Let Your Instagram Feed Be Your Photo Portfolio

instagram feedThis is the best idea I’ve heard in a long time. It comes from photographer and designer Andrew Griswold (@the_gris) via FStoppers. It is particularly relevant when you think of how widespread mobile is these days. Who wouldn’t rather scroll through an Instagram feed on their phone or tablet instead of trying to click their way through an online portfolio, no matter how “mobile-friendly” it is intended to be?

I’ve been looking at a lot of photo portfolio websites over the past year. First and foremost because I love discovering a photographer and exploring their work and processes. It’s inspirational and it always sets the bar higher for my own work. I have several favorites and I’ve bookmarked their websites on my laptop. Something far more worthy to look at when taking a break instead of Facebook. (Note to self: Unbookmark Facebook!)

Secondly, I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to having my own online photo portfolio, whether as an offshoot of this website or a standalone. And every time I get close to pursuing that, I experience a mild anxiety attack. Show me any freelancer out there who wants another website to update and maintain. (As a temporary solution, I’m using Tumblr to showcase a current project (Divisadero Corridor) and current photo work and inspirations (KazzaDrask Mixed Media). Both of these sites are easy to maintain from my iPhone. In fact, even film photos and photos from my non-mobile friendly digital Ricoh camera eventually get uploaded to Flickr, where they can be then downloaded to my phone for mobile sharing.

The ultimate in mobile sharing for photos of course is Instagram. I was an early adopter of the app, posting my first photo 258 weeks ago (which is early 2011). I’ve done a bit of “curating” my feed over the years, mostly removing photos I wasn’t especially proud of and lately adding the occasional #latergram as I sort through images thinking about my photo portfolio website. But what I love about the idea of letting your Instagram feed be your photo portfolio is the honesty that comes from the app’s original intention, to share an image in an instant (preferably using the app’s built-in camera, but obviously, the plethora of smartphone camera apps long ago upped that game).

While those of us with a more professional photography bent might pause a bit to edit and then time a post, even the most disciplined of us can get caught up in the app’s instant gratification nature. “This is a really good photo and I’ve got to share it — now!”

With that comes the instant feedback. A “like”. Sometimes even a comment or a thumbs up, smiley face or lightning bolt emoji. Whoo-hoo! They like me, they really like me…

But back to the honesty. That rawness, vulnerability, a glimpse into one’s personal life is certainly rare even in Stacy Kranitz’s online portfolio. Yet, follow Stacy Kranitz’s Instagram feed (@stacykranitz). Well, that’s what I’m talking about!

In considering dropping the idea of developing a photo portfolio website, I have to drop the idea of having my work narrowed down and neatly categorized or “projectized”. I’m willing to bet that of the almost 600 photos in my Instagram feed maybe about 10 percent would make it to my mythical portfolio website (and that a good portion of the rest of my work is either unprocessed on my desktop or in Dropbox or eventually processed and haphazardly uploaded to Flickr). Don’t go there – but I’m sure you will.

None of this probably bodes well for anyone reading this hiring me for a shoot – which is the point of having a photo portfolio website. But if you’re here, on KazzaDrask Media reading this post, take a look around and you’ll see that photography is just one component of my digital media business. And, you’ll recognize that I am able to deliver whichever service you engage me for, despite my disorganized Flickr account.

By using Instagram as my photo portfolio, you might never know about my work as an online and digital media revolutionary, but you will know a lot more about me. And if a photo is as much about the image as it is about the person behind the camera, then using Instagram in the manner it was intended to be used – to witness things as they happen (forgiving the occasional #latergram) – will indeed become the preferred way to at least take a first look at someone’s photography.

Sources:Why You Don’t Need a Website and Probably Never Will” by Andrew Griswold, Fstoppers; “Stacy Kranitz is TIME’s Pick for Instagram Photographer of 2015“.

Break the Internet

kim-kardashian-paper-coverIf it was broken, it was repaired quickly.

Although Kim Kardashian, her siblings, her mom, her stepdad and of course, her husband, have been doing their damnedest to break the thing for the past half decade (maybe more, maybe less – in Internet time the amount of it is always too much).

Earlier this week “butt”-ery photos like the one to your left of Ms. Kardashian may not have broken anything, but they did at least temporarily do a hurting on the social media front with the accompanying hashtag #BreaktheInternet.

It’s long been an easy opt out for people who write tongue-in-cheekily about communications overload to toss in the phrase “Internet explodes” or “breaking the Internet”, typically when something suddenly swells and creates that perfect social media storm – an Instagram of President Obama, an arrest of Justin Beiber, or something to do with the Kardashians. I refrain from calling the Kardashians a talentless lot here, because, they do indeed have a talent. The talent to overexpose themselves (um…see photo to your left again) and get significant attention for that beyond the E! channel. Fleeting attention, at best, but attention for those who crave it is attention, nevertheless.

Good news, though. The Internet is not only apparently unbreakable, print journalism showed a heroic gasp for life in scoring the coup that was a naked photo shoot with the most famous-for-nothing person of the early 21st century. Published by Paper, for $10 you can hold these photos of Kim Kardashian in your hands and own your own little piece of print, which the Internet still hasn’t finished off completely, as long as it is supplemented by a full-blown online operation.

And by the way, the photos by Jean-Paul Goude are indeed quite fascinating. They’ve got an ’80-esque New York City-style appeal, if the 1980s been infiltrated by either Kim Kardashian or Twitter.

Photo by Jean-Paul Goude, for Paper.

Content Shock

I’ve been a bit obsessed with a trend called “Content Shock” and statements making the rounds like “Americans spend 10 hours consuming online content per day”. Will this be the slogan that defines a decade, kind of like Warhol’s “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes,” underscored the 1960s and catapulted us toward the now?

Because what Warhol said pretty much became true. Put your hand up if you’ve ever enjoyed 15 minutes of fame from a blog post, a Facebook/Instagram photo or a tweet? You know you probably can. Oh, you didn’t become a household name, but that’s not what our culture is about anymore. It’s not “Did you see that YouTube video by Kathy Drasky?” It’s “Did you see that video by the dude about the cat?”

Content-Shock-definition

That’s what happens when you consume 10 hours of online content a day. And it’s scary.

For every long, thoughtful piece we might consume there are thousands of snippets of inbound information coming at us while working at a desktop or laptop, while browsing our smartphone standing in line or waiting for an appointment and, of course, over the tablet or streaming during downtime. How much of it we retain will be tested in the future. Will that video by the dude about the cat have the same staying power as the moon landing or an episode of the “Brady Bunch” (“Oh! My nose!”)?

More likely, when we look back on the waning days of Web 2.0, it will be jokes about cat videos as a trend – not any particular person behind the smartphone camera, or even any particular cat (sorry Grumpy Cat).

Which brings me to the best way we now have to battle Content Shock. It’s called Curation. I think that word scares people because it sounds like walking on eggshells around 14th century paintings. It’s an “old” word that doesn’t seem to resonate in the 21st century when apparently all we need is an app to shout “Yo!” at us.

But Curation tools like ScoopIt and Storify are the future. Aside from some future yet-to-come-to-market filters, which will require us to stop and think and perhaps spend hours tweaking something to see only the content we want, when we want, Curation is our future King (and/or Queen). It’s out there now. Some terrific sites exist (did you know BuzzFeed and HuffPo are curated sites?).

In fact if no one out there produced another nanosecond of content us curators could probably spend the rest of our lives filling up your life with good content already created. This not only includes the past 20 years of online content, but so much that came before that has been digitized. In the future, we could consume nothing but the past. Not that we would want to – but it’s important that the best of the cat videos be carefully curated and stored in a friendly online place, maybe next to grainy moon landing videos and someone’s VHS-quality recap of “Brady Bunch” episodes.

The key is getting to the content you want without the shock.

Source: “Content Shock: Why Content Marketing Is Not a Sustainable Strategy” by Mark W. Schaeffer – and some of the more than 400+ blog posts this article subsequently generated – talk about Content Shock!

Image source: BusinessGrow.com. 

Monica Lewinsky, First Internet Victim

Monica_lewinskyIt’s a title someone had to claim (we’re only surprised it took this long). But Monica Lewinsky (“that woman” who nearly derailed Bill Clinton and spawned 10 million bad blow job jokes) has roared back into the news this week some 15 years since we last saw/heard her name every day. In preparation for a tell-all piece that will appear in Vanity Fair, press releases are clue-ing us in to the fact that Lewinsky was given a bum steer last time her 15 minutes of fame came around and she’s back to reclaim it in the guise of claiming to be the Internet’s “first victim.”

According to Mashable, one only need to scroll down this roll call of celebs and pseudo-celebs who have been ridiculed online to see that she has a point. Before “James Franco, Paula Dean, Anthony Weiner, Amanda Bynes, Shia LaBeouf, Rebecca Black, Avril Lavigne, Rihanna, Courtney Love, [and] Rob Ford” there was Monica Lewinsky. She should be thankful her heyday was totally Web 1.0 and limited mostly to sketchy blogs, early day online gossip sites and snarky comments and conspiracy theories on listservs. Those that have come since, especially in the social media era, have had much more extreme public floggings, albeit for shorter durations, since someone else is usually quick to make a fool of themselves and the never-ending online babble will shift with the creation of a hashtag.

All jokes aside, Lewinsky writes that “We have created a culture of humiliation that not only encourages and revels in Schadenfreude but also rewards those who humiliate others, from the ranks of the paparazzi to the gossip bloggers, the late-night comedians, and the Web ‘entrepreneurs’ who profit from clandestine videos.”

She claims she’s come forward now due to some recent cyber-bullying episodes that resulted in suicides of young people. A noble cause.

Conspiracy theorists, of course, believe Hillary henchmen and women have put her up to this, hoping for an early recycle of her story that will be long forgotten in a year or so should Hillary Clinton make that much anticipated run for the White House.

Source: Mashable.

Anti-Social Media App Helps You Avoid People

anti social mediaWait for it. Yup, the newest app on the block is called Cloak, and it helps you avoid the very people you have given license to stalk you through connections on Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, yadda yadda.

Actually, it’s more about you knowing where the lame cousins you attract on Facebook and total strangers you brag to on Twitter are and avoiding them in real life. Nothing wrong with that, from where I sit.

Choice quotes from this story in The Daily Beast, include:

  • The developers “posted the app to Facebook on Monday morning and since then, we’ve added over 100,000 users and hit the top 50 of the App store.”
  • “Facebook is that kind of lame cousin you hate but check in with every now and then to save face…”
  • “Cloak – an excuse for us to stop pretending we actually like interacting with other humans….”

There you have it. In a nutshell, a free app that helps you undo the last several years you’ve spent oversharing and not really caring. Now you do. You want your privacy back. The Cloak app is a first step. There will be others.

Source: The Daily Beast.

Photo by Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection via The Daily Beast.

A-List Selfie Crashes Twitter

A-List-SelfieThe highlight of the 2014 Oscar telecast was not who won, what anyone wore or any particular musical number or tribute. In perfect early-days 21st century fashion, it was a selfie and a Twitter crash that everyone is talking about the morning after (well, that and a “How Would John Travolta Mangle Your Name” generator).

About midway through the nearly endless broadcast, host Ellen DeGeneres “spontaneously” gathered a Hollywood A-list dream team about her to snap a selfie with a Galaxy Note mini-tablet (the show’s official sponsor; according to Mashable, however, DeGeneres used her iPhone to snap other photos and deliver a few live tweets throughout the night). DeGeneres’ gag was that this particular selfie would break previous retweet records and crash Twitter.

It did indeed. Within two hours, the photo was retweeted some 2 million times. Which not only broke the previous retweet record held by no other than President Barack Obama celebrating his re-election in 2012, it also broke Twitter.

Said DeGeneres later in the show, “We got an email from Twitter and we crashed and broke Twitter. We have made history.”

Twitter reported a service outage about four minutes after the original tweet, which was not helped by those of us who had snapped our own photos of the moment as it took place on our big screens, and quickly posted those to Twitter, causing a virtual online 50-car pileup. Unlike a real traffic jam, however, the Twitter-jam was cleared within minutes.

Which brings up the next question on everyone’s minds. Was the actual crash of a social network in some way a great plug for the service? (If so many people are on Twitter, then why aren’t I? Twitter has been struggling with adding significant numbers of new users for some time, which of course affects its stock price.)

Oh, and yes, one other question might actually get more tweets if put to the test. Will Ellen DeGeneres be back to host the Oscars next year?

Sources: Reuters  and Mashable.

Image by KazzaDrask Media.

Fashion Statement: Normcore

normcoreIf you work at home or in a casual environment, you’ll be pleased to learn that there’s no need to keep up with the latest fashions. Simply because the latest fashions are probably already in your closet (and have been for some time). And, if they are not, just head to the local thrift shop with about $20 in your wallet and you will walk out with a bag of “normcore.”

New York Magazine describes this un-fashion trend alternatively as “fashion for those who realize they are one in 7 billion” people on this planet and, “dad-brand non-style you might have once associated with Jerry Seinfeld.”

The trendless-setters, mind you, were mostly babies when “Seinfeld” first aired in the 1990s, but those of who us dressed like Jerry then and now can play “normcore”, too. In fact, some of the best examples of normcore were not sourced from teens and twenty-somethings on the streets of Brooklyn, Oakland or [insert name of place people live because they can’t afford Manhattan, San Francisco, etc.]. A tech-savvy fashion stylist took to using the Google Map’s Street View app to compile a series of screenshots of the plainly dressed in a small town in Middle America, upping the game for street photography at the same time.

Need some inspiration get your normcore look up to speed? Check out this slideshow by Amy Lombard.

Source:  New York Magazine 

Photo by Amy Lombard

‘What People Are Talking About Online’ Goes Gold

KazzaDrask Media’s online culture Scoop.It! curation site ‘What People Are Talking About Online’ has just earned the site’s gold medal. We are now “incredibly highly recommended” for our Communications content roundup.

Since 2011, KazzaDrask Media has been selecting online news and stories that pertain to the changing way we communicate via our “online culture”. This extends beyond using Facebook and Twitter (although they are highly responsible for the changes we have seen over the past half decade). Video, streaming and binge viewing, email and voicemail, memes, pinning, pinging and of course, images (Instagram, Snapchat and our fascination with the “selfie”) are all a part of this latest digital and mobile revolution.

Curating the overwhelming oceans of information at our fingertips in any one category is no longer a hobby (i.e., Pinterest), it is a necessity. We are thrilled to be recognized for our early endeavors in the next wave – be it Web 3.0, or whatever it will eventually be called.

Start making sense of the Internet. Visit “What People Are Talking About Online” now.

Facebook Turns 10

In case you were offline the other day (which is the new euphemism for “being under a rock”), you could not have missed Facebook’s 10th birthday celebration. Yes, believe it or don’t (you probably don’t – with decent enough reason – which we’ll get to in a second), the world’s biggest social networking site has been on this planet since 2004.

But you probably didn’t join right away, unless you were at an Ivy League college, or maybe in high school. More likely you came on board in 2007, 2008 or 2009 – which makes Facebook somewhat newer to you.

But to plug up any FOMO gaps you might be experiencing, simply tap into one of those algorithm tools that have been going around the Interwebs the past few weeks to realize how many months of your life you’ve spent on Facebook. It’s not pretty – but then if you subtract the hours no longer spent talking on the phone, answering emails or listening to voicemails, it kind of evens out a bit.

Love it or like it (if you’ve read this far you probably don’t hate it), Facebook has changed the way we communicate and it’s been for the better. It has reconnected people, kept families in touch who are spread out around the world, and united like-minded individuals together to change laws, raise awareness and save whales (well…you get the gist).

Facebook’s birthday gift to us this week is a neat little widget called “Look Back” which instantly pulls together a 60-second video of your top photos and posts shared on the site since you joined.  Again, any service that can (arbitrarily) toss together your memories (good and bad) in a couple of seconds is a game changer.

Is Social Media Full of Introverts?

You would think so. I mean, how many online articles have you come across in the last few months make the case for extroversion?

Or, maybe as long-time self-described introverts, we’re not looking for those.

Actually, this week, I’ve found out that I’m an ambivert – which is probably something like the bisexual of personality types. Nobody believes you can have your cake and eat it, too. Although an increased choice of personality issues is probably not the same as an increased choice of potential dates.

Just sayin’.

I have long been aware of my introversion tendencies, except that before I took one of those off-line tests many years ago, I just wondered what was wrong with me.

While I dread social situations and make plans I spend more time trying to wrangle out of than look forward to, I’m usually fine when I get around people. In fact, I’m often one of the last to leave. Alcohol helps. But then again so did I line I read somewhere about 10 years ago. “For every hour I spend with people I need two to recover.” Whereas the extrovert needs the input of others to thrive, the introvert needs time alone to recharge. Knowing that the following day I’ll keep to myself makes a huge difference for this introvert to be more social.

And, so does social media.

Social media is probably not full of introverts, but I’ll bet we’re more active. It provides us with a quiet way to interact with others that doesn’t make the same heady demands on us as going to a party or a networking event. Engagement is on our terms. And it can be rendered subtly, quietly, by clicking on a “like” or “favorite” button.

While the ambivert in me seeks some feedback on her words and images – what better place to garner that than on social media? Rattle off 140 characters or post a photo. You’ve made your statement. Don’t like the response – you can delete the post or photo and act like it never happened. Is the attention too much? You can ignore it or resort to the “like” or “favorite” methodology. No response at all? Twitter is the introvert’s playground.