With a Little Help from My Friends

Wow! I can’t believe 2017 is drawing to a close. This will be my last post on the blog until the New Year. Like Brett and Shelly before me, I want to use this time to give thanks, and to look back on my journey through 2017.

I think it’s fair to say that this year was a whirlwind for all of us. Personally, it was at times both the best and worst year of my life. I can happily say that the depression I was dealing with this summer has subsided. Though it will inevitably rear its ugly head once more in the future, I am thankful for this respite and am going into 2018 with high spirits and optimism. Continue reading With a Little Help from My Friends

Five Words to Define a Year

Back in January I wrote about five words to define a year. While I had originally meant these words to guide my personal work I thought I would look at the blog through this lens as well.

Growth

Starting this blog was a giant leap of faith. Would anyone follow us? Could we create a community of like minded toy photographers? Obviously the answer to all of these questions and more is ‘Yes!’ Many of our loyal readers followed Brett and I from Stuck in Plastic and we made many new friends along the way!

Our community is vibrant, eclectic and growing. In fact we’ve accomplished so much in our first year that our friends at LEGO have taken notice. We will be receiving even more support from The LEGO Group in 2018. Continue reading Five Words to Define a Year

Square Peg in Round Hole

I have been an active participant in the online toy photography community for three years and I almost always feel like a square peg in a round hole, I┬ásimply don’t fit in. ┬áThis feeling has been growing the last few months to the point where I want to chuck the whole thing and run in a more appropriate direction.

You’re probably scratching your head and wondering how could this be? Let me outline exactly how I don’t fit into this amazing group of people.

First, there is my age. Continue reading Square Peg in Round Hole

Building Community (One of the Hardest Job You Will Ever Love)

I’ve been thinking a lot about community this past week. As I have mulled over my limited time resources and the energy it takes to move any project forward, I actually contemplated shutting down Brickcentral on Instagram. It has been saved from the chopping block for the foreseeable future by the willingness of wonderful new volunteer.

Back in the early days of the social media frenzy you heard so much about “creating a brand” to sell yourself or your product. That drum beat has changed to the “build your community” chant. It has not escaped my notice that the majority of experts who extol the virtues of an on-line community are men. I think there is a very good reason for this: most women build community naturally and don’t need a name for what we already do. We just call it something else: making connections or simply making friends.

Community is an incredibly hard thing to create and maintain. It is an ephemeral and constantly shifting set of personalities and priorities. At least that has been my experience. What might be true one month won’t be what the community needs six months later. It’s a very complex friendship that needs lots of attention.

For most people delving into this community building quicksand is not a possibility; most people have jobs, families and more important priorities than creating an on line community. But when the community falls silent a hole is left. Maybe it will be noticed, maybe it won’t.

I have no answers as to the why people crave “community”, especially one as specialized as ours, yet they do. I see this desire all the time when I post on Brickcentral and the comments often include a “thank you for being here” sentiment.

I hope this doesn’t sound critical, because it isn’t meant to be. In my own experience creating, nurturing this online community of LEGO photography enthusiasts has been an incredible experience that has enriched my life immensely. I plan on sticking with it, probably longer than I should, and on the way I will keep thumbing my nose at the “experts” who talk about community building as if it was something you can do in your spare time. You don’t create friends and family in your spare time.

~ xxsjc

Do you converse with your followers wherever you post your photos?
Have you made any friends through social media?
Is creating friends and community an important aspect of your social media participation?

I seriously want to know what you think. I would love it if you could take the time to comment on the social media platform of your choice.