An interesting recent post on one of the blogs I enjoy most, talked about social media and self control in this new decade.
It led me to think more about my own online presence as a photographer, what I’m happy with, and what I might like to change this year.
So this is how my online presence looks like right now –
My own blog – 35hunter
Here I publish a new post every 48 hours about my experiences and thoughts as a photographer, as well as sharing photos from my ongoing archives. The conversations in the comments are my main source of interaction with other photographers online, and something I value greatly.
Other blogs I follow
I follow around 30 other blogs currently, though many of those either post very infrequently or seem on hiatus, so collectively there certainly aren’t dozens of posts a week to keep up with. On average, I leave perhaps a couple of comments a day in total on other blogs, and like to positively encourage others.
As we’ve talked about extensively recently, I’ve used Flickr for over a decade now, mostly as a place to tag, organise and back up my best photographs, and have them easily available to share in posts on 35hunter.
I do also still comment on other photographs there occasionally, and in recent days have made a concerted effort to find more photographs, and more photographers whose work I appreciate.
Sometimes I just make an image a favourite, rather than leave a full comment, and my game plan with Flickr in this regard has always that my own photostream eventually becomes as inspiring and “good” as this stream of favourites I’ve gathered over the years.
I follow and contribute to a couple of threads (The Six Megapixel Club is my favourite) on the excellent, informative, and always welcoming Pentax Forums.
My activity does depend on which cameras I’m using personally at the time. When my Pentax K100D and K-m are being used more, I’m more in a Pentax frame of mind and join in more frequently.
When I’m using digital compacts I visit Pentax Forums far less.
I had planned to explore this site far more, but so far, whilst I have joined, I haven’t done much else.
It’s still something I’d like to investigate more as the year unfolds, but initial thoughts are that I don’t like the look of it as much as Flickr.
And, um, that’s about it.
I don’t really do social media, aside from WordPress and Flickr. I left Facebook around 2010 and despite trying again with Twitter and Instagram in the last couple of years, haven’t enjoyed them, so left again.
I don’t feel there’s much lacking, and the amount of time I spend online for photography related activity feels the right kind of balance for me currently.
How about you? Where do hang out online as a photographer? Are you happy with these places, and the overall balance between them?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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20 thoughts on “What Does Your Online Presence Look Like As A Photographer In 2020?”
Interesting and well thought out plan you have, Dan. So, you made me put my plan in writing now.
Most of my online presence will be on my website and the blog there https://frankjcasella.pixels.com And I mostly share that content through my mailing list.
I’m only using Twitter to gather information and news.
And I’m on Tumblr to use it like Instagram .. to post an image a few times a month, and follow a dozen or so others who’s work inspires me. I mostly interact and blog on LinkedIn, and use WP.com as an RSS feed.
I gave ipernity a year to engage, and have decided I’m going to do things more slowly there for the foreseeable future, maybe post one or two pictures a month. The community there is very family like, similar to how Flickr was many years ago when the founders where still around.
I am well aware of Cal Newport mentioned in the article you linked to. Newport says of creatives, something like, artists are on Twitter to makes sales, but then don’t have any time to make new art, and a better use of social media is to be on Instagram only to have concentration on similar artists and see trends without living in an art district.
Seth Godin says something like, if you don’t pay for it, then you are the customer in terms of attention and data mining. Cal Newport says likewise, if you are intentional about your use of Social Media / online presence instead of it using your attention, you don’t have to worry about data mining because you are in control.
Ah I thought ipernity was your main “home” online, as you have a blog there too.
Sometimes I want to explore Tumblr and Twitter (and ipernity, which I’ve hardly viewed yet!) but then I spend enough time online as it is, and don’t want to maintain another outpost just for the sake of it, and it feel a chore. So mostly 35hunter and Flickr are all I need and want.
Yes I think that’s right about paying for services. I’m happy to pay for a WP account and Flickr Pro because it gives me more control over them, not least of all having them ad-free for my readers/viewers.
So hang on, you have a blog on ipernity, and on Pixels, and on LinkedIn? And WordPress??
About ipernity, yes, in the past year I gave it a real push to see if I could make it my home, and I almost did. But there are some organizational questions that have gone unanswered. So I’m sticking around, but, this made me realize my real home is my website and blog. So I’m starting a personal work gallery there and seeing if I can use it like Flickr / ipernity without adding pricing to the works.
I’m only on Tumblr for now to see what Automattic does with their new business model, and at that time will decide yes or no. I think if you have your WP.com blog and Flickr and it makes you happy then just stay happy.
I like with Godin says about paying for services, and that is why I’m mostly on my website because I pay for it, but I also am seeing if being on the free platforms and limiting my egagement (being in control) as Newport says will work likewise. The only ones now are ipernity and Tumblr and those are ad free …
Finally, yes, I blog on all those platforms, They all have a different audience, and I reach them all through my mailing list which is my main creative outlet where I have the most followers on any one platform. I also have a blog for my non-profit and didn’t mention it here because the context does not apply to your blog here.
I think partly I just like to keep things simple and focus my energies on only two or three places, and partly I’m just too lazy to maintain half a dozen different platforms/outposts online. I’d rather have more eggs in fewer baskets, to reframe the old saying!
My online presence, other than participating at Pentax forums, is basically non-existent.
Mostly because I feel insecure about my own work – and also because I don’t feel I have the time to try to do a better job.
I mean, my only picture on flickr that was ever “explored” was when I bought a new lens once and took a picture of it to show someone! My photography as it is, is hopelessly inadequate, to borrow a good blogger’s recent phrase 😀
In a recent thread where I was saying, “we should start a club thread for our pictures that were rejected from the Pentax Gallery”, one of the immediate replies was, “yeah, I’ve seen your pictures, they’re pretty bad” or something similar. I seriously thought about never showing anyone any pictures again!
But I’m thankful for this thread… should I ever get good at this, it’s good to know where I could show off my work…
Thanks Chris. I share the frustration in that something like 18 of my most viewed photos on Flickr are pictures of cameras/lenses, rather than photographs I’ve made and am proud of.
Where did you receive that “pretty bad” comment? I wouldn’t bother returning to the thread! Was it on PentaxForums?
Well, the person apologized later, and I think it was actually probably a sincere comment at the time.
I’m used to the fact that my pictures might be “unimpressive” to others but I’m really only trying to please myself. I only do basic post-processing, and dislike the very processed look that a lot of people like nowadays. I’m more of a William Eggleston-style photographer on what I show people – trying to make the really simple things look good. The other side of my photography that I don’t publish is pictures of my family and sometimes events that I do.
I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it because this might cause the impression that this is how the forums are, but there’s a camaraderie there (especially in the K10D and 6MP threads, for example) where people know each other and are just great, great people. I should just focus more on the positive and ignore the negative 🙂 But I was making a point about why I don’t really feel like my photography – at least at this point in my life – would be of much interest to other people…
Chris have you seen that video on YouTube that’s all about the Six MegaPixel thread on PentaxForums? Can’t remember how I found it (probably someone linked to it in the forum thread itself!) but one thing it said, aside from how people were happy using 10-15 year old cameras, was that the subject matter was generally more mundane, but in a personal way. Like Eggleston in many ways, people photographing the every day but in a way that most others overlook, because they think to make a great photograph you need a stunning model or a glistening sports car or a glorious sunset HD’d to within an inch of its life… I think when anyone creates something for themselves, that comes across as genuine and endears the work to others precisely for that honest, straightforward reason.
I have the blog, a frequently dormant but officially still alive Twitter account linked to it and I do have a Pro Flikr subscription. I also have a MeWe account, which is more Facebook-like than Flikr but is not a data selling advertising entity; your personal privacy can be more controlled. There is an active ex-Google Plus community there and I’m there, sporadically, on the basis of ‘it does no harm to be so’.
I just cancelled the automatic updating of the Flikr subscription as they sent out an email recently saying the cost was going up next time it was due.
Do you think new owners have made any difference to the site at all Dan? It still languishes in an old-fashioned interface, no sign or communication of any real improvement or added functionality I could see, they just want more money for it.
I thought perhaps I’d join some interest groups but even the interface for finding them is painful, let alone how rubbish the forums format of them is once you have.
In the end I found I could come up with no compelling justification to have it at all, let alone pay £6 a year more for it, so I’ll let it run out.
I don’t know if I’m cut out for any of this online life really… I’ll leave it to the kids I think!
Re Flickr, to be honest I haven’t seen any major changes on the face of it. I loved that they finally got rid of the stupid login where you could only use a Yahoo email. I kept one for years just for this purpose and never went to the email app/site itself.
The emails I get from Flickr don’t appeal, they’re often about a new film from a photographer/film maker, which I have no interest in and isn’t what I use Flickr for.
I’d rather they turned their attention to stimulating more community and discussions again.
But what I do use Flickr for I find worth the few pounds a month.
The forums I have used for photography discussion (basically Flickr and PentaxForums) are equally antiquated in their look and design! But they work in that they let people communicate and share.
Hiya Dan, I have a blog on my hosted website but regretfully I am in your later category of bloggers. I work full time and am finding it more and more difficult to keep producing, sharing and writing about the work. Well there’s more to it than the work situation also but that will eventually work itself out. I do post to Instagram but in the past months that has slowed and I find it rather liberating. I had found it to be slow to build a community there but I finally have cultivated a nice group of like minded photographers who engage on and behind the scene. We share information freely as far as process and swap photos through he mail. I do Twitter but that also in the past couple of years has slowed greatly. I check in only a couple of times a week now. I’ve thought about leaving for good but I am connected with a community there also and again we share process. I quit Facebook last year. That was a major distraction. And truly friends and family could give two $&#”@ about your work. Ok maybe 10% really engaged. No Flickr, quit that when they first went from free to membership, I wasn’t really using it. But I must admit I find myself there often when looking for info on gear, film, alt process etc. Maybe it’s time for a membership but truly I don’t need another account to manage. Life in the fast lane !!!
Thanks Lisa Marie. Great to hear that Instagram has led to sharing of physical prints, I doubt there’s many people who have done that!
Yes I’m with you on too many accounts to manage, I can’t be bothered with it and would rather focus or two, maybe three, rather than have virtually dormant accounts on a dozen platforms.
If there are sites where you’ve made a few contacts you don’t want to lose, maybe you could just stay in touch with them directly (via email for example) rather than maintain a presence on a platform you otherwise find unnecessary?
Thanks Dan, food for thought. I’m not too worried about maintaining a presence. if I get there ok if not thats ok too. Eventually they will fall by the wayside if I don’t find anything to bring me back. And yes, the print swaps a have been fun, engaging and educational. It’s been good to see what formats others are using for outut of their work.
My online photographic presence has gone from minimal to non-existent over the past couple of years. Flickr and the Pentax forum, along with a short-lived blog, were the extent of my digital footprint; social media platforms have never appealed to me. The only thing that remains is reading and rarely commenting on your and Jim Grey’s blogs.
Because of both of your and Jim’s recent posts about Flickr I’ve re-subscribed for a Pro account. It offers a wealth of inspiration and the opportunity to engage in discussion (however, the current group discussion model is in need of a major overhaul so I’ll keep my comments to individual’s accounts/pages). A goal for the year is to be more active in my photography and attempt to engage in discussion via Flickr and photography blogs; My writing skills are quite rusty so it may take a while to be consistent on the latter point. Maybe I’ll even give the Pentax forum another go.
Thank you, Dan, for your continued interesting and inspiring words and pictures; I learn something new with each visit.
Peggy, thanks for your comments. Can I ask why your online presence has decreased so?
With Flickr, the problems with the discussion threads (and groups in general) is that unless they are very tightly curated and monitored, they get swamped with stuff that shouldn’t be there. You come across some pictures on Flickr and the groups that that photo has been added to are ridiculously diverse and can’t possibly be covered by the same image – as for example it includes groups for various camera different brands.
Yes you could have an image of a forest made with a Pentax K100D and a Takumar M42 lens and add it to a Pentax DSLR group, Pentax K100D group, an M42 lens group, a Takumar lens group and a forest photography group. But you can’t add it to a Nikon DSLR group or a Micro Four Thirds group, or a beach photography group, but this is what these types of spammers do.
Like you say I think far better is to comment on individual photograph pages. Then the photographer can monitor comments, reply, and so on. It’s more focused and more closely policed,and the interaction will be more rewarding both ways. I’m currently (re)considering how I can do this again to gain more interest via Flickr, aside from the conversations here on 35hunter.
The groups concept needs a massive overhaul on Flickr, I do agree, I only use one or two groups occasionally to search the archives for advice on something specific.
Pentax Forums in my experience has been very positive and the people are generally very kind and encouraging. I follow or have followed the Takumar lens group, K10D (I no longer have one) and the Six MegaPixel club, and all have been useful and enjoyable forums.
I’m not a prolific enough of a photographer or writer to make a blog worthwhile. I thoroughly enjoy reading and viewing other’s endeavors and offering a comment when appropriate. That level of engagement works for me for now and is something I will try to increase during this year.
As for the Pentax forum I enjoyed it; lots of amazing photographers and friendly interaction. It was just too much computer time for me and again with the lack of images or information to share.
In the past and now presently, I use Flickr mostly as an online photo album for sharing with family and friends. It is a goal this year to make more photographs which will hopefully result in a larger Flickr portfolio. That and interacting with individual photographers. I’ll leave the discussion forums for others for the time being.
I enjoy your writing and photographs, Dan, and look forward to what you create in this new year. Thanks for making the time for this blog.
Thanks for your kind words Peggy.
Good luck with Flickr, I really do hope we see a bit of a revival, because it’s still I think the best photo viewing, organising and sharing platform out there.
And finally, yes we all need to find a balance with the amount of time we spend on a computer. Because I use one at my day job extensively, I’ve often had enough by the evening, so don’t do all (or any!) of the work I might have liked to have done otherwise for my own pleasure. All about balance!
sorry to be off topic but in lieu of the flickr promotion, can people download images without copyright violation? if so, they need to promote this because I’ve been using pixabay for images..i try to attribute the user name though on the image..thoughts? thanks
With Flickr, it depends on the copyright restriction the photographer has chosen for that photo. If you look just below right on any photo, it will say what the restriction is. My photos say (C) All Rights Reserved, but others choose different rights, so you can share/use their image as long as you link back and give credit, and so on.
This post links to the different Creative Commons attributions – https://help.flickr.com/en_us/change-your-photo's-license-in-flickr-B1SxTmjkX
Hope that helps.