What is Social Media?
Now, most people, when they think of social media, you're just sitting there and you're thinking about, okay, it's Facebook. That makes sense. Social media as a whole means platforms. It does mean the idea of engagement, it means that the space or the median where we do a lot of the stuff that we're trying to do, or that you guys want to do when it comes to social media. But social networking is the really important aspect of it, and it's that social aspect of social media that so many photographers forget. It seems that a lot of photographers are sitting there, and you guys are posting out online, and you're just expecting magical things to happen. "My content's good enough, right, I'm just going to share it out there. And that means that, why aren't people engaging with it? This photo's awesome." Doesn't work that way. Social networking, which is the core aspect of social media, is all about engagement. All about connectivity. It's all about making relationships with people that are ...
following you. And you're rewarded for it. Now, once you get to a certain point, and we'll talk about a few different photographers, yes, the idea of jumping in and engaging once you get to a certain level, because you get so much engagement, is just impractical. But for 99% of people that are on social media, the reality is that engagement spurs more engagement. If you're not engaging with the people that are following you, if you're not engaging with other people out there creating stuff, if you're just sitting there and expecting good things to happen, you're going to be waiting a long time. And that's just the hard truth. And I use the same analogy when it comes to photographers from a business standpoint, for nature landscape photographers, or people that are looking to get publications published. I get so many people, because I have such a large following and an active blog, reaching out to me and saying, "Colby, how do I get prints, how do I get images into a publication?" And my first question back is, "Well, what publications have you sent your images back into?" The response? "Well, none." Well, how do you expect it's going to happen? You think people are just magically going to find you? Doesn't work that way. You have to put some of the groundwork in. So, right now, we want to talk about what social media is. So, social media is a communication service. Again, this is something that we talked about, the idea that communication is the core of why we're in the social age of the internet, why social media has such value. It's a communication service. If you think of the fact of communicating as a species, 30 years ago, what'd we do? I used to sit there and, before, you talked to someone and you'd say, "Here's my phone number, give me a call." And then, quickly, that moved to, "Here's my pager number. Page me. I'll call you back." And then, from there, it went to email, so, "Give me your email address and I'll shoot you an email." And a lot of what's happening these days, it's like, "Hey, let's connect on Facebook. What's your Instagram handle? What's your Snapchat? I'll Snap you." And that is a huge shift in how we communicate as a whole, as a species, as people, is that idea of communication as a communication service. Don't forget that, because, again, I think a lot of people focus on the content, and they're not necessarily focused on the idea that you're there to communicate and engage with people. It's also a publication platform. It's the ability to, obviously, create images, and to sit there and push them out, and to hopefully get some engagement, to get some eyes on what you're doing. It's a business tool. I, myself, have leveraged social media in so many ways over the last 10 years that it has been an integral part of the building of the foundation of each of my different companies. And will, as I continue to build more. It's an education platform. How many people have learned a little bit from going online? YouTube videos, CreativeLive, something like that, read an e-book. It's huge. Ultimately, social media is really whatever you want it to be. Again, the subjective nature of social media as a topic and as a value proposition. So, right now, let's talk about what platforms we're really going to be covering in this class. Now, there are other ones that you might have questions about, and I will answer them. And there are topics about some of this stuff that I might not cover initially. I'm happy to answer them, again, so keep that in mind. But we're going to be talking about Facebook. They're the elephant in the room. They're impossible to ignore. It's 1.8 billion people that are on Facebook. It's really hard for me to sit there and say, "You don't need Facebook," because you do. Twitter. Twitter has had ups and downs over the years, but it's still a great short communication tool for having these types of communications and conversations. The value proposition for photographers is a little bit different from a business standpoint, but it's huge on engagement and building relationships. Instagram. Instagram is still pretty hot right now. Some people say it's at the pinnacle point of its bubble, but it's a social media platform literally built solely on sharing images, and rewards beautiful images and has the highest engagement of any of the other platforms out there. LinkedIn. This is my favorite. Most people don't even sit there and are like, "LinkedIn, what do I... I don't need an extra job, I'm a photographer." We're going to talk about that. I'm excited about that one. Pinterest. Now, Pinterest is one that I don't cover extensively. To be honest, it's one that I don't use a ton for the type of work that I do, but it is important. They get tons of webviews. For certain kinds of photographers, which we'll talk about, Pinterest still has a high-value proposition. And Snapchat. Snapchat's big. It came on the scene, I believe, in 2010, took a few years, and it's really taken off in the last few years. It's confusing for a lot of people, I want to explain why it's so valuable, and we're also going to explain why not necessarily everyone has to be on it. But these are generally the platforms that we're going to cover throughout this course. Oh, Google+. I'll mention Google+ a couple times because, again, it does have value. It has diminished from its heyday a couple years ago, but it still does quite a bit for me, and, again, we'll talk about that a bit.