INSTAGRAM – THE LONG MARCH BEGINS

I spent four weeks actively engaged on Facebook at the start of this year – and I enjoyed it. Until I stuck my head up and realised, I’d lost a month of my life.

So I shelved it, satisfied to have reference from this blog automatically shunted to my professional Facebook page and other social media accounts. In the meantime, I invited my friends (as in real friends) to join me for a rant and a coffee when they wanted to connect personally.

But this month, the social media platform Instagram demanded my attention – largely because my clients, primarily national tourism authorities,  liked the idea of me bringing at least a couple of followers with me on my assignments.

So, three days ago I signed on (davidkirklandphotography), with plans to evaluate it by uploading a picture-a-day during the Melanesian Cultural Festival I’ve been commissioned to shoot for the Solomon Islands tourism authority. As I’m off to Fiji and then Japan after it, I thought, by then, I should have some measure of  “The Photographers’ social media.”

Performers from New Caledonia heading for my Instagram account …. until I found all pics are cropped to a square format.

Here’s a few things I’ve since learned:

  • Sadly it’s fun. I went to sleep with it last night and I woke with it this morning, happy to receive an immediate validation of the photographs I posted.
  • It’s frustrating (I’m not a tech-head but thankfully I’m travelling with a social media guru Kate Jackson (travellerkate) who’s sharing all sorts of tips (including a foolproof way of detecting when an “influencer” is buying their followers. Yes, they do that).
  • It takes a bit of time (given photography’s my profession, I can’t just stick any pic up there so I’m shunting pictures I’ve processed on my computer onto the site. (I’d be happy to do some spontaneous stuff with my I-phone but my first reflex is to use my professional cameras, and I haven’t mustered the courage to leave them behind and just take my I-phone).
  • There’s a bit more privacy (which is questionable given I’m sending my pics to the entire world, you might suggest) but at least it doesn’t say you’re now on-line and risk the ire of someone who’s feeling ignored.
  • I’m looking forward to posting my first 15 sec video clip (new territory but an inevitable extension of what I do for a living).
  • I’m on a mission to rack up at least 10,000 followers (which is where, I’m told, credibility begins). Given I had 13 at last count – and most of them are family – this could take a while.

Again, I’m yet to be convinced of the direct benefits of social media to what I do but – as I did with Facebook – I’ll give it a go – at least until I get back from Japan. If I end up dropping it, I guess I can look forward  to spending the remainder of the year reeling from the same attention deficit I suffered when I gave Facebook the flick.