You see, I have a day job so that keeps me really busy. And truthfully, I really enjoy my day job. It’s awesome. But like all jobs, it takes a lot of time, and that’s ok.
As I mentioned in a previous article, I recently took a hard look at Google Analytics to determine which sites are sending traffic my way, and which ones are not. Facebook and Google lead the pack, so I plan to continue to feed them. They are strong for me.
It’s like the 80/20 rule in business: you get 80% of your business from 20% of your customers. Well, my blog is “my business” in this sense (and for me, it’s the center of my digital universe), and so I am focusing on the 20% of sites that generate 80% of my traffic. Everything else is an afterthought (though more like a “no thought”).
And yes I realize that you get out of something whatever you put into it. I completely agree. I am not saying all these sites are bad. Far from it. Some of them are probably incredible. I just don't have time to invest and "grow a following" there - I've already done that on other sites, and am sticking with them.
And by the way, you might decide on two (or more) completely different sites, and that's ok too. I am not saying these are the two best sites for everyone, since we all want different things, and we all have different likes. It's just that these two work for me, right now.
In the old days...
When I first started sharing my photos online (which is coming up on 5 years now), of course I tried posting to a lot of sites in a feeble attempt to “grow awareness” of my work. My opinion: it’s a waste of time to post to a lot of sites. I really think it is. I think you should pick one or two places and just do that. Focus and go deep. You can’t possibly do justice to several sites...it’s too much. Trust me. I tried. It’s ok to experiment and see which sites work for you, but after that...make a decision and go all in.
I used to interact a lot on Flickr, and though the new layout is causing me to interact more now than over the last couple of years, it’s still pretty minimal. I used to post photos to HDR Spotting, but again haven’t done that in years, and I don’t care. I used to try and keep up on Twitter, but how can anyone do that? All that crap scrolling by, 24 hours a day...makes me crazy.
Instagram? I never even signed up, and I LOVE to shoot with my iPhone and share it (but the pics go on Facebook and into a Flickr set and sometimes here on the blog). Pinterest? I have a few galleries there (or whatever you call them) but I never log in and look. I can’t even remember my password. 500px? Don’t get me started. It's a beautiful site, but I feel like they have stumbled. Just go read this and then this. New MySpace? Forget about it. That one’s a waste. As the old joke goes: "the founders of MySpace aren't even on MySpace".
See what I am saying? There’s just too much, and most of it is pointless.
And guess what else? I don’t use most of those sites, and I feel absolutely zero remorse about not being there. I used to think that I “had to” be active everywhere - and felt bad if I wasn’t - but I don’t think that way anymore. I just don’t care about being everywhere, because it doesn’t work.
I see some photographers who seem to be everywhere (and there is nothing wrong with that, to be clear), and I see others that only seem to be in 1 or 2 places online. I used to think it was a sign of success or broad awareness if you are on all these sites, with followers here and there. It looks like you are well-known, and maybe it really means that. In other words, I used to want that.
But not anymore. I now have greater respect for those that I see in just 1 or 2 places. I think they figured it out, and aren't wasting their time. So I quit caring about that and trying for it, and have realized that the value of my time is worth more than what I get back from the majority of those sites. I can't keep up, I don't want to keep up, and I am using my leftover free time for myself.
Will I ever post to these other sites again? Possibly - just not very often.
Guess what else? I also think that if someone wants to see my work bad enough, they will find me on whichever site I am on...because let's be honest, I'm on the two big sites with a decent presence, and they probably are as well. And of course, all my work is always sitting right here on my blog. That's an easy click too.
I also feel a whole lot better now. It’s like a monkey is off my back. There are a million sites that suck (and plenty of good ones too, I admit) - and can suck your time away - and they do nothing for me in return. So I don’t go there anymore, and I don’t miss them. There’s a certain amount of freedom in that. I’m starting to feel better already. :-)
Anyways, this is sort of like my apology letter to all those folks on Twitter, or Flickr, or Pinterest, or wherever that are kind enough to leave a comment, or repin something, or whatever. I am sorry that I don’t reciprocate. I have to pick where I can engage, and those sites didn’t make the cut.
So...I am really sorry about that. I really appreciate that you took the time to interact with my photography in some way - seriously, I really appreciate it...and I apologize for not having the time to interact back with your content. It’s not about you, or even about that site. It’s about time.
Speaking of time...it’s about time for me to go take some pictures so that I feel better about myself. I’ll see you next time. Thanks for listening.