skill and determination to amass thousands and millions of “followers” generating “likes” at anything that gets posted, be it of quality or mediocrity.

The reality for me and I suspect for many of my followers is a daily struggle of managing time. Without detailing the obvious time commitments of family and relationships, many others spring to mind.

As a photographer I need to be photographing and sunset doesn’t put an end to that for me as I am passionate about long exposure night shots. There is the inevitable shot selection and editing. From there I update my website at least on a weekly basis: adding, subtracting, and tightening. A year and a half ago I started this blog and I post once a week. Fortunately words come easily to me and I love the opportunity to share inspiration and encouragement. Worrying about hitting the peak time for posting to the widest audience possible in order to garner those “likes” is just not something that I can devote time to. I’m happy to just keep my commitment of a weekly post.

My images have a physical presence in town with matted and framed, only matted, and greeting cards that needs to be kept fresh and replenished. I owe that to the business that has the faith in me to carry my work. I make a special effort to attend any openings where the opportunity to engage in face to face conversations about my work could occur. If you want to feel a real sense of connection , a feeling that your work is meaningful, take time to connect face to face with the people who buy your work.

My FB page is more to maintain the connection to family, friends, and groups of interest that I don’t have time to spend with because of all of the above. Instagram, Twitter,  Periscope…hats off if you can keep it all going, I cannot.

I’m grateful to have had some of my images shared by hundreds and liked by thousands but that’s not an everyday experience and when it does happen it feels like a hint of validation especially when it occurs amongst my peers.

Does this make my work any less valuable when this doesn’t happen? No, I don’t believe so and neither should you if you don’t garner the likes and shares that you think that you should. I follow some incredibly brilliant photographers whose “likes” on posted images do not come anywhere close to being a barometer of the quality of their work. Studies on hitting the “like” button indicate a variety of reasons that people do so and many of those reasons are not based on the quality of the post.

I’m grateful for the “likes” from my wordpress followers. I’m grateful for the “likes” from my FB friends. I truly value the comments that are made because I realize how inundated people are by social media and when someone takes that extra moment to share a thought…believe me it is valued.

Remember that word association game where someone gives you a word and you say the first thing that springs to mind?

I’d love to play it now.

Artist.

Rollercoaster.

8 thoughts on “Social media platforms…”

  1. Integrity (continuing the word play game). I’m beginning to grasp the sense that the social media game is definitely one that some play better than others, and it’s not my forte either, but as an artist it is invaluable as a sort of arm’s-length, exponential way of communicating without having to go too far from the safety of the introverted bubble. I write, make and do things for myself now, for the process, the learning, the expressive value, and I put it out there but make no effort at all to market or propagate it. Perhaps that’s a flaw, a failing as a businessperson, but it’s where I feel comfortable and truest to myself in the social web – safely at its periphery.

  2. Vulnerability….thanks for putting yourself out there Sheryl! As a fan of your work, I admire your thoughtful words and creative photos and how it exposes the inner you. We all risk something of ourselves on the web, but I do like the connection with others that I prefer face to face, but cannot always make happen.

  3. Words of wisdom, you are voicing my thoughts of overwhelming media. I love your image, catching the beautiful light. Thank you for posting!

  4. Your image is a beauty – I’m the starburst on that delicately coloured world :)))…well, that’s how I choose to read it today. A valuable conversation, this one about social media. For the past month I have been out of the loop, having been time-strapped while on holiday or having no connection or data. It was an interesting experience because it was so unexpectedly nice. Uncomfortable at times, but nice too. Caring a lot about our (creative) efforts can often translate to extra time spent producing them, and as you point out, it’s actual time that we could do with a little more of, or improved time management, if you will. Will I reduce the time I spend in front of a screen from here on…or won’t I? It remains to be seen!

    1. You most definitely are the starburst! I just feel that we don’t need to have creativity hampered by spending more time throwing things out into the void. Most certainly success, however one views it, comes more slowly by taking this path but it’s rather freeing to step away. I’m so glad that you did!

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