I read the book Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday upon its release, I really enjoyed it but even though I did enjoy it I wasn’t converting his context to mine properly. I would assume as many would think of how these thoughts be practiced with social media, his first book Trust Me I’m Lying should be a book that’s taught in schools. My thoughts and process and distribution of content after reading Perennial Seller for the first time was definitely not a waste of time, but personally felt fruitless. Rightfully so by the way, because I was completely wrong in my thinking at the time. To be honest I couldn’t have been any further away then what I should have been doing. Being a photographer and documenting the creative process along the way makes sense to focus on Instagram right? Just taking all the knowledge from that book to deploy on instagram is completely wrong. Yes, Instagram is popular right now. Notice I say right now. What is interesting over the years i’ve contradicted a lot of my thinking, I’ve said during my live-streams on Twitch many times, and within YouTube videos also years ago is that I ask
“How many photos do you remember seeing on Instagram yesterday?”
“How many photos do you remember seeing on Instagram this morning?”
“How many photos do you remember seeing just the last time you opened Instagram?”
Yes, instagram is important. Probably, at the time of this post the most important social media for distributing photographs. But clicking “Share” on Instagram to fight through all of the other posts, algorithms, and ads that are littered in the feed has very little significance in the process of being a perennial seller. It’s a marketing distribution channel, as Gary Vaynerchuck said that it is like todays version of CBS (or something along those lines) each social platform needs to be treated properly, I agree on that. But when it comes down to it, just hitting share with the thought of something happening from it is not the way to go.
What I should have taken from the book (Perennial Seller) is that it has many elements to that process, deploying originally fully to instagram, which instagram 100% is short term by day. Again, refer to my three questions above. Though instagram is important, it is just a fraction of the MARKETING faze of the work. Sadly, for years now I have been so focused on almost exclusively on instagram, while still distributing things around with Facebook and Twitter. I can kind of sum up my thinking with something Jerry Seinfeld said in the documentary Comedian that goes something like “You are the age of how long you been doing the work.” as in, I am only 13 years old in the world of photography. So, like a teenager I wasn’t really thinking long term at all. Even though I launched my website early on as a photographer online January 1st, 2006.
You may be wondering what this all means. That is a question I should have been thinking and answering all this time. But now I know, can someone be a perennial seller exclusively on Instagram? Of coarse not. It is an app, a very popular one yes. But it will not be over time. More importantly you cannot create perennial photograph on instagram. Who is scrolling to a post from 2014? Instagram is a marketing tool, a distribution channel. For me, to become a perennial seller as a photographer is to market what is MINE. this website bsmitty.com is my exclusive content. My book, prints, shirts, hats, etc. is MINE. I own my domain, and it is who I am. My energy needs to be creating the work for MY domain and then marketing it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. The interesting part about all of this, is that before the term social media even existed, I worked this way. I posted on MY website and then would use myspace bulletins, AIM, to post about my new photo/blog entry. Instagram for me ended up being in a way like being bitten by a zombie, slowly becoming one. Social platforms will fade, but my url will be here. Having a perennial viewer like you go through my content on my website is extremely more likely than a profile on social media. Social media is designed specifically for the split second now moment placed in between insurance or political ads and content they think you would like. Yes, I’ll still be using social media, this isn’t even me hating on social media at all. In fact, I’ll be able to use social media in a much better way. When you are here, you see my content, with my ideas, suggestions of things I like that if you are into what I’m doing and the creative process you may like too. So much more can go on here, while writing this so many things are going through my head. I’m so used to How social media is, quick. I want this to be the place you come to every morning, or afternoon, or night.
side note: I know my grammar is probably wack. It always will be. It is truly as scattered as my brain.