Cindy Project Monochrome-16 eric kim photography black and white

Do You Need to Be on Social Media?

Cindy Project Monochrome-16 eric kim photography black and white

Do you need to be on social media?

It depends. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to be on social media?” And better yet— ask yourself, “Why do I make photos?”

Most people use social media to have their photos seen by more people. But why?

Why do we share our photos on social media?

Why do we want more people to see our photos? To uplift and motivate and encourage more people? Or for us to have more of a self-ego boost?

Do we use social media to connect and interact with other people? Or to just show off our own photos?

How did we share our photos in the past?

NYC, 2015
NYC, 2015

I often wonder how photographers from the past interacted without social media. It is so easy for us to upload our photos to social media and share them with others. But in the past, you probably only shared your photos with a very small group of people. Perhaps your close friends, colleagues, or family. Instead of uploading all of your vacation photos to Facebook, you would sit down in your living room with your slide-projector, and (bore) your cousins and uncles with your holiday snapshots.

I think that there were a lot of benefits to sharing your photos with fewer people. Although fewer people saw your images, you got more of a personal connection with other photographers. You would get better feedback on your photos, rather than just a “like” on social media.

Less time on social media = more time in real life?

So a practical idea we can apply to our photography is to spend less time on social media, and more time in-person with other photographers.

I know that the most meaningful feedback I get on my photos is when I meet another photographer for coffee, sit down with them, show them my photos, and ask for an honest critique. They can sit down with me, really explain their thoughts, point at certain parts of my photos, and give me their candid thoughts.

I have never gotten any feedback on my photos on social media, which has totally revolutionized how I saw my own work.

I also think that social media is great for meeting people online; and then using social media as a bridge to meet in-person. I’ve met some of my best friends in photography through social media, and then connected with them to meet in real life.

You don’t need to be on social media

So do you need to be on social media? In a short answer: no.

Some of the world’s best photographers aren’t on social media. And because they aren’t on social media, they are less distracted, and more focused on long-term projects.

Social media is certainly beneficial in a lot of ways, but can also be a huge distraction, and a handicap.

Just know yourself. If social media is really helping empower you, carry on. But if you find it is harming you, distracting you, or making you feel dissatisfied — perhaps take a break from social media, and see how you feel.

As for me, I go through waves. I’ll have short periods of time when I’m very active on social media, and then I will go quiet for a while. For me, this works better for my creative process — and it only works for me, not others.

What works for you?

Follow your own heart in social media. Do what feels right for you. Don’t listen to what others say you “should” or “shouldn’t” do on social media. Be your own judge of yourself, and follow your own heart and conscience.


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