RANTING AND SOUR GRAPES WILL FOLLOW.........
Over the last year or so I have been trying to make my small mark in what I now regard as the social media jungle. A constant feeling of wading through quick sand or banging my head against a brick wall, makes me wonder if it's worth the effort. But what other options do we have?
To travel and experience this planets natural wonders is why I live and work. Photography is not the sole purpose of the life I lead, but the rewards for it, and so long as I have sufficient income to sustain it, I want for little else. Like most creatives, a way to share my work with a larger audience is what I love to do and so today's social sites seem ideal. Breaking through though and being noticed on the other hand is proving to be incredibly hard, frustrating and maybe even a little degrading. I certainly don't regard myself as a ground breaking image maker but I feel that I can hold my own against the masses out there who have the large followings and thousands of likes on every image they share. So because I don't, does this mean that my work is substandard or unwanted and I will not succeed in today's world as a landscape photographer? Should I really care at all?
Facebook I feel, has become a complete waste of time unless you are willing to pay for the privilege of having your content shared. The same principle of content sharing, once for free, that made the site so popular in the first place. For a business trying to make money, probably a necessity but for an amateur with no financial gain, it seems ridicules to be paying to share your images, this even with the people who have chosen to follow you. Instagram, although not as bad will probably be heading in the same direction soon as it is now linked with Facebook. Goal posts are constantly being moved. The way these sites analyze, rate the quality of your content and then for them to decide who shall see your posts, has become a minefield of algorithm's that the everyday Joe has no chance of understanding or keeping up with, a full-time job in its own right!
Having 10k + followers is not my main goal as this is surely not the way to be regarded as successful. Although this would be nice I just don't have or want to spend the time trying to out do fellow photographers, not in the quality of work but in self-promotion and being gratified in the quantity of "likes" an image receives. I see so many others investing their days in promoting, elevating, and marketing themselves as commercial brands. Even if photography is not their main means of income, they must be putting the hours into equal a full-time job. When do they get the time to enjoy other aspects of their life like family and friends, never mind traveling the world to create the images they are constantly posting.
Success to me is simply a matter of accomplishing and sustaining a life that is meaningful and rewarding in its experiences, independent of anything or anybody else. To be successful on social media do I need to create an illusion, an illusion of a meaningful and purpose-driven life full of travel, excitement and the spiel to go with every image I choose to share. I think not, I do not measure success by how many images I make, how popular I am, or my annual income.