Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Social Networking For the Socially Inept

I hereby proclaim to the whole of the interverse:

I am socially inept.

I cannot cope in social environments. I get anxious and I completely shut down. Put me in a large group of people and I'll pretty much panic. Put me at a table at a restaurant with even a small group and I will only speak when directly spoken to and even then all you will get is one word answers.

It used to be, about 14 years or so ago, that I thrived on the internet. Good old chat rooms and forums and mIRC were somewhere that I could get involved socially without worrying about all the shortcomings of my social incompetence.

The internet has changed. Of course, I'm sure everyone and their dog is aware of this, but it has changed a lot. Everyone is on the internet. The internet is now wholly a mainstream social platform and a legitimate one at that. Find me someone who is regularly online and doesn't have or hasn't had a profile on a site such as Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc, etc. Being social on the internet is identical to be social in the real life with the exception of the different rules of etiquette.

Well, you ask, what does any of this have to do with photography or social networking?

I'll tell you.

As a person, none of this means anything to me. I could just ignore the social aspects and go on, invisible, behind the scenes a merry little outcast.

As a photographer, whom operates mostly on the internet, this is a very different story. I need social networking. I need to participate in the photographic communities and I need to be able to connect with potential customers. Therefore, I have to have and do have profiles on all the main social media sites as well as my main website and this here blog.

But do I use them effectively? Hardly.

I feel awkward randomly commenting on people's photos, statuses, blog posts, etc, etc. Even though, usually, they want me to. Or maybe that's the issue. They want "people" to, but I then ask myself why would they want "me" to. I know very well, or at least I suspect so, that I'm just being paranoid and that I'm very likely cutting myself out of great networking opportunities and denying other people a comment because my own wiring is a bit loose.

So here's the deal: I know what the problem is. I think I know what I should do to fix it. I need to get over this trepidation of mine and jump whole-heartedly into the social bandwagon. So from now on, I will try and make it a point, everyday, to comment and reply to people on Myspace, Facebook, Flickr, DeviantArt, Twitter and make sure that I comment on the blogs that I read.

I don't really care if I get any response or if I fall on my face at this point. I just need to get over this ridiculous fear I have of interacting with other people, especially those individuals that are like-minded.

So, if you have accounts with any of those sites, get in touch, you may well just be part of the catalyst I need to fix this issue of mine!

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