Recently, a well meaning friend began researching some other photographers online. The criteria was Indian and female. He was trying to figure out how they became so popular and was hoping that I could emulate some of their tricks to get more business.
He came across one profile that had over 50,000 likes. He did his bit of research and asked me if I had heard of the photographer in question and I wasn’t following the same ideas.
I had heard of the photographer in question and despite the huge number of likes on FB (which I thought to be suspect), I was not particularly inspired by the photographer. And I said as much.
“True… her photographer is a little boring but then she does have so many people following her.” the friend said.
Is the number of likes on your FB page any indication of how popular, or more importantly, how good you are? At the cost of sound snobbish, should I consider ONE like a success?
Every other person who owns a camera has their own FB pages. You can easily churn up a certain amount of likes if you have a decent friend list and well connected friends. Is that actually even relevant to your skills?
There is a current like-o-mania affecting the social world. They like a status message, something sounds funny, something looks interesting… they click on like and move on. The average time spent on an actual post – about 3 seconds or less. I’ve done it myself.
When it comes to inspiration in photographers, I have a different set of names. Of course, even if I go beyond the the Steve McCurrys and Vivian Maiers of the world, there is a beautiful long list in my own neighbourhood.
Be it wedding photography, documentary or food… there are people on my own friends list who are quite accomplished and I know they will be featured in the best lists someday. I absolutely adore their work and wish I could be as good. When any of these people like my photographs, I get a sense of accomplishments.
To me, it has always been the approval of my work from the people I respect. They do not have to know the technicalities of photography. But I trust their opinion and judgement of the world. And quite often, these people have turned out to be right and given me a different perspective on things.
So given these factors, how does 5,000 likes or 50,000 likes matter?
But then the question does arise – how does someone rack up 50,000 likes in 2 years?