Let’s all face it, social media is a double edged sword. On one hand it helps us to make connections and find like minded people around the world. On the other hand those freindships are shallow and fleeting. It’s nearly impossible to take those initial connections beyond a superficial level of likes and brief comments.
I recently returned from a weekend trip to Sweden to see my friend Kristina. Even though it was a ridiculous short trip, it was necessary and worthwhile. Why? Because Kristina is my friend and it’s important to occasionally see each other in person to maintain that connection. (I’m lucky and grateful that I have enough credit card points to fund such foolishness!) I not only spent four days talking about and practicing toy photography with Kristina, I was lucky enough to see both Christoffer and Boris as well. We all spent a relaxed afternoon walking the streets of Stockholm, talking and taking random toy photos. It was a special afternoon.
I think its important to put the ‘social’ back into social media through interactions like this as well as through larger events like toy meet-ups. It’s these interactions that make our community stronger and help to create connections across different cultures.
I’m privileged to be able to make these cross cultural connections on a regular basis here as the de-facto manager of this blog. I returned from my weekend adventure to find two wonderful “why?” posts waiting for me. I’m super excited to share them with you; one is from Italy and the other from Russia. Through this blog and our “why?” series I’m able to share with you more than just outstanding toy photography, but the words and passion that drives these amazing artists. Hopefully by sharing these special posts I’m helping to facilitate a deeper understanding of who we are and why we do what we do.
One of our missions here at Stuck in Plastic has been to bring photographers together through our Toy Safaris. The recent Hamburg toy meet-up was another example of toy photographers that took a leap of faith, traveled to a new town, met a group of strangers and left having made life long friends. If you haven’t read any of these follow-up blog posts, I encourage you to. Maybe they will inspire you to join us in 2017 for either the US or the European editions. If you happen to live in or near Australia, there is a toy meet up scheduled for October 23rd in Melbourne. I can assure you that you will meet an amazing group of toy photographers and have a fabulous day!
Yes, I’m grateful for the experiences, opportunities and friendships I’ve made over the years through the Stuck in Plastic community as well as the larger world of social media. But it wasn’t until I started turning those random connections into real life friendships that I really understood the value of social media. It’s not easy to step outside the anonymity of the on line world, meet-up with strangers at a photo walk, join a toy safari, or even set-up a hang out / face time with an online friend. But trust me, it’s worth the extra effort.
This is my challenge to you: step out of your comfort zone and put the ‘social’ back into social media. I want you to schedule a hangout / Skype / FaceTime with one of your favorite on-line toy photography friends; join a toy safari; set-up a local toy photography group or reach out to a nearby toy photographer and arrange a meet-up. Take one small step towards turning the anonymous and deeply superficial world of social media into a more meaningful and connected community.
Trust me…you won’t regret it.
If you take up my challenge I would love to know how it went! If you need help facilitating a meet-up, let me know; I would be more than happy to help set-up an on-line hangout. Let’s get to know each other!