opinion

The Internet Can Be a Waste of Time for Many Creatives

I have a question for my fellow photographers, videographers, and creatives. Do you feel there is too much of the same content on the Internet and it is continuously being rehashed over and over again? I do. I see the same content repeated by many people on all types of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, personal and commercial websites, and my favorite, Youtube.

In my opinion, there is really no real content that is unique. The same information is being regurgitated over and over again and packaged as being new. Take for example, if you search on how to take a photo? If you search on that simple topic you receive dozens of links to videos, websites, and pretty famous photographers that repeat the same information. I find it a bit interesting how many hours and days a person invest in reading and viewing the same content and not really producing a unique image. For me, looking over the same content no matter the resource is a waste of valuable time.

I enjoy what the Internet has to offer to me. I have learned a lot of great information when researching a particular topic. I also have caught myself wasting a lot of hours and days looking at the same content hoping to find something totally new. Basically, I wasted a lot of my time when I could have been out producing and creating new content.

Dave Morrow

Dave Morrow

For me, I enjoy studying great creators that provide content that is original. Some great creators understand the importance of being unique and actually get really bored recreating the same old content in a different package. No matter how you present the same material, you haven't produced anything new. One Youtuber I find interesting is Dave Morrow. He is a landscape photographer that ventures into the wilderness on hikes that last weeks. He does not waste a lot of time on social media sites, does little post processing, and provides content that is us unique and very interesting. For him, it is all about the journey and not producing the same old content. I like that.

So, do you find the same information on the Internet useful or a total waste of time? Do you find yourself wasting your time looking over the same old content? Let me know your thoughts. I would love to find out what you think.

Until next time!

Roger

Social Media Platforms Vs Having Your Own Website

Facebook-Twitter-Instagram

As most people know that read my blog regularly, I am not a real fan of social media platforms even though they are extremely popular in our society today. Just because a social media platform is popular doesn't mean it has real value. Three of the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In this post, I want to express my views on the three platforms and explain why having your own website can be much more beneficial for one's business and even one's personal life. But first, I want to share my views on the top three social media platforms.

FACEBOOK

One of the biggest social media platforms is Facebook. Facebook has been around for a long time and over the years has had its problems with security issues, privacy issues, content bias, and poor leadership in how the platform was being run. I remember back in the day when the use of Facebook was fairly innocent. Families and friends could post articles and express themselves on a regular basis. It was fun. But today Facebook has become a platform to post content that is, in my opinion, brings no real value to my life, especially if I want to use it for my business or to advertise my content and brand. It is not a place to express one's thoughts, ideas, and creative processes. It is limited and greatly controlled. Post on Facebook is never current. Think about it. Have you ever liked a post on Facebook and went back to find a post a week or later and it took you forever to find it? That can be very frustrating and total waste of my time.

If you are a creative person who likes to express yourself, Facebook is not a great place to do that. You are limited by what you can put on Facebook. Besides, most people are not going to read a long article listed in a post on Facebook. Facebook is not made for that. Thankfully, one can visit an external link on Facebook if Facebook does not block it. Depending on who reviews content, information is routinely blocked by Facebook. They can do that. It is their platform. I understand why content may need to be controlled, but I don't like the idea of someone else deciding what should be controlled and limited when it comes to my content. With my own domain, I get to decide what content can be posted, when it can be posted, and how much. As the owner of my site, I am in control.

Facebook is a good platform if you want to see what others are doing and to be kept updated with friends and family. However, it is also a place to waste a lot of time and energy on mindless content. Facebook is also a place to be bombarded with advertising you really don't need or want. If you have your own website, there is no advertising that needs to be ignored or blocked. Better yet, with your own website, you can put as much advertising as you want for free.

Facebook does have some useful attributes but for me, it is a waste of time, energy, money, and productivity. If I want to hear from family and friends, I can always pick up the phone and communicate as we did back in the good old days. There is nothing truly social about Facebook in my opinion.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a different beast from Facebook. Where Facebook provides you with the ability to post more content, Instagram is all about photos, favoriting post, likes, and followers. If you have the need to be liked and followed it is the place for you. But not for me. I do enjoy the ability to get feedback on the content I post. When I post a photo on Instagram I am looking for feedback and not likes or followers. I could care less about how many followers I get and I am not going to buy followers and many Instagram user do. Like Facebook, Instagram can present the illusion that people on Instagram are popular and successful, but the reality is many are not. I have followers on Instagram. Do I personally know them? No, I do not. Are they real? I have no idea. Do I care? Not really. That is why I do not spend too much of my time on Instagram. Instagram, like Facebook, provides me with no real value in my business and personal life. However, if you like to spend most of your day looking at other photos, it is the place to be. For me, I would rather be out taking the photos.

As for me posting content on Instagram, I am limited. I cannot post active links to my Instagram post. No one is going to copy a link I post on an Instagram feed to get to my website no matter what click bate image I use for a photo. Having to copy a link is too much trouble and a waste of others time they are not going to do it. However, Instagram is good for posting images. As a photographer, I like that. What I don't like is how the quality of my photos are presented on Instagram. As a photographer, I want to present my images that I may want to sell in the best possible way. Facebook and Instagram are not the best resources for showcasing my images. By using my website, I can present my images more effectively.

Instagram is a better platform than Facebook in my opinion. Facebook, in my opinion, is losing ground in the social media platform arena. Instagram is growing more in popularity for the masses, but I am becoming less-and-less a fan. I can post photos on Instagram, but I can't post my content. For example, even with this post, I would not be able to express myself or provide information the way I would like on Instagram. Instagram was not created to do that. Instagram has limits. Limitations are not a good thing for a creator. That is why I rarely use Instagram today. I prefer my own website with no limitations.

TWITTER

Oh, Twitter. How I hate Twitter. Of the main three social media platforms, I hate Twitter the most. The reason is that Twitter over the years has become a place where a lot of people like to complain, harass, attack others, and post some of the most useless information on the Internet. I rarely visit Twitter or post there. If I do, I post on photography related topics. I do have followers and I follow a selected few. In other words, I don't follow or care about others that don't have similar interest. I don't care about retweets or random followers. I do enjoy blocking followers that want to follow me and really don't know me. Blocking Twitter followers in one of my favorite activities when I do go on Twitter. I do have to give Twitter a couple of thumbs up. Twitter has increased its character length and allows me to use hashtags. But most importantly, it allows me to create active hyperlinks for my website. So I can redirect people to my site. Which is where I want my followers, customers, and future subscribers to go. The goal for me is to redirect my visitors to my website. As I mentioned earlier, I hate Twitter.

WHY I LIKE HAVING MY OWN WEBSITE

There are a variety of reasons why I enjoy having my own website over using social media platforms to distribute my content. One of the main reasons is I like owning my own website. I am the owner. By being the sole owner I get to create my own content. I get to decide what I want to put on the website, how much, the design of the site, who can post to it, when I want to post information, and I can express what information is important to me. I get to share my interest with others and hopeful, over time, meet others who share the same passions. If I want to advertise anything I can do it and it requires no additional cost to me. I can get analytical data, reports, site activity information and even sell my products online. I am the creator of my website and that is very important to me.

Having my own website allows me to build my own brand. I understand that building my own brand takes focus and time. It is a process. If you took a hard look at many successful creators, you will find they have developed there own brand and utilizing a great website helped them do it over time. Building my own brand is a continuing process and over time my brand, views, and photography business may change. That is okay with me. I like "change". I like the journey and looking forward to new experiences over time.

Owning my website allows me to be more creative with no limitations like having to adjust to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter company policies. I get to be creative in what I want to develop as far as information, products, and additional content. As a creator, it is important to have no limitations. Creators who are limited cannot create or express themselves when using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When using any of the three social media platforms, creators can only provide a snapshot of their ideas during a specific moment in time. Over time, their information gets lost within the garbage the social media platforms collect and propagandizes.

Another important reason that I like having my own website is I have the ability to collect feedback on my website. I can collect and review productive feedback for others. I also have the ability to control feedback that is useless. For example, I can review feedback before it is posted to my website. I get to choose if I want the feedback to be public. On many social media platforms you don't have to the ability to remove replies from trolls that love to post stupid replies to get attention. By having my website, I get to decide if the feedback provided within the post will benefit others in their growth as a creator. My goal for my website is to build a great community. I cannot do that on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It may sound like having my own website sounds like having the power to control others. It is not. Having my own website allows me the ability to control what information I allow in my life without being limited by others. Trolls are not allowed on my website. Just the "Cool Kids".

If you don't have your own website and have considered it before, I suggest you go for it. Having your own website can be a learning process but well worth it over-relying on social media sites and apps to share your thoughts, ideas, and views. My advice is if you are considering getting your own website (I use Square Space), do your research, buy your own domain, evaluate your website features, and then get to work. It can be a lot of fun.

Until next time!

Roger

Lessons for Building a Photography Business

As photographers who create their own business, we all want to be successful in building our businesses by offering a variety of products and services. We want to build our brand have a lot of customers and clients. Over the last couple of years, I have learned a couple of important lessons in building my business that has made my business life less stressful and more enjoyable.

The first thing I have learned is to not get all worked up about making a lot of money by trying to pressure people into buying my images or taking advantage of my services. Of course, I love when someone purchases an image or two from me. It shows me they appreciate my images so much they actually buy them. I love those customers and clients and will bend over backward to support them and provide them with the best services and products I can. I am very loyal to my customers and clients because they are loyal to me. The reality is I don't need people's money. I don't do photography to pressure people into purchasing my products and services. I want people to want what I have to offer. If they don't that is not a big deal. I have gotten to the point in my life and in my business, I have no expectations of people anymore. If people buy or want services from me, great! If they don't, I will not lose any sleep over it. That attitude has greatly reduced all the stress of selling and reaching goals that others think I should be at based on a specific time frame. I have learned not to listen to others that have never created or struggled their own business.

Another lesson I have learned is I don't need a lot of clients or customers to be successful. In today business world, success is measured by how many followers, subscribers or likes you have on your social media feeds. Having thousands or even a million followers, subscribers or likes does not mean anything. Many small businesses are successful with a small number of clients or customers. It only takes one great client or customer to make a difference in the success in building a business and you never know when that special relationship will happen or who that special client or customer will be. Just one client can make a big difference in launching one's business. Until you find that special relationship you can do things to continue to build your business and strengthen your brand. You can learn from other successful business minded people. You can study what they did to become successful. One such business owner I enjoy following is Gary Vaynerchuk on Youtube. He is not your typical business owner or speaker and has a unique take on business, social media, marketing, and branding. He can be a little aggressive in presenting his message but that is fine with me. He is honest and sincere in his messaging and I like that.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

If you are a photographer that wants to be successful, measure your success based on your expectations, goals, and achievement, not according to others expectations. Creatives have unique talents and skills. We want others to appreciate our work. Many creatives thrive on that. In my opinion that is not necessarily a good thing. I believe as a photographer, videographer, or filmmaker your primary focus should not be to make a lot of money.  One should always be working hard every day to build one's business and their brand. One day, those that appreciate and enjoy your products and services will come and when they do you must have something special to offer them that they cannot get anywhere else. Strive for quality, not quantity and make your business uniquely your own.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger