Friday, April 30, 2010

Facebook, Twitter and Optimized Websites For Stock Photos

Facebook, Ping Pong and Coffee
I have a confession to make. I haven’t looked at Facebook in two weeks. I don’t miss it (and I don’t think it misses me either). Its funny; I sort of wish I missed it. I like the idea of being more connected with my friends. And yet, when I am reading the writing on the wall (little humor there), it just isn’t that compelling to me. I would much rather be having a spirited game of ping pong with a friend than sharing tidbits over the Internet. I’d rather be having a discussion about, well, anything over a cup of coffee with a friend, than sharing those thoughts via twitter.

Twitter, Tweets and Limits
Now twitter; I use that to let those following me know when I have posted a new blog entry or interview…and hoping that a lot of RT’s generate traffic and grow my audience. Sometimes I peruse twitter looking for the interesting tweet. But the 140 character limit on twitter I find, well, limiting. E-mail or the phone actually makes more sense to me. To me, twitter is a mini-press release. Oh well, maybe I am showing my age.

A Toe In The Water
What does make sense to me in this digital era is optimizing and fully utilizing my web site. Maybe someday it will be different and people will look for photos through facebook...and that is why I think it a good idea to at least have a toe in the water with social media. But right now, today, people are searching for images and finding my site via search engines. They are licensing images, buying prints and merchandise (though not yet in the quantities that I want), and finding me with interesting business proposals. Oh yeah, and I am making ad revenue from the ads on my site (but again, not yet in the quantities that I desire).

Text Heavy Sites, Finding Images, and Advertising
I made a decision that the look of my site was secondary to the optimization of it. It was a difficult decision to make…to create a text-heavy site. I even resisted it for several years. But eventually I came to believe that if someone was looking for an image, for whatever reason, then having them find that image, on my site, was more important than how the site looked. The way to help people get to those images on my site, that they are looking for, is through text. I further came to believe that if they were looking for an image, and found what they were looking for, then having advertising on my site would not deter them. In fact, if they did not find the image they were looking for, then at least they might find something else that interests them in one of the ads. Providing relevant ads is actually doing a service for them.

An Ear To The Ground and an Eye on the Future
I won’t abandon facebook or twitter. I’ll keep my other toe in the video water (the one not in social media), and I will keep my ear to the ground (as opposed to my head in the sand) and an eye on the future trying to understand where the stock photo industry is headed. I am striving to create images that the market wants (whether they know it or not), and to be as creative as I can in order to fulfill both my monetary and artistic needs. I have a deep faith that the world is always going to need good, relevant photos, and that if I can create such images I will be fine; actually, I will be better than fine, I will thrive.

1 comment:

Cutcaster said...

This new Facebook "like button" feature is going to have a big impact on SEO and how you will optimize your site / present metadata to search engine spiders. It shouldn't be ignored by you John. From Facebooks page.

"To customize how your site shows up when users share your page with the Like button, you can add meta data to your web pages:

* og:title - The title of your page; if not specified, the title element will be used.
* og:site_name - The name of your web site, e.g., "CNN" or "IMDb".
* og:image - The URL of the best picture for this page. The image must be at least 50px by 50px and have a maximum aspect ratio of 3:1.

For example if you are creating a page about the movie 'The Rock' you would include this meta data:

meta property="og:title" content="The Rock
meta property="og:site_name" content="IMDb
meta property="og:image" content=""

The like button is the new link.

That is a big shift for SEO-ers and I am sure has people in Google, Digg, Yahoo and Microsoft taking notice.

This is only in the first inning as well imho. Keep an eye out for new agencies that will pop up proclaiming they are social media optimizers. I'm sure they will be showing up shortly.