Social Media: Friend or Foe

Six or seven years ago I had the good fortune of selling two canvas prints at Lake Country, B.C.’s annual Art Walk. It was a first for me. I hadn’t been into digital photography for very long. It was a pretty neat accomplishment.

And then a friend exclaimed, “ You need a website!”

I am a natural born tinkerer. I like discovering how things work. So, I thought, “I can figure this out. Maybe, I can build a website myself.” In reality I didn’t have a clue about the project I was about to embark on.

A much younger artist friend and neighbor had built his own website (Notice the emphasis). He said he would give me a bit of advice. With this, a few You Tube videos and a book entitled, “Getting Your Photography on the Web” by Rafael Concepcion, I set to work. After 3 or 4 weeks of mind numbing thinking, I was up and running. Other than being hacked once, issues have been minor. I’m really pleased with the results.

“What you need now,” my neighbour insisted, “is a presence on social media – Facebook and Twitter.” If I was out of my depth with building a website, I certainly was with social media. From what I saw,  social media was a time consuming waste.

But I relented and opened a Facebook account. I decided to keep my involvement just to my photography. That’s been good. Twitter at this time does not interest me. I have enjoyed the connections I’ve made through Facebook with other photographers and those interested in my work.

In 2011 Google Plus was launched. A podcast interview with Colby Brown, a well-known travel and nature photographer caught my attention. His book about Google Plus asserts that Facebook’s compression algorithms removes important personal metadata including copyright information and does not render images well. On the other hand Google Plus keeps personal metadata,  copyright information and renders images very accurately. I had to check this out.

After reading his book I set up a Google Plus account. A little experimentation confirmed that my images were more clearly displayed on Google Plus. While Facebook is a social network Google Plus is an interest-based network. I found that Google Plus gave me the ability to connect with and view the work of many other photographers. It too, can be a time consuming enterprise but on the positive side I really like the way it displays my work.

Saguaro Cactus against a rockface Saguaro Cactus against a rockface

I’m convinced that my website and presence on Facebook and Google Plus has helped me improve my photography. I make sure that I share only my best work. The real trick now is to make sure that my networking does not become an anchor that would keep me from my real passion, photography.

I chose this image of a Saguaro Cactus at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum to show how an image is displayed  by Google Plus.

Select this link to see how this image of the Saguaro and other images I’ve posted are rendered in Google Plus.


This entry was posted in Education, My Work.

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