Social Media – The Last Goodnight

I’m giving up on my last remaining social media outposts – Instagram, Google+ and Twitter – for two simple reasons.

1. I’m not contributing anything meaningful to them.

2. I’m not gaining anything meaningful from them.

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I believe we should focus our limited time, attention and efforts where we’re most passionate.

For me online, this means 35hunter and the small community of photography and closely related blogs I’ve been fortunate to discover and be able to support and enjoy over the last few years.

And so onwards, unhindered and more determined!

Thanks for reading. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography life looks like right now.

41 thoughts on “Social Media – The Last Goodnight”

  1. I agree with your sentiments , I do not do social media other than Flickr and I don’t really class that as social media, I just read photography blogs like yours as it only photography I’m mainly interested in.

    1. Thanks Christopher, yeh I agree about about Flickr. I use it as an archive and a convenient way to host photos to share on 35hunter without needing to use up my WordPress storage. It’s been virtually redundant as a social platform (for me) for some time.

    1. Thanks Chris, seems like we’re in pretty much the same place. I like Flickr as it makes it pretty easy to share photos in posts here without impacting my far more limited WordPress storage.

        1. I upgraded from the free plan to the Personal a couple of months back. The main reasons were to have no ads, and to have a bit more of a buffer with the storage (it’s 6GB with Personal).

          But I 99% of the time use Flickr to host the image, then go to the “all sizes” option, copy the URL of the large size (1024px wide) and in the new post in WordPress then Add Content > Media > drop down the Add New option and Add via URL, then paste in the copied URL from Flickr. I don’t think this uses any storage on WP as the image is hosted on Flickr.

          The only time I uploaded an image directly to WP was if I didn’t want it visible on Flickr, like a picture of a camera or something.

          But then I realised I could just upload such images to Flickr, make them private (ie visible only to me) but this still lets you copy and paste the URL in WP and display the image.

  2. Perhaps I need a rethink on using Instagram/Flickr accounts. It’s where I post and share my images but that is all and no other reason really. WP, well it’s where I come to read and view Dan, and Frank Lehnen work. I’ve never thought of using for my pictures, (be honest didn’t think it was possible, what with time, work etc) but maybe I should have a long look into this and reconsider. If you got any thoughts on how to go about this, let me know.

    1. Martin, thanks for your comment.

      I think maybe go back to basics and ask yourself why you share photos. Is it to get some feedback? Is it to promote sales of prints or a photography service? Is it to be a part of a photographer community? Is it purely for the love it?

      Also, ask what you hope to gain in terms of interaction with others. Are you happy with just likes and +1s? Or do you prefer a more in depth conversation with other photographers?

      Instagram for example I found very limited for conversation, it seemed all very surface and likes and silly emoticons.

      It’s very easy these days to start a WordPress blog and just share say an image a day with little or no wording, if that’s what you prefe. Take a look at Dilip’s blog for an excellent example – https://dilipsnaps.wordpress.com

      Hope that helps, feel free to ask me any more specific questions.

      1. Really its just allowing others to see my work. While its great to get feedback, or get someone like your image, I’m not bothered either way and find myself spending most of the time on here.
        I think having seen ”dilip” WP blog, this will be the way forward and like you I will keep the Flickr account for the foreseeable future. The Instagram, will be going.

        1. Yes it really doesn’t take long to set up a simple WordPress blog, pick a theme and start posting.

          The biggest two tips are probably –

          1. Post regularly. Very frustrating for readers to enjoy your posts but only get a new one every fortnight or something. How regular I would say is more important than how many posts, so for example one post the same day every week is probably more effective than four posts in one week, then nothing for a month.

          2. Try to make your photos and writing as interesting as possible and/or helpful to people.

          Good luck!

  3. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 don’t know if I could give up twitter but I completely understand about Instagram. I uploaded something yesterday but almost reluctantly… My previous upload had been 2 days before, the one before that had been 9 days before…. I only went back to Insta because I missed seeing my favourites photos but I really don’t enjoy the platform anymore. Flickr, I mostly just upload my photos, I hardly ever browse. I miss the interactions that used to be prevalent on there, just people who were really into photography for the sake of it, not just trying to get followers and likes.

    *Sigh*

    1. With Twitter my biggest issue by far is every four or five tweets in my stream is an advert. Hate it!

      When I started with Twitter it was mostly to share links and haiku and it was a beautiful platform. Back then it didn’t even have pictures, just text.

      Really dislike how commercial it’s become.

  4. …totally agree with your (and your respondent’s) sentiments mate. I’ve been on this path for some time now… and I find it’s feels amazing after spending waaaaaaaaay too much time online. But it is a double edged sword of sorts.

    What I found positive about jumping off the merry-go-round… you get your life back! I’ve no words to describe how liberating that is. So much time wasted. So much money wasted. So much energy wasted. So little gained. The few forward steps I took were mitigated (I feel) by 3 or 4 steps backward each time.

    Another positive I found was that I now have more time to sit back and ask (myself) questions. Free to ask without the burden of needing to justify an answer to an audience. I now have time to study images and techniques that I feel are core, and most importantly, what I need to move forward.

    Jumping off the merry-go-round has freed up time to enjoy photography (and image making and art in general) I have made discoveries that would be impossible when you’re whizzing around at break-neck speeds trying to get to everything, and everyone… just in case you miss the ‘next new thing’.

    Jumping off the merry-go-round has give me a sense of ‘place’ in the big scheme of things. I know my images mean nothing to anyone else. What I say (or have to say) means nothing to nobody. What I look at, or investigate, has no bearing on no-one. There are nearly 8 billion other opinions… and the sooner I realise that I am doing this for myself, the better place I feel I will be. Jumping off the merry-go-round has aided that realisation. Egos reside online!

    Okay, so the cons of jumping off… I do sometimes feel isolated. I sometimes feel I am indeed missing out on the ‘next new thing’. I do feel I will be left behind. I also feel that I sometimes ‘think’ I need an online presence.

    But, these cons pale into comparison when I think about all the pros of cancelling all (and I mean ALL) my accounts.

    Above all, leaving the online jungle behind has made to face up to the fact that my photography (in essence) is produced by a lightproof box with a captured medium at one end, and a timed opening at the other. <strong<That has nothing what-so-ever to do with hashtags, labeling, fps burst rates, download or upload speeds, WiFi, resolution, click-bait, hit-rates, advertising, etc, etc, etc.

    What it does encompass is my ability to transfer what I feel to something I can see.

    #justsaying 😉

    1. Anton, thanks for your thoughts. I really like the merry go round analogy. In truth I haven’t been playing that game for some time (years really), and was only using Twitter and Google+ linked in with WordPress to automatically push new 35hunter posts.

      But as I said above, this wasn’t really contributing anything to anyone following there (if they were even listening anymore!) and I wasn’t visiting the sites regularly to gain anything either.

      Looking at my referrer stats this year, amusingly I have had 37 visits via Facebook (even though I left in 2010), 10 from Instagram, six from Google+ and five from Twitter. Collectively these equate to a grand total of 0.19% of my total visits. I think I can afford to lose that audience!

      In conjunction with letting go of the social media, I have been doing the Sundays Unplugged, which I’d like to extend. I’ll write more about this soon. Anyway, again it’s part of getting off the merry go round and taking back control of how selective I am in spending time online, as you talk about.

      So is your online presence simply down to being a visitor to blogs like here, plus email? Do you still have your own blog?

      Fortunately I’ve never really got caught up in the shiny new camera chase. Yes my phone is only a month old, but my choice there was an affordable option that would compare favourably to the (for me) too expensive Apple option. The two other digital cameras I use most are both from 2011, and my two DSRLs are from 2006. 🙂

      I confess I haven’t yet got around to deleting my Instagram, Twitter and Google+, I’ve just disconnected them from WordPress and don’t visit them. That will be next.

  5. visiting blogs like yours is just about my only presence online. Of course there are the odd photo I did upload still floating around. But I have no inclination or interest to being restricted to the confines of the online world.

    Imagine writing a treatise or trying to engage in a dialogue online these days. I guess you can move beyond all the usual platforms, and make more substantial contact. I’ve never been able to make any constructive comment in 280 words or less… Maybe I should have learned how to be more concise.

    And that has led to the evolution of this hurried consumption of images. Is it really possible to digest an image in 5 seconds or less? I want to take my time, and to do that, I have to step off

    Sadly, I’ve stopped doing the blog thing. I feel it ended up being a dairy that didn’t really need to be shared. I say sadly, as I feel I should saddle up and give it another bash, even if I am the only one reading. But then, I have a lovely record of my journey… I have loads of prints 🙂

    I think, at the end of the day (yes, I did say that) it’s all about how much I dislike the commercialisation of ‘it all’

    You can say I’m a dreamer…

    1. But you’re not the only one…

      Going back to Twitter a few weeks back I was really disappointed. I used it up to maybe 2014 mostly as a way to share links and haiku stuff (I had more than one account). It was a lovely format for that, with the challenge of creating something meaningful and memorable in 140 characters.

      Going back the other week, it’s now full of photos, videos, ads (well, sponsored tweets) and updates far longer than 140 chars.

      The minimal, simple and concise concept that made it so special in the early days is now completely gone.

      How many other things can we say that about though!

      About digesting images, I recently borrowed a few books from the library, including American Photographs by Walker Evans. Rather than skim through it I deliberately made myself study each photograph for at least a minute or two, something that is pretty unheard of for me with photos online. It certainly made the images burn deeper into my retinas and more details revealed themselves because of that approach.

      Which is one reason why I’ve started experimenting with single photo posts here on 35hunter too.

      If you did resurrect your blog you’d have at least two readers – me and you. 🙂

  6. Don’t tempt me mate… but you know I’ll keep posted other ways 😉

    You read a book called Art & Fear by Bayles and Orland?
    This is something that has always plagued and intrigued me in equal measures… this FEAR. I have always felt like I was (and still am to an extent) holding back. My agenda’s always been to find what that fear is.

    I think I turned a corner when I realised that all my messing about with paraphernalia has just been a method of diverting my attention from actually creating art. The more I leave ‘things’ behind, the more I realise that I have to address this fear. I start to run out of excuses.

    You know the scenario… IF ONLY right camera! right light! right lens! right location! not feeling right! etc. etc. All just excuses for me to feel the warm embrace of fear, and not do anything that challenges me!

    Oh yes, a point 😉
    Leaving social media has shaken me into action to try and produce what I feel is inside me. I have one less excuse/reason not to tackle the mountain.

    Onward and upward good sir!

    1. I used to be a rather verbose poet maybe 20 years ago, then after embracing haiku and 50 word stories managed to rewire myself to write more concisely.

      Then I sort of evolved into a photographer, as I see a single photograph and a haiku as essentially the same thing – capturing a moment and the emotion(s) of that moment.

      It seems that haiku and flash fiction training has since abandoned me somewhat with writing here on 35hunter! I struggle to write less than 1000 words on most “juicy” topics.

      Yes I’ve read Art and Fear, very interesting, and I’m sure it’s worth revisiting as it was a few years back.

      Funny you should mention this – I actually have a post in draft nearly finished about this, essentially how I was hiding behind a wall of cameras and constantly buying and testing new ones as an excuse to not face my limitations as a photographer. I’m trying to tackle the mountain too! I need to get that post finished and out soon.

      With Walker Evans, I think the FSA funding was great for him, how many otherwise talented photographers (indeed any artists) remain unknown because they never had enough funding or sponsorship to pursue their craft to their full potential?

  7. Oh, and you can’t go wrong with Walker Evans
    some say all he did was for the FSA – so what?
    He documented a period that was needed to be remembered
    all those FSA photographers need more credit

  8. I’ve now disabled Facebook and no longer use Instagram either. The only social media channel I use regularly is Twitter. I try to keep only positive or useful things in my feed – it’s like my news channel – a window on the world. But honestly, a lot of the time it is just lots of people shouting into a vacuum!

    1. Richard, thanks for your perspective. Amazing how many people are disillusioned with the big social media sites.

      I used to love Twitter, and for a while it was the only one I used – for poetry and links. But as I mentioned in a reply above, these days the ads (about 1 in 5 tweets in my stream it seems), the pictures and videos and the yes that general feeling of “everybody’s talking but nobody’s listening” have turned me right off it.

      1. Hi Dan. Well, I’ve ditched my last social media channel (Twitter). This article began a process of thought which culminated this week with my listening to Deep Work by Cal Newport on Audible. It’s an excellent book which makes the case that to do our best work, we need long periods of deeply focused time. The modern obsession with always being online and posting to social media is having a huge, negative impact on this. So I’m ditching Twitter for at least the next month and if I don’t miss it much, then I’ll be leaving for good. I have too much good work to do, especially the creative stuff like writing and making photographs so I’ll be focusing on them instead. There’s tendency to think that if we’re not active on social media that no one will know we’re here and our work will go unnoticed. Bizarrely, the day I quit, I got one new follower for my own blog. I’ve not posted to Twitter from the blog for short while so that would seem to dispel the “must be online” myth. Thanks for the inspiration – I’ll be posting more about how I get on.

        1. Very interesting developments indeed Richard!

          Yes we need uninterrupted, focused time to do anything meaningful, whether it’s being a partner and parent, making photographs, reading, writing, whatever. You can’t just be constantly dipping in and out of stuff and expect the same reward and result.

          Don’t know if you follow Jim Grey’s Down The Road blog, but he very recently posted about how he’s now all but left Facebook and in the (plentiful) comments not a single person I’ve read suggested it wasn’t a good idea and/or had done it themselves already. There appears to be a major social media wake up going on right now.

          My Sundays Unplugged experiments have just shown me further that I’m doing the right thing by leaving social media and unplugging from anything social online for a couple of days a week is very beneficial.

          1. Cheers Dan. I’ll check that blog out now. Like you, I’m continuing to follow handful of meaningful blogs and YouTube channels, but only things that enrich my life. Ok the odd bit of junk, but generally, only positive stuff! You’re right, there is a backlash growing against the “always on” culture. I am radically cutting back on my use of email at work too and trying to establish a precedent that it is not for instant communication. That’s what a phone and text messages are for.

          2. I work in an industry where we have a fair bit of interaction with solicitors. It’s amazing how many of them have in their email signature their policies for response times, usually along the lines of “we will print this email and add it with our regular post and respond in the same time frame”.

            Anyway, this is Jim’s post re Facebook – https://blog.jimgrey.net/2018/06/08/in-case-you-were-wondering-why-you-dont-see-me-on-facebook-very-much-anymore/

            Check this out too – http://three.sentenc.es/

          3. Ah I have read a bit of Jim’s blog yeah. I found it when searching for info on my Minolta XG-1 last year. I’ll read more of it though.

            I reckon that is a fair shout putting a note on email signatures too. I even thought about an “out of office” type response too. Using email as an IM is endemic in the large organisation I work for. It can be a serious time sucker if you let it

          4. Love the three sentences idea. I did used to respond to each email like a letter, but now I have an auto signature and simply type a short amount of text for each. Having the structure of a three sentence limit is excellent!

          5. I try to do this with my work emails, but sometimes the complexity of the “problem” needs further elaboration. It’s good to use as a guide though – keep it brief and to the point (for emails and for meetings!!)

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