I joined Facebook in 2009, and like many other photographers out there in Internet World, I’ve used it to display my photography and as a means of connecting with other photographers and photography enthusiasts. As the years passed, the social media platform refined and tweaked and adjusted things, changing the platform’s look and feel. After 13 years of using Facebook, I’ve come to the realization that it’s not a very good platform for displaying photographic art. For me, all it is now is a source of displeasure. It’s become a way to track your and my activity and target people for advertising, These days it seems that Facebook has decided that they need to inject themselves and their views into what I want to do, without my having a say or much control over how it uses me. We are just data collection points for those who can profit from it.
While I was still running my business for commercial gain, I tried using Facebook advertising and found it to be more or less ineffective, so I stopped giving money to them to promote my business and found other, more effective ways to improve my business. But, as I’ve grown older, I have slowly been shutting down the commercial promotions and have morphed my photography into a private pursuit. Facebook never produced results on the commercial side, at least none that would generate a return on investment.
I stayed on Facebook though, perhaps to the point of addiction. Using it to display my photography, to interact with friends and associates, keeping up with my family, a way of staying in touch with the world from my computer, all the while telling myself that it was somehow rewarding. A common sentiment I’ve heard over the years is how seniors and retirees biggest challenge after retirement is maintaining social contact with others. When I began my slow drift into retirement, I used Facebook to fill that hole too. I made it a point to try and post a photo each day. I got dozens of likes. Wow Wee. Upon my continued use and contemplative review about what Facebook has been or done for me, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t think of any real benefit I’ve obtained over the years beyond the repetitive motion of using it.
As a platform for displaying photography, Facebook actually sucks. It has more or less become a zone for massaging one’s ego and having their photography stolen. My ego is fine, I have never considered myself to be anyone important and there’s no desire in my mind to be a “influencer” or whatever the heck social media stars are called. My audience has always been older people. Younger people aren’t interested in what this old fart is doing. I have a core group of friends, and yes we do interface with one another using Facebook, but only because it’s become a common point for us to use, but the truth is, I have the phone numbers of all my close friends and associates and I don’t have to use Facebook to talk to them.
Besides my photography, I like to write. It’s a passion I’ve had for many years. I’ve had my stories and articles published around the world over the years. What I write on Facebook is more or less confined to a fishbowl. I don’t want to live in a fishbowl. I have this blog, which has morphed over time, starting originally as a magazine and then an informational website. Today, it’s where I present most of my writing and my adventures in photography on the Internet. My readers used to tally in the thousands, but as time moves forward, I see fewer and fewer readers. It’s not how many readers I have though. I’m not selling anything. I’m not starving for attention, other than the fact I enjoy it when people enjoy my writing. My writing is what it is. I’m not trying to deceive anyone. I’ll share my thoughts here and leave social media to what ever it turns out to be.
As for displaying my photography, most of what I’m putting out these days is displayed on my online stock photography portfolios. I see a lot of activity with people viewing and buying my photographs. I have some photos that sell at least once for every three times they are viewed. Thousands and thousands of people from around the world are looking at my photographs and many are buying them and many others see my work from those who’ve bought it from me in magazines and books and on television. And I occasionally get some feedback from those buyers, always positive too. What more can I ask for? I’m not making a cent from people looking at my work on Facebook though. I keep asking myself “why do I do it?” I’m getting plenty of that coveted concept called “exposure.”
My personal life is a happy place. My wife and I are two peas in a pod. I interact with my friends and my family and my neighbors anytime I want and I experience very little drama or conflict in my day to day existence in the real world. Facebook isn’t like that though. Almost all of the tension I experience is beamed in via Facebook. As I’ve grown older I’ve managed to a significant degree to simplify my life and remove the issues that were contributing to conflicts and stress. Facebook has become about the only way in for uninvited discontent, and for the most part it doesn’t really have anything to do with me. It just appears and I have to sift through it. I’ve reconnected with some old friends, I’ve disconnected from a few folks I thought I was friends with, but for the most part, I don’t know most of the people on my friends list and I never will.
So what to do?
I want to get back to enjoying things on a personal, face to face level. Facebook has steered me away from that reality.
I’ll probably keep my Facebook account open, but I’m certainly going to reduce my use of the Facebook platform. I need to manage a photography group on Facebook. One of the more pleasant aspects of social media, but I still lament the fact that Facebook isn’t a good place for art or anything intellectual for that matter. Other than that, Facebook isn’t adding anything positive to my life. I want to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.
To me, Facebook has jumped the shark.