Numbers Slumber

I love numbers

Did you know 2 and 5 are the only prime numbers that end with a 2 or a 5?

And did you know, 40 when written “forty” is the only number with letters in alphabetical order, while “one” is the only one with letters in reverse order when written in English? And “four” is the only number in the English language that is spelt with the same number of letters as the number itself?

I love maths

111,111,111 × 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321. In fact, multiplying ones will always give you a palindromic result. 11 x 11 = 121

Maths and palindromes? So many dynamos! *read that backwards

I even love math rock bands like Nomeansno and Shellac, and mathcore bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Locust.

Yep, I’m a delight be have a beer with! I’ll bore you with numbers facts whilst The Locust blast their complex, aggressive weirdness from the stereo.

A week of number fun

This past week has been an intriguing one regrading numbers.

On Monday LEGO shared an image of mine on their social media channels, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The featured posts collected 34k Instagram likes, 1.6k Facebook likes and 512 Twitter likes in the first 24 hours.

And what did all these numbers mean for my numbers?

In the 24 hours following I amassed a total of 78 more Instagram followers. Sure, this number doesn’t take into account the average daily follower losses I’ve experienced since the algorithm screwed things up and I renounced my Instagram allegiance.

This is a picture
Of things going a little out of hand.
This is a sculpture
Of a couple of things we gotta get straight
Shellac – This Is A Picture

I’m not disparaging my appreciation that LEGO chose to share one of my photos. Not at all! I’m incredibly grateful that LEGO wanted to share my junk. I’m not questioning the gesture; it’s the platform on which it occurred I’m questioning.

As someone who loves numbers I was curious to explore these numbers a little more.

I remember when LEGO followed me on Instagram in 2014. I woke that morning and thought something was broken; overnight my follower count had exploded. Yet, now LEGO share a photo of mine and the impact on my account is barely noticeable.

Coincidentally, on the same day last week Google+ promoted my account in their G+ Create community. This feature resulted in 30 new followers.

Let’s look at some numbers. Yay!

An Instagram account with 2.3million followers shares my photo and I end up with a percentage gain of 0.26%.

(30030 – 29952) / 29952 x 100 = 0.26

Google+ feature me in a community of 730 members and the result is a 14.6% gain in followers.

(227 – 198) / 198 x 100 = 14.6

And what percentage of those community’s members or followers chose to pursue the features? Well, 4.11% of the G+ community, compared with 0.003% from Instagram.

(30 / 730) x 100 = 4.11%

(78 / 2300000) x 100 = 0.003%

Yeah, I get that the number changes on these days may have been shaped from outside these two events. And yes, I get that there may have been fluctuations in these numbers that weren’t direct result of the features. I understand that the mathematical outcomes aren’t purely the result of the features I’ve mentioned. And yeah, I get that lower base numbers require lower number additions or subtractions to impact on the results proportionately.

Out with the old.
This is the new.
The minor details have been overlooked.
Plastic people making plastic trees grow out of concrete,
This landscape lacks intellectual quality.
Emergency.
The Locust – Stucco Obelisiks Labelled as Trees

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

However, I still say that these numbers illustrate how broken Instagram is now. I’d argue that the gap between the numbers from these two platforms wouldn’t have been so great a few years ago. In fact, the Instagram numbers would’ve overshadowed those from G+. But they don’t now!

Numbers: Broken Clown
Broken Clown

When a new following, that’s only discovered by a user checking through a following list or checking through the activity of those they follow, results in a bigger gain than a feature in a feed, something doesn’t compute. Perhaps it’s because that post is now buried below advertising, stories and the algorithm, requiring greater digging to unearth than mining through the activities of a feed you follow?

When a community of 730 is alerted to someone, and it results in 30 new followers, whereas an account with 2.3 million followers results in 78, those maths don’t add up. No matter what type of trickery I try to apply!

I’ve never made a fuss about follower numbers. I truly appreciate those that do follow, but it’s not why I do what I do, or why I started.

This post is neither a gloat nor a grumble; it’s just some curious maths!

– Brett

If you’ve made through all my blathering and ended up here, you should sign up to our weekly email round up where you’ll get a recap of all the babbling from the week.

And while you’re doing things, you should definitely join our G+ Community where we hold monthly contests with prizes and lots of other cool stuff too.

Posting with Purpose

How do you decide which photos to post? When do, or should you post them? Is there a specific time of day, or a specific reason why you publish a photo online?

I’m constantly asking myself these questions. It stems partly from working in social media marketing, where it’s important to optimize your posting in order to reach the widest audience. I also feel a need to “curate” my output.

I want there to be a method to my madness.

Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t

-Polonius, Hamlet

Perhaps it’s an insecurity, but I tend to overthink when it’s appropriate or “best” to post a particular photo. As a result, I tend to post more often on special occasions, which I’ve found isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Continue reading Posting with Purpose

What if?

What if there were no social media sites?

What if there were no online ways to share images at all?

You could show your images to friends and family.

Find a like-minded community.

Post them on the walls of abandoned buildings.

Drag them from gallery to gallery hoping for interest.

Show them at art fairs hoping for sales.

Scatter them about the park or mall for a random stranger to find.

Stack them at the coffee shop counter.

Hang them on café walls.

Keep them to yourself.

What if there were no social media sites for us to post to instantly and hope for follows and likes? Continue reading What if?

Is Toy Photography Going Mainstream?

Call me crazy, but I think our little corner of the internet – the fun corner where all the cool kids hang out with their cameras and their toys – is starting to draw some attention from, dare I say it… the “mainstream.”

Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a lot of toy photography come from sources I wasn’t quite expecting. At the risk of tooting our own horn, I suspect that this awesome community, and most importantly the work of the people in it, have something to do with it!

Continue reading Is Toy Photography Going Mainstream?

Breaking up is hard to do

Dear Instagram,

We need to talk. I think it’s time we had a break.

It’s not me, it’s you.

You’ve changed, and I don’t think I can continue in this one-sided, overbearing, controlling relationship anymore.

What happened Instagram? What changed you? Things used to be so good between us. Continue reading Breaking up is hard to do

Life After Instagram…

Where to next? What does life after Instagram look like now that the platform is becoming so hated? What began as a simple, chronologically arranged photo sharing app is now virtually unrecognisable, and people aren’t happy. These days a Facebook algorithm governs the feed, the polaroid inspired square format is no longer binding, and Snapchat’s influence is obvious, to say the least. These moves away from the app’s roots are, unsurprisingly, hardly universally popular among Instagram’s 700-million strong userbase. People hate change, toy photographers not excepted. Recently, as first the algorithm, then stories, then the infamous ‘shadow-ban’ rolled out across Instagram, I’ve seen many posts proclaiming:

“Instagram is going down the drain! I’m moving to Eyeem!” 

“Come to 500px! This new algorithm is terrible!” 

“Google+ is the best social media! No Facebook messing us around over there!”  Continue reading Life After Instagram…

Where Do Toy Photos Belong?

“Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.”

-W. Eugene Smith


As we struggle with Instagram’s constantly changing algorithm many toy photographers are trying to figure out where in this social media world they belong. Of course I’m going to vote for Google + and the Toy Photographer’s Community, but really our images can fit anywhere that any other photo can. Continue reading Where Do Toy Photos Belong?

Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!

If you’ve ever read the Toy Photographers blog, you know that we’re big fans of Google+.

We leave a little invite to our community at the end of each blog post, and Shelly herself has written several posts about the thriving platform, the big opportunities available there, and how our community was even featured in Mashable earlier this year.

I won’t rehash too much of what Shelly has already said here, but because of the disappointing and frustrating goings on over at Instagram at the moment, I thought I’d take this opportunity to offer my two cents on why Google+ has quickly become my go-to platform for toy photography. Continue reading Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!

Shooting Star [Wars]

Last week, I wrote about the #LEGOEaster photo contest. I talked about LEGO potentially finding you through the contest and maybe wanting to use your photos. This week, I was reminded of this happening when an email inviting me to participate in the LEGO Star Wars Days at LEGOLAND® again landed in my inbox.

One of the features of the LEGO Star Wars Days is a Fan Gallery, where LEGOLAND® host photographers from around the world that specialize in LEGO Star Wars. Participants are asked to send 6-8 photos that are shown alongside other LEGO photographers from around the world. At the end of the event, all the photos are raffled off to visitors. That’s cool! My photos might be hanging on the wall of a STAR Wars LEGO fan somewhere in the world. Continue reading Shooting Star [Wars]