The internet is no place to be shy
It was a strange feeling adapting my CV to reflect just how much I used social media. Rather than spend my time practising the well honed responses that millions do every day, defending the hours we whittle away on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, there I was detailing how I tweeted, pinned, shared and liked. I was tailoring my résumé for a new job application, where I'd be heading up the social media strategy for a multinational life sciences business. Somehow combining my scientific background, with my addiction to social media, for money? It's almost too good to be true.
But it got me thinking. Just how many social media networks do we need, and how much do we need to share? As I spoke to the recruiter about the websites I regularly use, the length of the list inevitably saw me forget a few. That was a surprising realisation in itself.
As a photographer, the internet has been a complete game changer. Our art can now be reached by millions within seconds, all by the click of a button (a goal we all hope to achieve). Clients can be booked from the other side of the world! But like shops where you can buy the milk for your cereal, there's just so many places to look! It's a challenge to keep up. Just look at this piechart, drawn back in 2009, even before the days of 500px, Pinterest and Google Plus. 8.7% was allocated just then to social media and blogging, for a wedding photographer. That's 3.5hrs in a very reasonable 40hr week! It'd probably be scary to measure up how much we, especially creative professionals, are surfing between the likes of Facebook and Flickr today.
Who else uses Pinterest to create moodboards, ModelMayhem to find models, Twitter to follow inspiring individuals, Facebook to connect with collaborators and friends, and Flickr/500px to show off your artwork (assuming you don't use Vimeo/YouTube for video)? Not to forget Instagram/Vine-ing while you're on the move? It's a strange world. We've become more connected and inspired than ever before, but at the sacrifice of looking at a screen rather than the world, and often faces around us. I absolutely adore the ability to marvel at my favourite photographer's latest work as soon as they publish it, but being present on Twitter to see it is ironically eating into the time I could be using to prepare my own masterpiece, or just talk to a friend.
I'll admit I'm rather a quiet photographer in comparison to some; I've preferred to observe rather than share every thought. I sometimes suffer from a lot of 'who cares about what I think/did?', which my 365 Project helped defeat slightly. That's not great for a photographer. I guess I figured I'd rather spare people the 3 seconds it'd take to read my tweet, than advertise myself. I was terrified of being labelled as 'spam'. I was worried my images simply wouldn't measure up to the amazing, inspiring photographs lauded by millions. In the age of massive digital noise, with tweets and pins flying all over the place, it's obvious we need to make our voices louder though, just to be heard. I wonder how much louder we'll have to shout in 3 years time? Will any more networks take off and demand our attention?
How much do you love/hate social media? If you're a social butterfly like me, drop your networking links in the comment box so I can say hey! If you're interested, you can find and follow me on: