before I decided to start my own website, I had found a particularly interesting website that was basically a “facebook” of the photography world. People have avatars, join groups specific to different subjects or types of photography (and other artwork as well). It was a good stepping stone into putting my pictures up so that others could get a glimpse at what I get a glimpse at on the road.
Everything was doing fine, I was a member of multiple groups. I joined an Equine group for my 2 or 3 photos of horses, a “Maine” group for photos of the Pine Tree State, an everything group, and also the New Hampshire group. These groups issue “challenges” where the hosts of the group choose different themes and seasons for us to share particular works we’re proud of. Not many people participated in the New Hampshire group, but I had hope that it would grow. In the meantime, I was winning challenges. I became a featured member of the group, and more people were joining and sharing works, but not entering the challenges.
Now, I can be competitive, but these challenges were more like fun to me. I liked that it had to consist of JUST New Hampshire in the New Hampshire group. I liked that I could go to the Maine group and have another entire set of my pictures up for different challenges. I didn’t want to just win a challenge when 10 people entered, but I wanted to keep the groups as they were.
Others thought differently. The hosts of the group, concerned about how few entries there were for each challenge, decided among themselves to merge the groups of Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire into one. Instead of having 4 (or 5) different challenges, we now had 1 for the same time period. Since the merger, the challenges have been few and far between. Some hosts have become almost addicted to adding more and more groups in very specific fields such as covered bridges and natural waterfalls. The reasoning behind it irked me, why would you merge together groups that most definitely should be separated, yet also host groups that can’t possibly stand on their own?
Eventually, the covered bridges group was opened up to include ALL bridges, which defeats the purpose and was yet another duplicate group. The natural waterfalls group was changed to all waterfalls, including man-made. The challenges in the now merged New England group have been very infrequent and very bland.
So what, am I going to keep bitching about it without offering a solution? Of course I attempted a solution. I wrote to the social networking site. I explained that while a member of the New Hampshire group, hosts believed it to be a better idea to water down the group to get more active members. I explained to them that it wasn’t working, and that it was time to allow a new group for the key area in which I am interested in. . . New Hampshire. I offered to host a New Hampshire Only group, called it New Hampshire: Life in the Shire. I would come up with challenges I thought were interesting, asking others what their opinion of a good challenge would be, and make it fun again.
No response. After a second attempt and no response I wrote to the social networking site. “Please inform me yes or no if you will grant me a new group to replace the watered down version that was allowed by you.” No response. “Please give me the honor of hosting a New Hampshire only group, oh great photography social networking site.” NO RESPONSE.
Not even a, go F yourself. Blew off. I knew after that it was time for me to go it on my own. This was the real first nudge in getting me to start my own site.
It’s been quite a while, and I retain my membership if nothing else to see that nothing is still happening. The group has been overrun with lots of photos of Maine and Massachsuettts, which is fine it is after all open to all New England states, but very sad to see that even some of the other diehard New Hampshire members are fading away.
Perhaps at some point I’ll head back there, start posting blogs there again, post more photos, etc. As for now, not likely. The people in the group are warm and nice people, but I saw no creativity anymore beyond the oh so typical “summer shot” “spring shot” “patriotic shot” type challenges. I don’t know about you, but I think there’s more to photography than taking pictures of a peice of cloth near the 4th of July and regular flavor of the month shots.