Using “social media” to share/promote photography

Bend in the Road

Key: R20091219-164956

I ran across two interesting posts from photographers about Facebook yesterday: Doug Plummer is embracing the use of FB and Twitter to drive traffic to his blog, while Elizabeth Fleming is breaking an addiction to FB to use precious time in more productive ways. These are not opposing viewpoints, per se, but they raised a question that has been bubbling in the back of my mind to the forefront: what is utility, if any, of the new “social media” sites in sharing or promoting your work as a photographer (“professional” or otherwise) vs. how thinly can you spread yourself?

I’ve eschewed Twitter so far because, like Elizabeth, time is so very precious right now and I can’t see the utility of multitasking online activity so frequently so as to dilute any blocks that I may manage to put together.   It took me a while to “get” Facebook, and, insofar as I get it, mostly I am using it sparingly to keep in touch with old friends, dispersed friends, family, etc. But what I am noticing about FB is that there is a very different demographic and much bigger audience there than I see on the blogosphere. What is clear is that there are an awful lot of people who “get” FB and have evolved their online lives to where that is the central focus, radiating outwards. I do not doubt that Twitter is similar.

I’m not about to start populating lots of alternative sites with my photographs and longer thoughts–the blog is perfect for that and I have concerns about rights issues that have been raised regarding FB.  What I am doing, like Doug, is starting to post links to my blog postings on FB. This is a quick operation, and essentially plants a convenient link with a thumbnail and some preview text right in the middle of a large alternative audience to that of the blogosphere. These aren’t the same sort of folks reading my posts out of a RSS reader.  I’ll see over time how it affects traffic to the site, but I know there are a lot of folks there that I can share my photography with that wouldn’t otherwise even be aware of it–they don’t have the time or inclination to check my site otherwise and by in large, I’m guessing most of them don’t even know what an RSS reader is.  This seems to be a reasonable compromise to spreading yourself too thinly by posting the same stuff to a lot of different sites.  I’m going to try to keep an objective eye on my online time as well.  If I start to feel too thinly stretched, I (like Elizabeth) may end up pulling the plug on Facebook.

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