The Unpredictable of Social Media

Stripes – all kinds of

This photo shows how unpredictable reactions on photo sharing sites are. At the time of this writing, this photo got the following reations:

  • Instagram: 64 likes, 1 comment (with 300 followers)
  • 500px: 23 likes, 318 views, 1 comment (with 115 followers)
  • Flickr: 329 likes, 17’900 views, 17 comments (with 2’500 followers)

The reaction on Flickr stands out here. This photo is by far the most liked one of my Flickr account. And it went on the Flickr Explore site only one day after another photo of mine went on Explore, which I think is pretty unusual.

The reactions on the other two photo sharing sites were completely different. On Instagram it is just one of many of my photographs getting between 60 and 70 likes. My best street photo got 100 likes with less followers. And unlike other street photos this one received no featuring by any street photo hub.

On 500px it is hard to get many likes. Obviously 500px users ask for more quality in terms of composition, message or whatsoever. The most popular photo on 500px received three times more likes.

For the time being I am trying to post one street photo a day which I shot during the previous 24 hours. I know that there are many successful photographers out there saying that photos need to “marinate” before being published. But it is my way to keep my current flow even with the risk of not being objective and being to emotionally attached to my latest shots. I have a set of selected and not yet published street photos as a fallback if I do not have any photo of my most recent shooting which convinces me.

This photo here is one out of my fallback set. That means at the time of editing it was not my first choice to be published. Even though this photo “marinated” some time in the fallback set it still was not one of those I would consider as first choice. There were some others in the fallback set which got published first.

But the reaction on Flickr proves me that

  • I am not able to predict the reactions of the photo community.
  • My preferences for a photo are often not the same as the ones of the respective photo community.
  • The three photo communities more often than not react completely differently to my published photos.

I am still learning to get a better feeling for what works in the photo community and what not. But on the other side I am trying to find out if this is the right path anyway, i.e. to consider too much the reactions out there. Currently I am also trying to find the style I want to stick to for a longer period in terms of theme, style, colors vs. monochrome, etc. And as soon as I have find my style it might be one with a low resonance in the photo community. But at least I will then be convinced to heading to the right direction for my street photography.

Keep on shooting!


4 thoughts on “The Unpredictable of Social Media”

  1. Hi Ivan,
    great post! I also experience similar audience behaviour on my streams on 500px and Flickr, whereas the resonance on my pictures posted on 500px is in general lower as it is on Flickr. Also, I am seeing Flickr as the portal that makes it easier for a visitor to browse through older photos – as views count of my older photos posted on Flickr still rise (slowly) by the time while the amount of views on my 500px photos get stuck at a certain point. Considering testing out Instagram as new photo community and maybe getting rid of my 500px account at the moment.

    Would be curious on the development on this topic, so hope to see new articles posted by you in the future!

    Best, monoauge

    1. One more thing I forgot to mention:

      It’s definitely the right direction you’re heading – developing your own style is the thing to do, rather than trying to catch more resonance on photo communities. Focus on the things you like to do, and you’ll learn and develop quickly. Other things (getting more popular) will follow automatically… If you just try to capture what others like to see, you’ll not be able to focus, not develop and lose the fun you have.

      1. Yes, developing an own style will be a lifetime endeavor. And I assume that the style route will change direction from time to time…

    2. Thank you, monoauge, for your comment!
      For me, at least for the time being, the social media platforms such as Flickr, 500px and Instagram should be a source for inspiration in street photography. But unfortunately it is difficult to find outstanding photos in the currently posted mass.
      On Flickr there are incredibly many street photography groups but the most of them are not curated and thus, you will find again and again the same not-so-inspiring photos. On 500px, street photography seems to be of less interest than other genres and even in dedicated groups there is not much interaction going on.
      Recently I found some more activity on Google+. So, I’m posting there as well and I’m observing in which direction the street photography communities on Google+ are heading to.
      Eventually, I would like to become part of a small street photographers collective. This would be great and I think that in such a collective you get most in terms of inspiration and feedback.
      Let’s see where the social media trend regarding street photography is going.

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