It’s come that time to begin thinning out the services I use to share my work. With the onslaught of Facebook, Google+, DeviantArt, Flickr, Pintrest, 500px, Twitter… and on and on. Ideally, it would be worth while to use them all. Realistically though, its time consuming as hell and frankly I just don’t feel the need to continue using “all-of-the-above” services. I started out thinking that it is best to use them all for the largest reach… but the time spent v payoff must be looked at rationally.
So its come down to this. Time to thin the masses and below I layout my thoughts on each service, leading up the the last denomination that will be dismissed from my workflow. Do take note, these are my personal experiences and opinion of each service and by no means should be taken as a professional or even mediocre take on each service. As I usually anticipate, take my words with a grain of sand… 😉
Facebook is the social gorrila in the room. It’s reach is only being rivaled by Google and even then they struggle to retain their ground. The “Pages” feature is nice and helpful for visitor stats, but the uploading feature is a pain in the ass. Sometimes it will share to the timeline and other times it does not. Quite a bit frustrating when you have to share your own image, rather than it showing as a new upload to the profile. Its a small issue, but annoying none the less. Worst of all, the photo galleries are locked in place, leaving you no ability to reorganized or move images between folders. The last issue I have with Facebook Pages, is the inability to message or share to groups or fans directly. I completely understand that you don’t want a clothing store spamming your profile after you’ve liked them, but it seems there would be some middle ground that could be had. It kind of defeats the purpose for photographers or the like, that wish to use their FB Page for group discussion and separate their private profile from “fans” or “associates.” I do love how easy it is to post into my own page from my profile. So thats a plus. Either way, with the social reach of FB, this service is least likely to be dismissed.
Google+ is more the chimpanzee and one of the best photography centric communities around at the current time, albeit quite unimpressive in the followers to feedback ratio. The galleries that G+ offers are wonderful. They are laid out so beautifully and fit images together automagically like a puzzle. Sometimes if you only have a handful of images, the layout it can come out a little odd. But its not a a big issue. The ability to reorganize, move and touch up the image easily, without affecting its comments and +1’s is the best in class. One of my biggest head scratchers comes in the form of follower to feedback proportion. With Facebook, I have an average reach of 70 people at the current time directly and just about every share incurs feedback. Sometimes a few comments. With Google+ I have been hovering around 6400 followers, and average maybe five +1’s a share. Sometimes up to 10 or 12 with a comment or two occasionally. So that comes to a average of 4% feedback on FB and 0.07% on G+. Thats a pretty staggering difference. However, with G+ the connectedness possible with professionals and the usually unreachable “pros,” is definitely superior to Facebook. So its a weird contradiction. But never the less, G+ will certainly be staying in my flow.
Next up Twitter…. what do I really have to say about Twitter. Its about as simple as it comes and the easiest of all of them to adapt into any workflow. Just set your FB or blog to autopost to Twitter and forget about it. Well, maybe not actually forget about it, but you could and still continue to share. Aside from the fact this simple yet effective service single handedly brought me a wonderful featured front page interview and its nearly turn-key use, that will be staying without question.
Flickr, ooooh Flickr. No one ever knows where you’re going to be each month. Its about as stagnant as they come and the management, Yahoo, is about the most volitile of all the services available. Constant layoffs, persentant neglect to their photo centric services… Sometimes it just seems like they don’t care and it takes the people to make the community worth returning to. Then came Getty and that one near made me jump ship immediately. Personally I feel Getty are the slave drivers of the photography industry. Mind you, for many you can simply set your image to be available to sale and move on with little to no labor. However, if your a professional commercial photographer, you really need to calculate your time, expense and return if you focus on Getty only. In this regard 70% loss on your return per image is near vomit inducing.
Also, you gotta pay to play big. Unlike the other services, this one costs you to upload beyond 200 visible images and see your view stats. Price generally falling around $25 a year. It’s not much, but its still more than the zero charged by the former services I’ve mentioned. Personally I now find myself paying it because honestly, its worth while for extra eyes on my photos and the ease of posting to Message Boards.
My final gripe with Flickr is the fact its pretty much the dumping ground for all images, good and mostly bad for a MASS of people. Ergo, this is why the size of Flickr’s library falls somewhere between ridiculous and infinity. This isn’t a horrible thing, but it leaves an barrage of images to sift through in order to see quality work. In the end, its also an easily uploadable service with my Lightroom plugins, the groups community are a neat option and it doubles as a worthy online database for those dumping ground images. So I think Flickr is worth keeping.
Now we come to 500px. This is one of the more unique of the social sharing services. Its kinda free (you can pick up a pro account to allow unlimited uploads, an array of portfolios and a special touch to your blog, but its a touch pricey at $50 a year)… but the free service is adequate for general purposes. Its a self curated community and gets by pretty well with that assumed quality bar. People are less likely to just dump their junk in there, a la Flickr. So this leaves a vast array of very quality photos and a damn good number of talented photographers for inspiration. Also the feedback you get at 500px (right now) is quite high. I can generally expect a large amount of views, at least a comment a photo and generally a few votes on each share. Bear in mind, you don’t want to throw up your shit photos and this can be attributed to the ratio of viewership you receive. I very much enjoy 500px and may very well purchase a pro account in time. The layout is wonderful, its simple and I am always inspired when I visit. So this one is certainly here to stay.
Moving on, we have Pinterest and DeviantArt… the two services that are now on the fence. Pinterest, a service I currently use just a smidgen over not at all. It’s also one of the more wishy washy of the services when it comes to the terms of service. It’s a neat concept, but I just don’t see any benefit to it currently. Maybe it’s just me and I just haven’t spent enough time with it to appreciate it. Either way, at the current time… I have to say, my extent of participation will likely continue just above none at all. Hovering around viewing for curiosity and no further participation.
This leaves DeviantArt… The tweenager of the art sharing industry. Its huge, its hip and its young. This is also the service I have been a part of the longest. Now that I think about it, it’s been 7 years now… Wow, has it really been that long? Zooom. Anyway, I must say, for a good percentage of that time, I wasn’t very active. Started out strong, got bored and then really hit it hard in the last year. There seems to be a growing community of photographers making their way in. But to be honest, it’s a pain in the ass to upload your work. The sta.sh option helps alleviate the extent of the pains, but there is something about the upload process that turns me off.
Aside from the overtly clunky nature, the endless bombardment of Cats and teenage dream breast art gets old rather quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, DeviantArt isn’t all whiskers and sexual reference… the neat thing about dA is the variety of media formats shared. Everything from digital media such as photography, 3D modelling and conception art to physical media like sculptures, special effects makeup and more. It’s actually quite impressive to have so many art forms in one place. Especially with the pockets of wonderous talent backing those mediums.
However, regardless of the vast array of media displayed here… the time intensive submission process, ho hum journal system and the redundantcy of imagery have me putting my dA profile to sleep for a while. I might haunt it now and then, but since I haven’t posted anything in a while, I will likely leave it as equally dormant as my Pinterest account.
I bid thee Pinterest and DeviantArt farewell… Two gone, and Pixoto has now found itself on my radar… I guess substituting one loss and ridding myself of another is worth while for one night of rambling.
Not sure if this post was of any importance… I hope that you got at least some information out of this wall of words.