I have 5,692 Instagram followers while I am writing this. 1,909 twitter followers and 549 likes on Facebook. So why exactly are these statistics embedded here?
Well because they truly don’t matter. Yes, Social Media is important and often a great marketing tool today, yet am I a photographer because I have managed to get a few thousand people to press a button on their phones, while they are horrendously bored sitting on a bus. Not in the least, I might actively use it, but am I necessarily proud of my stats? Does it make me smile when a shot gets 300 likes?
Not in the least. I couldn’t care less, whereas if my Palestine Project (shameless plug-in) gets another view on my website, someone reads a blog post; that brings a smile to my face. That truly does, because it means that someone has taken time to look at my work, rather than while scrolling decided to double click their screen.
Yet, even though this might be the case, I still use Social Media and am disappointed in myself if I haven’t managed to capture something new to post on a daily basis. I do this, cause it truly is (how I use it) my newest portfolio of my general style and my work, mixed with a journal of what I’m up to.
So Instagram in particular does mean something to me, and has also given me a variety of my jobs; however it is oh so wrong to get in your head that the more followers one has, the better and more successful photographer one is.
@Jacob has accumulated over 538K followers on Instagram alone, yet is he a top photographer? No. He is popular and delivers high quality sunset photos of a variety of spectacular places. People on rooftops, ocean with sunset, and generally everything else with a sunset/rise in general. It’s pretty, it truly is and thereby a huge variety of people follow him cause when scrolling past everyone goes oh how pretty and likes. Whereas my photos, and the majority of incredibly successful photographer’s work isn’t pretty. It’s real, sometimes graphic and it doesn’t often contain a sunset.
If people would get asked to name a great photographer, people wouldn’t come up with the name @jacob. They’d name Salgado, Leibowitz and oh so many others. Salgado’s Instagram page has received 217K followers on Instagram. A photographer with world-wide exhibitions, his own agency and multiple awarded books has half the amount of @jacob who photographs pretty sunsets. Leibovitz doesn’t even have an account.
Is this a rant? Well, no at least I hope not in your view. What I am trying to do, is explain to myself and hopefully many others that likes on Instagram aren’t the crucial guidelines in the road to creative success. Does it bug me, when a photo receives less likes than others? Yes, however I am attempting and attempting to influence you readers simultaneously that these aren’t the numbers that are crucial to your large future success.