Pinar wrote a fantastic post that was about quality versus quantity in social media. It made me think about why I post my pictures to social media. I’m one of those photographers who stands for quantity. I post many photos of the same scene, in similar situations – all in the search for an expression, for the right picture, the right atmosphere, the right feeling.
Why do I use social media?
Why do I use social media? What does Instagram, Facebook, Flickr do for my photography? I have in earlier posts mentioned that through social media I find a lot of inspiration. Through social channels I get to see the photos that I let myself be inspired by. I meet photographers, ideas, technical challenges that I might be attracted to (or not). Some I try, others I dismiss. The inspirational part of social media is something I can get without actually posting a single image. So why do I post pictures on social media?
When I’m finished, I post
There are several reasons. One is that when I publish my image, it forces me to finish the picture. As long as I’ve been interacting with social media, it has also served as a tool to force me to complete a picture. I have made a conscious choice that I’m done when I publish. At least my part of the work is done. Through social media my images and my image ideas can meet other viewer and through there viewing and interpretations, change is inevitable. When I’m finished with my part I want others to react to my images. I believe that through social media channels my photography will get an opportunity to meet other eyes, others experience and have a new life.
I get confirmation
Another reason that I post on Instagram and Facebook is that I want to get confirmation. Just like many other people, I crave and need others’ confirmation, I need to be and feel a sense of belonging. Social media is a tool to get just that: confirmation and togetherness. The big dilemma is that even though I feel blessed that I get a like or a heart, or even a comment that satisfaction doesn’t last long.
And as I see it, social media isn’t built for deep conversations (I know that Shelly and Brett will object and say that I ought to try out G+ (I have lurked around and I see a truly friendly place very well moderated, so join if you want to talk more, be part of challenges etc)). I know what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a much deeper conversation about meaning and imagery. I want to talk about all the details, the thought process that is behind an image. That type of conversation is hard to get on social channels because most social media is text based which is a great limitation. Social media opens a door to get confirmation, and I get some through posting. Not enough to be satisfying, but enough to keep me coming back for more; by posting again and again.
Based on a project
My relationship with social media and my posting to social media, however, is based on the projects I’m working on. It’s a deliberate decision. This year (2017), I’m doing a 52 projects that has its starting point on social media. Part of my practice is in the process of posting to social channels. Publishing the images on my blog and then on Facebook and Instagram makes me feel less lonely, strange or in some way ‘off’. Through social media I can see that I’m not the only one that makes images of and with toys. When you get to the bottom of why I post my works to social media like Facebook, Instagram, twitter and flickr, is that I get a feeling that I’m not alone.
I think my relationship to social media is in constant flux. Initially it was a diversion and an entry point back into photography, then it was about community and finding like minded peers, then it morphed into a desire to reach beyond the toy community. Now, I don’t know what it is. Am I addicted to the endorphin hit of posting a photo, am I simply a creature of habit, or am I trying to grow as a photographer through the repetition and discipline of posting? I have no answers, but like you, its nice to know I’m not alone in my desire to take photographs of toys. 🙂
Shelly, I ger your point. My biggest critique of social media is that it hard to find deapth or the next level after belonging and I think that depends on the purpose of the channels.
This is thought-provoking Kristina…. My current thoughts on social media are… I think… that it’s not working for me as much anymore. I feel confused and relate very closely to some of what Shelly’s reply to your post contained.
I still post on IG (and now simultaneously on fb as I just linked my IG to my fb), I am starting to think of it, trying to think of it, as I am posting more for myself than to get feedback. For posterity, to mark that this was an example of what I was creating on this date.
The problem is, social media is built to be SOCIAL (right?) and I believe it should be. I have always been a “rule follower” for the most part and “social” is in the name! LOL! The thing is its A LOT of damn work! I am a social bug… I want to comment on everyone’s pics- give them the feeling that they give me when they take their precious time to comment on my posted pic. The IG toy photography community is so big now, and I personally follow 871 people currently. Everytime I post on IG I feel a bit guilty; that I am posting up a pic and people are going to comment and I am not returning the favor like I used to. On the other hand I feel like between ToyPops and that mutually liking/commenting thing – it seems a bit fake. So that is why I stopped participating in ToyPops, at least for now, as I want to get a better feel for what IG really is versus what is manufactured- if that makes sense?
The IG Toy Community is what drew me into this awesome hobby and creative outlet so I feel a bit of a debt to them for that. So I am confused about where I stand on what social media (mainly IG) means to me and what role it’s going to play in the future… Will I jump back into it and nuture it (like I once was) or will I just kinda pet it, like its the neighbor’s dog (like I kinda feel like I am doing now) LOL….
Thanks for responding 🙂 I think the hardest thing with social media is that we don’t get the true reason. We think it’s social and from our point of view it can be that to a certain point, but social media is also a marketplace , built in with alot of compettion elements that is all about getting the most likes… I would love it to be about photography, not data… but I still post to see that I excist …
Once again thanks for sharing your thoughts in the subject/k
Excellent post Kristina. I agree with everything that has already been said. I like your paragraph that posting on social media motivates us to “finish” a photo. I think if I never posted my photos, I’d keep tweeking them forever 🙂
Like Jason said, social media can become overwhelming and stressful at times- especially Instagram. G+ and Flickr have smaller and more manageable community sizes for me. I don’t feel as overwhelmed but IG is almost too much. There are so many wonderful photographers that post there and I want to see everyone’s photos but I miss them because they get buried too quickly in my feed. Then I feel bad for missing people’s photos…
But the positive side is that I’ve met so many wonderful people online and like you said, I know that I’m not alone 🙂
Very well said. Social media is wonderful for affirmation. Something I often wonder about being difficult to get for personal art work before the onset of social media. And I think your point on forcing you to finish a piece is apt. Do you ever go back and tweak after sharing your piece to social media? I tend to not, but I have maybe once or twice. Personally I’m never quite content so if I allowed myself I could probably tweak over and over endlessly, but it’s best not to go down that spiral.
Thank you for your article, Kristina! I like to post several shots from one scene too, they form the whole story. 🙂 Thinking about the question of the article I can say that I post my shots on social media because I like to see other toy photographers’ positive and impressive works and I like to share joy with them.
Your shots are special, they really keep something individual that you feel and see in the world. 🙂
Have a great day!