I was on Twitter for quite a while, 4 years plus. But most of the time on that platform was taken up by things that had nothing to do with photography and that is why I started the account, to promote my work. Twitter can be a political, social and sporting minefield that can drag you in to non-stop arguments with probably the most closed minded of people you will probably never ever meet. Either they disagree with you, or more often it is you that disagrees with them and there is a tendency for you to let them know that!
So, working my way through those years it began to look less photographic and more opinions, debates and general annoyance, but I had over 1,250 followers which in Twitter terms is not bad. However not all (if any!) were following me for my work, instead it was my political leanings or location. To me that felt empty and wasteful. Social media can be a timewaster though, but so often it masquerades as a time passer. It takes a long while to realise it is the latter that is the case, and you are just bored looking for something to talk – or argue about.
Last month, I took the decision to restart my account and move away from that side. I would concentrate more on following Photography and other Photographers and certainly not those photographers who have more opinions than pictures. Do not get me wrong, what they do with their own account is their business. But I need serenity in my life right now. As Don McCullin put it, “I am sentencing myself to peace.”
My Twitter feed is now full of pictures of landscapes, birds and flowers and last check, I was just short of 95 followers, mostly photographers. The only “triggers” I see now are the ones they have used to take a picture and that is how I like it. There is a whole load of photographers on there that have extraordinarily little following, but their pictures are stunning. I guess they are there for the reasons I was, and I am now.
So here is a tip, have two accounts on social media if you are a photographer. One account where you post nothing but pictures and another where you can let your other expressiveness flourish. For me, the two cannot mix. Sometimes it is not what you are saying, but who is reading what you are saying. A potential client who is looking for your services can be put off if they find you overly aggressive or tubthumping about issues they have a different view of – even if it comes down to a football team. I am not saying do not be who you are but be who you are in a place where you are among friends and colleagues who know you, know your humour and your ideals. In the end most people are looking for a photographer who will tell them how to pose, not how they should think.
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