Online communities making a big impact on creative practice

So, I went with Jonathan Worth to Lincoln University on Monday to speak to academic staff and students about open and connected photography courses.

Something that budding creative practitioners have to tackle is getting work seen above all others. Now in photography, in an age which is image rich, standing out and having an audience for your work can be extremely challenging. I have a unique perspective of both being a student of an open photography class and also recreating one. But what I wanted to highlight particularly to the students in the room was that their work could get noticed and using appropriate online networks their careers could really benefit.

I often wonder whether I really can speak as an average joe considering my most successful project was about an established photographer (George Rodger) whom played a significant role in the history of photojournalism. However, just yards from reaching the university, I had received a voice message from the BBC who wanted to talk to me about another project I had done- about Coventry and UK cinemas.

Now, this project is not going to feature in BJP, but it is important to local history and despite Coventry having a rich cultural history in cinema, there is not much of it online. Being one of few to discuss this topic in an online space meant that I had to be credible in what I was sharing.

I asked how the BBC found my work and they said that it was through Google search. One of the things that I claimed to be extremely important about digtiising archives was that they were findable. This is exactly the same for your work; because everything you do online is archived. I can’t remember who, but in a #dmlcommons discussion it was said that the blog is like an external brain; somewhere that you can put your thoughts, categorise them and archive- but these thoughts are only a search or a couple of clicks away (neat right?).

These thoughts, findings and conclusions are not just available to you (unless you want them to) but also to others, letting them into your work. This should be seen as a huge asset to creative practitioners, educators and students.

1 comment on “Online communities making a big impact on creative practiceAdd yours →

  1. Nice, googled and picked up by the BBC, that’s what we like to read about.

    I like to think of the process as creating future potential serendipity. It’s not guaranteed, and it may not even come from what you think is your best work, but the more you self publish, the more likely you might be found. Or the converse is, if you never publish anything online, your work will not be discovered by the BBC or anyone else.

    But it does not work, IMHO, when that becomes your primary goal for posting on your site. That gets you down the road of tinkering to increase SEO, writing clickbait. It’s best when its accidental.

    So it really needs to be something that serves your own needs first, if the serendipity happens its a nice bonus, but better if you are doing it to be reflecting on and organizing your own work, or trying out ideas, or… thinking out loud.

    I might have mentioned what was a pivotal to me early post by Cory Doctorow, My Blog My Outboard Brain, published almost 13 years ago.

    And still relevant.

    What you write in your own space might be here in 2028. What you publish on a third party site most likely will not.

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