Jonathan Crossfield recently published an interesting article titled Is it time to abolish social media ? In it, he makes the point that using the term social media to name what is really a huge variety of interactive venues (online media / blogs and comments, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and dozens of other platforms) is misguided in two ways :
Couldn’t agree more !
However, that’s examining only one side of the coin.
The reality, on the user’s perspective, is not so undifferentiated. Who can deny the existence of two very different attitudes between actual users of these platforms :
In Instagram created a monster, photographer Sarah Melotti describes the unsavoury world of social influencers, and the lengths to which the Instagram Mafia are prepared to go to maintain dominance on the platform. There’s money in it and there’s a huge dose of animal nature, fear, jealousy, … Zero-sum-game worldview meets primate mind.
More than at any other time in Internet history, I believe we all face a choice between (yes, good and evil, but more specifically) ego and community, between sharing and grabbing, between learning and shutting out, between emotion and numbers.
Not that everyone out there is as evil as the people described in that article. But, still, photographers and social marketers in the photo world seem to follow the rules dictated by that unhappy lot and actively maintained by the social platforms themselves. Most publishers seem to go for vanity metrics and forget about the truly social component. Here’s something interesting, for example :
It’s a screen grab from the bottom of a photo article on a very famous photo blog. Two. Thousand. Facebook. Shares. One comment !!!!
This is as diametrically opposed to DearSusan as can be imagined. Readers, here, rarely share anything anywhere (there are buttons at the bottom of each article, and I, ahem, think they work) but the comments we receive are numerous, interesting, packed with information … Sometimes, you agree with the author, sometimes you don’t, sometimes you talk among yourselves without the author being in the loop. New authors are invited in whenever they feel like starting a thread. To my mind, that’s just perfect ! We’re basically a tight community having fun talks. The Internet hasn’t invented the virtual beer yet, but this is getting close to a discussion with pals at the pub.
So I guess all of this was just a lengthy preamble to this : Thanks Guys and Gals ! We appreciate that and feel very fortunate. Please keep’em coming.
(ps: for those wondering, the photographs on this page are from Nimes. A small extension to Philippe’s lovely little article on that gorgeous city. And I like to think they are not totally unrelated to the topic … )
(pps: oh, and, for the record, all shot with my old smartphone 😉 )