A G+ Primer

So you’ve been thinking about setting up a G+ account, but the platform is confusing. As a veteran of the platform I’m here to try to demystify it for you. Why? Because G+ is a powerful social media platform that deserves a second look.

In the past G+ was organized around Circles which were confusing to say the least. More than a year ago the team behind G+ started organizing the platform around Collections and more recently Communities.  Let me try to break down these two major components of G+ and how to use them. Continue reading A G+ Primer

Put the social back into social media

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. Continue reading Put the social back into social media

Instagram, I love you but you’re bringing me down.

Instagram, I love you but you’re bringing me down. What happened to you? Ever since you changed your algorithm, you haven’t been the same. Continue reading Instagram, I love you but you’re bringing me down.

Why am I doing this?

There is a question that haunts me all the time and that is: Why am I doing this? I have asked myself this over and over again, because I think that I may share my toy-photographs in the wrong context. I suspect that I only share my still life photography because I am flattered to be a “stationary” blogger Stuckinplastic. And when I look at it objectively, I believe that there ought to be a different reason as well? Continue reading Why am I doing this?

How can we grow as photographers – my new years resolution

We talked earlier about “the rules of photography” on the blog and I think I have made my point that I like to bend the “rules”. Or as some of you have pointed out, there are no rules, only conventions that we use when we make our pictures. Continue reading How can we grow as photographers – my new years resolution

Instagram Has Changed and Not For the Better

Instagram has changed and not for the better. It used to be a fun platform to post pictures to as well as view photos from my favorite Instagram users. But sometime in the past few weeks (months?) it has become unbearable. What changed, you ask? In one word: ads.

We all knew this day would arrive eventually. When Facebook purchased Instagram in April, 2012, we all knew this amazing community we all loved would change, we knew in our heart of hearts that ads were coming. But honestly, I never thought it would be this bad.

Ads have been a part of social media for years and it hasn’t been a problem. Facebook positions their ads to the side, Twitter disguises their ads as user generated content and Google+ is ad free, but Instagram is different. When that ad scrolls by I am a captive audience and the experience is much more intrusive.  I can’t scroll through my Instagram feed more than a few posts before I encounter an ad, there are that many. My typical experience looks like this: 3 photos, 1 ad, 12 photos, 1 ad, 10 photos , 1 ad, 11 photos, 1 ad, 8 photos, 1 ad, 11 photos … You get the picture.

I can take this for about five minutes then I get frustrated and I put my phone down. I want to stay on Instagram and see what people are posting, I want to hangout and like a few photos and see what my friends are up to, but it’s nearly impossible for me with the increase in ads.

For the moment I have a couple of viable options to avoid ads both of which mean I can only access Instagram through my desktop computer. Both Instagram and Iconosquare (a third party app) are ad free the last time I checked. So far this has been a lifesaver.  With either of these apps, I can scroll my feed free of annoying ads. I can concentrate on the amazing photos of my fellow photographers and not the onslaught of advertising.

~ xxSJC

Have you noticed an increase in ads on Instagram? If you have, how do you feel about it? Has the increase in ads changed your viewing habits? Would you pay Instagram a fee to be ad free?

I apologize for ranting about Instagram rather than writing about photography, lately I have been discouraged by current events and distracted by the holidays. If you have a topic you would like me to address, feel free to make a note in the comments. 

Google+ is not a Wasteland

I want to let you in on a little secret: Google+ is not a social media wasteland. It’s actually alive and well! I know you are shaking your head in disbelief, but really, you have to trust me on this one. And if you don’t believe me, you can ask East Mountain or InkBlot Photo.

I started posting to Google+ almost two years ago when we first started StuckinPlastic. Me2 and I divided up the social media duties and he took on Facebook and I said I would monitor and try to build an audience on Google+. I have to say it’s been slow going for both my own photography as well as our Google+ StuckinPlastic family. (I think most of the people we have met through G+ have moved over to Instagram.) But with the changes that Google has been rolling out over the last few months, this has all changed. Continue reading Google+ is not a Wasteland

How to Judge a Good Photo via Social Media

It’s time for me to beat my favorite dead horse: metrics. I talked ages ago about The “Like” Trap and more recently The Problem with Metrics and I don’t feel any differently about any of it now. But Me2’s post yesterday on how he chooses his Little Book, plus events in my own life, compel me to revisit this issue. Continue reading How to Judge a Good Photo via Social Media

How much is too much?

The other day I got a call from my gallerist, Bryan Ohno, and we had one of our usual spirited discussions. Among the many subjects we covered Bryan asked me to pull back from social media and limit my posts for a certain period of time; several months to be exact.

My first reaction was not only no, but hell no. Continue reading How much is too much?

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.