A social media lesson for group and community Hosts…
Reciprocity ˌrɛsɪˈprɒsɪti / noun…. The practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. “the Community intends to start discussions on reciprocity with others…”
When I first came across social media, many guys in the ‘know’ were saying to get yourself noticed and followed was not only to share, but to follow, like others work and if you are really serious to comment on a post or blog. Also, join groups and communities to gain knowledge of your chosen genre and reciprocate!
So that’s what I set out to do… I searched round the social networks; 500px, Flickr, Ello, Google+, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr and Instagram for my favourite photographers and bloggers. I clicked on the link to either join, follow, like, plussed and added them to circles (as in the case of Google+). I set up an account even on Twitter and did the same; I followed, I commented, I replied and I reTweeted. I joined other Facebook and Google+ groups, followed photographers pages and posted into their communities, (when I was allowed to) of my interest and photographs. Alas, much to my surprise, with VERY limited success. To be fair the only sites I have found to be close to some form of ‘regular’ response and reciprocity, has been on Ello and 500px.com.
Over the last few months this has got me really thinking… Why at the initial stages was it suggested to me and to the millions out there to checkout work, share and like (+), to get a reciprocation? Why is this? You’re encourage to do it but you get nothing back in return.
Until recently – it suddenly occurred to me!
I read an article that it was probably best to save your time on social networking and NOT join groups associated with a camera! ie. Nikon or Fuji Users… It would be better to share your work on like minded groups ie Street or Travel Photography. But as my photo shows here (right) what comes down (in) doesn’t always mean you’ll get something out of it. An appreciation of your work? A suitable comment… or Maybe a helpful comment! (critique) – that would be nice wouldn’t it? Come to think of it – it is quite noticeable how so many photographs are uploaded to the Facebook and Google+ groups/communities and Business pages that don’t get a comment even from the hosts!
So why is there this lack of interaction by the hosts of these groups, are they too busy? … Well not from what I see of the amount of posts they make – sometimes 3, 4 or ‘god forbid’ 5 or 10 a day! No I know the reason why!
You see Social Networking is all about getting noticed… We all have that inner ‘want’ to be noticed and credited… That us (menials / amateur photographers) that have the need to post our work onto sites or groups in the hope that we’ll get some kind of feed back or recognition, from a member or even a HOST, to help us improve. After all you’re posting your work into a site / group / page / community for just that reason aren’t you? So naturally, your social network expands as you post, like or follow in the various groups you have chosen.. People will follow you as you join in, yet no real commitment from them, your just another one of the group. So, the HOST/photographer is he/she a great photographer if they have over 4k, 10k, 1m or 8m followers. NO… It’s just that people want to keep a check on what they are posting (and probably to try and copy the work!) and will like a post (making no comment) of a photo, even if that post is referring to a question!
So why? Why do we not get any feed back from the HOST after they suggested that we should like share and comment on others work and reciprocate. After all wasn’t that the reason to set the community up in the fist place? NO…
Life is all about SHARING they told us, share your work, share your comments share the ‘love’, make friends all over the world. And what happened. NOTHING ZILCHO… Just the odd like (+) from a member.
The reason?… I’ll tell you the reason. and this might hurt just a little…
Its because you are being fed a line. A line that reads ‘here’s the water come and drink’… Feed my community! and I’ll advertise to you, My show; My book; My magazine entry; My workshop/seminar; and of course My work! You join the group and your data/email has been recorded, and will be used in the future, you’re just another number on the list for the ‘Host’ to ADVERTISE their services to you – NOTHING MORE! You’re hooked ‘coz you don’t want to miss anything from these guys, well, you like their work – Don’t You? But, still you try posting your photo’s to get some recognition and some kind of feed back. Trust me, IT WONT WORK guys. The host has no interest in ‘your’ work only in his/her own activity to show what they can do, they can sell and what can be achieved if you join them on a workshop or some kind of You Tube ‘costly’ interactivity… It’s going on all over the networks now… Snap Chat, Facebook live, You Tube, all the blogs, and of course podcasts… etc etc.
Now all you hosts out there Im not going to name names but you know who you are! You know exactly where I’m coming from – it’s just that until now no one has ever thought of posting such content to tell you…
Page, Group and community ‘Hosts’ call it what you wish, are you still reading this? Well, if you are so intent on offering your services to others and you suggest to them to share, follow and comment, to build social networks how about YOU (as a host) doing the same. So many photographers I see posting their work on your pages and you don’t spare the time to even like the image; Don’t be so aloof of what you have created… Think of what you suggested at the beginning and after all probably the only reason you’re successful in social media networks is that you were one of the first to capitalise on it. It’s all for the production or selling of your work… Isn’t it? But one day it will come back and bite you when your fans drop away. Because you have shown no real interest in your followers/members work. So come on ‘Share’ – yes ‘Share’ your comment!
It doesn’t take much to do that or even a ‘like (+)’ on someones photograph… In actual fact I’d go a stage further, if you did make that effort, it might even expand your social network as people recognise you do care and there might not be the need for you to make 5 -10 posts a day to keep (what you think) your followers satisfied… Oh and one other thing show different work! Not the same type of image all the time. In street photography – a genre that has come under fire quite a lot recently for lack of style and imagination – I put it to you, yes you, the HOST could be the one spoiling it for many followers of social documenting photography. Too much of the same, be different experiment – and show it….
Above all if you (the host) are going to commit to tutoring, be it for social networking or for photography, ‘Practice what you Preach’ please. You want people to share and comment in your group? Then why don’t you do the same?
Finally my comment to the ‘FOLLOWER’ or rather ‘group member’… Don’t be a ‘lemmings’ just following for following sake, there are very few group leaders/hosts out there that really care about your work. Don’t follow so many groups – stick to a select few and if the host doesn’t show any response to members work and just continues to post his/her own and advertise the next event they’re involved with – Then Leave it – Search for another until you find a great group with interactivity, not only by members but by the HOST as well…