As of January 1, 2011, Twitter had reached over 200 million registered accounts that post 110 million tweets per day, according to Forbes. With more than 800 million active users and over 900 million objects that people interact with, Facebook serves as the leading social networking site of today.
While print ads in magazines and newspapers decline, online advertising rises, not only through paid marketing but also self-promotion. The mere fact that people can become their own agents with a few taps here and some more clicks there, social media has proved to be an easy and cheap way to get exposure out there for photographers, painters and other artists.
“I personally see social media sites as very powerful tools when it comes to promoting one’s art,” said Martin Wong, a senior international relations and economics double major. “It also helps a lot of starting artists to gain exposure without the need of taking risk of paying advertising companies. With social media, arts are being spread faster, easier and more directly.”
Wong is among those who pursue art and photography as a passion through side jobs and leisure.
“I believe I get most of my exposure through Facebook,” Wong said. “With my fan page, I can allow anyone to see and comment on my pictures without sharing my personal information.”
With 1,067 people liking his page on Facebook, Wong utilizes his fan base by connecting his other social media to his most visited site.
“I use many social media sites but I mostly have them interact with each other so the same message is spread on different sites,” Wong said. “I set up my Tumblr so that whenever I post something on it, it will also show up on my Facebook fan page.”
Tumblr posts function as viral videos – one re-blog can lead to thousands in a matter of hours. The site functions worldwide and allows artists to post photos of their work and pass it along through the re-blogging function.
Nick Mahar, a junior transfer cinematography major at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, says that he does music videos and photography for musicians.
“Every time I post [my favorite photo that I’ve taken], I have awesome responses,” Mahar said. “One blog that I put it on had over 12,000 reposts, which just blew me away.”
Along with the function of re-blogging serving as the main source of widespread exposure on Tumblr, Twitter operates quite similarly. Twitter serves as plain-old exposure through “tagged” posts or follows. If an individual likes a photo or link posted, they can re-tweet the post to pass the knowledge along.
Jessica Christian, a sophomore photojournalism major at San Francisco State University, works freelance and utilizes Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and Facebook to promote her photography.
“I am able to tag and hash tag my photos with topics I know people are likely to search if they are interested,” Christian said. “I can always count on someone coming across my photos and possibly even re-tweeting a link of mine to my Flickr.” “Through Twitter, I’ve gotten my photojournalism pictures published through SFist.com and have been noticed by teachers and students within my school’s journalism department,” Christian said. “With my major, it’s all about networking and I feel like with social media, I’m able to get my name out there and make important contacts that will help me in my future.”
Seeing as the majority of social media is to share one’s life with the world, communication with people without picking up the phone and to find out information about people without meeting them in person, older generations could view this online trend as pointless and detrimental to our society. The youth of today have started to utilize the tools the internet offers to further themselves in their hobbies and careers.
Check out these students’ social media techniques and their work:
Martin Wong: www.facebook.com/MartinWongPhotography
Nick Mahar: www.NickMahar.com
Jessica Christian: http://twitter.com/#!/jachristian
ELIZABETH ORPINA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.