As a photographer, I’ve always had a keen eye for capturing moments and telling stories through my lens. And let me tell you, it’s a real hoot and a half when those stories end up on social media. I mean, who wouldn’t want to share their incredible photography skills with the world, right? That’s like asking a dad if he wants to tell a dad joke. The answer is always yes!
But let’s be real here, the social media aspect of photography can be a real pain in the camera. I mean, I’ve been building my online presence for years now. I was an early adopter of social media, back when it was cool and hip. I posted quality images and reels that I thought people would love. I even added a touch of humor, like a good dad joke, to keep things light and entertaining. But despite the fact that I have almost 3000 followers, I still only get maybe 15-20 likes on a post and hardly ever get any comments. It’s frustrating, and I honestly feel like I’m shouting into the void.
But here’s the real kicker, I know that I shouldn’t get caught up in the numbers game of social media. I mean, it’s like the old saying goes, “Why did the scarecrow win an award?” Because he was outstanding in his field! See what I did there?
Anyway, back to the point. I shouldn’t measure my success as a photographer based on the number of likes or comments that I receive. That’s like judging a book by its cover. But let’s be honest, it’s hard not to. I mean, who doesn’t want a little validation for their hard work?
So, to all my fellow photographers out there, don’t get discouraged. Keep snapping those pictures and telling those stories. And remember, social media is just one platform for sharing your work. Your true success as a photographer lies in your passion, creativity, and the memories that you capture. And maybe a good dad joke or two, because laughter is the best lens cleaner!
So it’s no secret that I have been promoting the idea of moving back to the personal website, and having less reliance on sites like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. In fact, I have so adamantly believed this notion I am pretty sure my wife has gotten tired of hearing me talk about it. But nevertheless, social media companies have proved time and time again that they do not have the best interests of their users at heart, and all it takes is for some excentric rich billionaire, or bank to come along and mess everything up. It happened to Tumblr, OnlyFans, and now the latest drama is all about Twitter.
Now I am not stupid enough to believe or even think that social media is going to implode. I’m not running around with a tin foil hat on proclaiming the end of days here. Social media in one form or another is here to stay, and I love social media. I have spent many an hour scrolling through posts, images, and videos, and loved all that I saw. But for far too long we the people have been beholden to the all-powerful algorithm and whoever holds the golden key to that special piece of magic. Further, on most of these social media sites, you yourself do not OWN the very content you create. Once you hit post the very social media platform you are using owns it and can use it however they see fit.
So, for the last several months I have been encouraging people to start taking ownership of their own content and posting their writing, images, music, and video onto their own crafted and curated websites. Now I have no idea if anyone has taken that advice seriously or not, but it made me feel better about my opinion when none other than the great author himself, John Scalzi, posted this on his Twitter account.
He even went on to talk about it on his own website and writes about it here.
So the bottom line is this…You don’t have to leave social media. I am not suggesting that you delete your accounts and only post on your own website, but as John mentions…
“Just carve out some of that doomscrolling/toiletscrolling time for your own space, that you control, too. And when you do, then link to your own site from that other social media, and invite your followers on those services to visit you in your own place. And link to other people’s personal sites, so your followers can visit them, too. Make social media work for you, and not just for the amoral billionaires.”
If you have been paying attention to social media the last 48 hours you might have seen several of your friends posting screenshots to their Hive Social accounts. As I have mentioned before major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have lost touch with many of it’s users. This is due to several reasons, but the main bullet points are…
Losing touch with what it’s users actually want.
Forcing changes on it’s users through TOS changes and algorithmic changes.
Censorship of content.
Hypocritical behavior in regards to content violations.
The list could go on and on but these four pretty much sum up everyone’s issues with social media. Due to these frustrations many people are looking for alternatives, and flocking to said alternatives in large numbers. Just a short time ago Peter McKinnon posted several videos talking about Vero, and due to his influence you saw users flocking to sign up for accounts.
Now, a few months later, a new viral social media platform is showing up, and that is Hive Social.
I along with many others signed up for Hive, however I signed up mostly to keep the username “@JustAdamScott” so I could maintain branding in case Hive does indeed gain the traction and power to remain. But so far I don’t see a great deal of hope for the small social media platform. While Hive does offer some features that are unique to the social media space, their infrastructure seems to be lacking the ability to handle such a large number of new users. Now I am sure their team is working to expand it’s capabilities and trying their hardest to accomidate so many new users, but will they be able to do it in time. That is, before their new users get bored with the lack of stability and slow connection speeds.
Regardless of if they are able to do so in time isn’t the issue. The issue is this is a symptom of a deeper problem. People are losing and have lost faith in the big social media platforms, and if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others don’t do something quickly to retain their user base they may soon find themselves without.
So I learned tonight that Twitter and it’s new owner has reinstated trumps account. For many of us trump, his supporters, and his twitter account were a constant and never ending source of anxiety and fear. Each morning we would wake up wondering what had happened in the night, and had the end finally come.
When Twitter and other social media platforms decided to ban trump it was a small glimmer of hope. Not a large one, but it was still there, and the reprieve from his hateful, racist, and uneducated words brought a breath of fresh air, so to say. Since then trump ran off to create his own social media platform and TBH I have not thought much about him, or the things he says since, but it does concern me that after all he has done, and all he is under investigation for, how someone could think giving him a voice or platform is the right thing to do. Twitters new owner says he is ushering in an era of “free speech” but free speech does not protect you from the consequences of those words, and trumps words had many many consequences.
Since the announcement people have been leaving Twitter by the thousands. I personally know people who woke up minus 4000 followers just from people choosing to delete their account, rather then participate in a platform that gives trump any amount of voice.
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this, and am struggling to decide what I will do next. Not that I think my personal choice will impact or influence anyone, but I do believe we are on the ledge of some serious choices that will soon have to be made.
Over the last 24 hours, like so many others, I’ve had a series of impulse reactions including considering deleting my Twitter account all together. Looking at global internet trends I seem to not be the only person considering such action. Searches for “Twitter alternatives” have increased all across the net, and several creators I follow have started new accounts with various platforms such as Tumblr, Vero, and something called Mastodon.
Does this mean I’m leaving? I honestly don’t know. Twitter is certainly on a downward decline. But, for now, I’m withholding action. I’ve enjoyed Twitter over the years and I’d hate to see it disappear or be forced to leave. But all good things come to an end & maybe it’s time.
All I know for certain is that social media companies continue to show a certain disregard for it’s users, and it convinces me more and more that the solution is to just continue running this, my own site, where I control the content, and don’t have to worry about changes to TOS, algorithm’s, or being shadow banned.
So, till next time, keep safe, drink your water, and make good art!
Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear what you think about all this. Feel free to leave a comment or reach out on Instagram, Twitter, Patreon, or Vero.
Unless you have been completely cut off from the outside world and have no access to current events, and if that is the case good for you, you probably know about the decline of Twitter. Decline is honestly a nice way of saying the absolute dumpster fire that has become Twitter since Elon bought the social media platform.
Social media has become such a big part of so many people’s lives, and for many, it is how they make a living earning money through the content they create. But, over the last few years, people are starting to understand that social media companies can’t be trusted because all it takes is one change in their TOS and suddenly people are without.
Let’s look at a few examples…
Tumblr – In 2018 Tumblr changed its TOS to restrict nudity on its platform. Users from all over the world were furious and over the course of 3 months, Tumblr lost 33% of its user base and usage statistics for the remaining users were terrible.
TikTok – TikTok has for years not been very kind to its creators and it’s AI system is constantly banning or removing content that doesn’t violate its TOS, but due to how TikTok is built it makes it impossible to appeal. Due to its abuse of both creators and users, it’s estimated TikTok has lost over 200 million users since 2020.
Instagram – Wanting to be just like the “cool” Tiktok Instagram changed its TOS and algorithm to prioritize videos or IG Reels over images. The very thing that made Instagram famous in the first place. This change and shift caused many famous creators such as Peter McKinnon to actively suggest that users leave Instagram and use alternative platforms such as Vero.
OnlyFans – Considered banning adult content briefly despite the fact that adult content is what made OnlyFans profitable in the first place. Thankfully the loss in profits and the overwhelming outrage at the decision forced the leaders and owners of OnlyFans to change their minds.
These are just a few examples, but Twitter seems to be joining the exclusive club of social media platforms that shoot themselves in the foot with how they treat their employees, content creators, and users. Could they recover? Maybe, Tumblr is seeing a resurgence in its user base despite some sordid history, so maybe there is hope, but this brings me back to a theory I have and have had for some time.
Social media was an incredible invention, and it connected people from all around the world in ways no one had ever seen before. But as time has advanced and social media platforms have improved so has censorship. Social media platforms changing their TOS, algorithms, and priorities are inevitable because a company never has the best interest of its user in mind, only its profit margin, and bottom line.
With that in mind, the best option for most content creators is to start their own website and post their content there. I know it isn’t the easiest idea, and it certainly puts more responsibility on the content creator but it is the only way to secure and safeguard your content. Having your own website allows you the opportunity to post whatever you want without fear of being censored or shadowbanned. You are the master of your own site and the decider of your own fate.
So go out there and start your own site. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing plugins available in the near future that will mimic all the things social media platforms offer, but from the safety and security of your own site.
So last night I learned some interesting things about Icon Park in Orlando FL. Now before I get started I want to be clear, this is not a post talking bad about the park itself…Icon Park is a beautiful area filled with amazing lights, fun things to do and a lot of different kinds of delicious food. What this post IS about is talking about the park’s rules and rights. Some of which I find to be very disturbing.
Last night I decided to drive out to Icon Park in Orlando FL and do some night photography. Night photography, especially after a good rain storm and some awesome lights is a favorite of mine, and I was excited to create some art. Not wanting to bother anyone I decided to drive to the top of their parking deck and use the top open-air level to shoot. When I got up there I was literally the only person up there.
Now as anyone knows, night photography requires the use of long exposures. This means you have to thumb down the shutter speeds allowing light to have a longer amount of time to get inside the camera and hit the film/sensor. When doing that the use of a tripod is highly recommended as any shake coming from holding your camera will distort the image.
Now I was using a varity of cameras while I was there. My main is a Sony a7iii with a Sigma ART 24-70mm lens. I was also shooting with a Pentax Super Program 35mm Film camera with a 70-200mm lens, an Olympus Pen EES-2, and a Kodak Ektar h35.
Now as you can see, the images turned out wonderfully, and I was VERY pleased with how they look. Because I was shooting with longer shutter speeds each image took some time to set up and after being in one spot for almost 45 minutes I decided I wanted to change locations and focus on shooting the Ferris Wheel. That is when the trouble started…
After moving, and maybe 10 minutes of time a security guard showed up and told me I had to leave because tripods were not allowed on this private property. When I asked him to show me the policy he said I could look it up online, and continued to harass me to go. I started packing up my gear and when I got into my truck I decided to look up Icon Parks Policy…
This is where I found the following two statements on their “Terms & Conditions” Page.
Large tripods and commercial-grade photography gear for purposes of commercial shooting without permission from ICON Park Media Relations.
Photography, videotaping or recording of any kind for commercial purposes.
Icon Parks Terms & Conditions taken directly off their website
Now look, I have no issues with this policy. Icon Park is private property and they can restrict who photographs their property however they like. However, two things bother me here…
I was not there photographing commercially. I was there personally to make and collect images for my personal pleasure and use. I had/have no intention of profiting from these images. The security guard did not know his own company’s rules, and since I was not commercially photographing my tripod should have been allowed. Instead, I got harrassed and thrown out.
If you continue to read down further in Icon Parks Terms and Conditions there is a section entitled ICON Park Rights. Below I will quote the line that bothers me, but it basically says the park has the right to photograph, videotape, and reproduce anything all the way down to YOUR VOICE and profit from it without giving the individual any compensation…
We may photograph, film, videotape, record or otherwise reproduce the image and/or voice of any person who enters the ICON Park property and use the same for any purpose without payment to any person.
Icon Park Terms and Conditions taken directly off their website
Can someone explain to me how this is right? Can someone make this make sense? You ban photographers and individuals from filming and videotaping your property for profit, but you can do it to anyone who enters your property? Is that not the definition of hypocritical?
It was just a few days before my wedding and something happened. The photographer I had hired to take pictures had to cancel and I was left without a photographer. You can imagine my panic, being a photographer myself, at the possibility of not getting good images on this very important day. So I did what roughly 135,000 people do every year…I pulled up Google and typed in Photographers near me. Want to know what popped up? Two Boudoir studios, a picture framing business, and two “family photography” businesses.
This was NOT a good sign and I was concerned, VERY concerned. Eventually I gave up on Google and decided to try Instagram. Going to the search feature on IG I tried “Orlando Photographer” and “Florida Photographer” and guess what?
If you guessed that I got nothing you would be correct.
See the problem I was facing here is a problem that I don’t think is talked about enough when photographers decide to strike out on their own and become a freelance photographer. Being a freelance photographer means RUNNING YOUR OWN BUISNESS, and running a business requires skills outside of photography.
When you run your own business you need to learn how to…
Find and retain customers – This means sales, marketing, Google AdWords, and picking up the phone and cold calling potential clients.
Organization – Running a calendar, keeping appointments, doing the edits, etc.
Presentation – Delivering a quality experience to the customer from start to finish.
Now why do I bring this all up? Because if the local photographers in the Orlando area had all set up a Google Business Profile I would have seen more options on my “Photographers Near Me” google search then I did. I would have been able to secure and find a photographer more easily, and I certainly would have had less stress in the days leading up to my wedding.
So to all my fellow photographers near me and far far away from me…If I have but one tip for you it is this…Go set up a business profile on Google. You can thank me later.
So if you have been paying attention to social media news recently you have probably seen a lot of people asking “Is Instagram Dead?” Or at least that is what everyone using the platform is predicting. For those of you not paying attention to social media news, let me catch you up…no, no, there is too much…let me sum up.
Instagram is dead because Instagram is trying to copy/be like TikTok. Therefore it is giving more priority to video content than it is to still images.
It is not the first time something like this has happened. In 2017 Instagram copied Snapchat by introducing “stories” which I will admit I think Instagram did better than Snapchat. Then in 2018 Facebook tried to turn Instagram into another version of Facebook and started prioritizing ad spending over natural account growth. This meant if you were not willing to spend ad money with Instagram your account was not going to grow or get engagement. Now in 2022 with the rise in popularity of Tiktok, Instagram is once again trying to copy the cool kid, instead of having its own unique style and presence.
Now, why is this a problem you might ask…Well for one thing Instagram was founded on the idea of posting photos. Photographers of every kind made Instagram popular for what it is today. Ignoring where you came from, and worse ignoring the people who helped make you is a terrible thing for any person, business, or social media platform. It alienates your core base user group in favor of a new, younger, hip user. But here is some harsh truth to anyone reading this…Companies have been doing this for years. Think back to internet providers, cell phone companies, insurance companies ect. They are ALWAYS having promos for NEW clients. “Sign up now and get 50% off your first order!” or “Switch today and your first two months are on us!” or “Buy this month and get this nifty service absolutely free!” Every single one of us has heard these kinds of sales pitches before because companies don’t usually care about you after you’ve signed up.
When was the last time you heard of a company offering a promo, special, or offer to customers who have been with them for 10 years? How often has a company called you up and said something like “Hey we see in our records that you have been doing business with us for 5 years so we would like to say thank you by paying for your next month of service?” It does not happen because business owners focus WAY too much on new business rather than existing business.
I recently worked for a company where the CEO was a perfect example of this mentality. He would sign any contract, make any deal, and say anything to anyone (including lying) if it meant closing a new business deal. Meanwhile, he largely ignored and neglected his main base customers.
Instagram is dead because they are doing this exact same thing.
Now, that being said what can be done about it?
Nothing! Natta! Zippo!
Harsh I know, but the reality is there really isn’t anything we can do. We the people do not own Instagram or Facebook, and therefore we can beat our chest and scream our opinions and they will mean absolutely nothing. We have to accept that Instagram is changing because we don’t pay for Instagram. Perhaps it would be different if we all paid some sort of subscription fee to the platform, and Instagram’s profit was tied into those subscriptions, but that is not the case.
So how do we get our content out there? What app do we go to? Is there an Instagram alternative?
As long as you share your content on FREE platforms you will always be subject to the changes that platform makes. However, if you choose to share your content on your own website you will ALWAYS have control over how your content is shared. Now let me be clear I am not advocating for you to leave Instagram. I still have an Instagram and plan to continue to share content there, but I don’t count on Instagram’s FREE model to EVER work in my favor or interest. Even its paid options are not very reliable. But I do count on my website to always have the content I want because I created it and shared it the way I wanted to.
Purchase I am excited about: I have been rewatching all the Harry Potter movies, and as you can imagine it’s gotten me into a very Harry Potter mood. So in the spirit of Hogwarts I am planning on decorating my bathroom in such a way that Moaning Myrtle would want to move in. That being said I am very excited about my latest purchase, and look forward to traveling to The Ministry of Magic.
Facebook’s most popular post this week: Coming up with good Facebook posts is always a challenge. I often go through old journals, saved photos and memes, and other idea inspiring resources to create good posts. This week’s most popular post came from a mixture of a book I am reading this week, a meme I had saved on my phone, and a few random thoughts bouncing around in my head.
Most popular Twitter post: If you follow me on Twitter you know that I use it as a way to express anything, and sometimes everything that comes out of my brain. This week I mused on how gullible people can sometimes be. Especially when talking about statistics. Check it out here.
Favorite Tumblr Post: I spend far too much time indoors. I need to go outside more often, explore, and see the creativity, and beauty of the world around me. THIS image reminded me of that.
Favorite Pinterest post: Over the last week I have been thinking a lot about relationships, and how so many of us put up with abuse, neglect, and are taken advantage of. Sadly I have had many such relationships like this in my life recently, and it is a pattern of behavior and abuse that I am just not willing to put up with any longer. So you can understand why THIS image spoke to me like it did. If you really are important to someone they will show you. If not, they will ignore you.
If you are looking for other ways to follow me on social media don’t forget to follow me on SnapChat. It is wild and crazy, but I do my best to keep you all entertained.