So that's what I've done today. I'm writing this feature on attracting more visitors to my website in the hope that more people will see my photos. So far it's working pretty well, after all you're here reading it.
I was not only inspired by the 988th article to appear on my FlipBoard stream this week about ten ways to improve your social media marketing, but equally inspired by the current trend to purchasing instead of earning a horde of Twitter followers. Have a visit through fiverr.com and you'll find a tidal wave of bargains to add hundreds or thousands of new followers to your Twitter account.
Most of the followers are phoney accounts that do nothing but follow other people who have paid $5 for instant popularity. These aren't real people although some of the more modest $5 deals work a little harder to make a good fake.
I literally broke out the champagne when my Twitter sphere hit the 300 mark but at least they are real people. Sort of. Lots of PR companies, travel operators and fellow freelancers make up my mix. It reflects how little I truly understand about the medium that most of my tweetable audience are engaged in transmission rather than reception. I may have missed a key element to being a really successful Twit.
To add to my embarrassing lack of tweet-cred I can cite a fellow freelancer who has a fraction of my internet experience and yet had grown a seriously impressive following of over 2,500 fans. "Eat Drink and Be Kerry" is such a great source of foodie inspiration that even I read it. @eatdrinkbekerry not only boasts lots of followers, but has published a massive number of tweets with 7,000 and counting.
My favourite food blogger is Billy Law, not only because he shares my delight for things sweet, Asian and indulgent, but because he's an awesome photographer as well. With over 9,000 twitter followers he clearly knows a thing or two about social media.
So does Billy's @atablefortwo feed generate lots of traffic to his website? It most likely does because he fills it with loads of interesting photographs and scrummy ideas. While Facebook is engaged in filtering out content on the basis of the highest bidder, Twitter is still pure of heart and feeds through updates when and as they happen.
Coupling the functionality of Twitter with the presentation of FlipBoard, for example, makes for a rewarding internet experience. So rewarding that it allows knowledge hungry readers to side-step the sensation-driven Australian media and enjoy more inspiring news from around the world. After all, would you rather sit at your desk and be assailed by sound bytes of Dr No faking tears for refugees that he doesn't want let into the country, or discover a new way to combine pomegranate and panacotta?
Perhaps the brainiacs in the board rooms of News Ltd and Fairfax could pause for a moment on this simple recipe. Stop publishing shite in your papers and maybe a wider audience will find them interesting. The internet didn't kill newspapers, boring old men wearing suits did.
The lesson here is simple. Regardless of your medium de jour, if you have lots of really lovely content then people will come and check it out. @atablefortwo works 24x7 on his recipes, photos, travel guides, cook books, workshops and a dozen other things. @eatdrinkandbekerry never lets a day go by without sharing something worthwhile and delicious with her audience either.
In summary, be interesting.
In contrast I am probably just a little bit lazy. I've chosen to write an article on how to attract more visitors to your website in order to attract more visitors to my website. If you have read all the way down to this paragraph then I implore you to take a look at the photos around here too, some of them are really very good!
One thing I do have in common with my for mentioned twitter heros is the simple rule of being true to yourself. When I post a photo of a toothless old lady in China I am sharing a piece of my world view. When I share a link to a feature article on how to shoot a sunset by the water I am giving a piece of my own inspiration in the process. When I spend six weeks travelling in Nepal and only get around to posting a handful of photo essays then I'm expressing my tendency to being a lazy internet citizen.
And that's a pity because Nepal has to be the single most rewarding travel experience for photographers in the world today. The combination of cultural traditions and travel infrastructure puts Nepal into the sweet zone for guys like me, making it possible to get off the beaten track and still have a hot shower at night. Well, most nights.
Solar hot water is all the rage in Nepal, which means it some days it's hot and some days it's not. That pretty much sums up my efforts on Twitter and Facebook and a dozen other social media outlets that I have ignored completely. It may take a while before my following on Twitter reaches 400. When it does I might celebrate with coffee and a friand at a lovely new cafe I heard about on the internet.
At least I didn't stoop to buying a few thousand instant followers to preen my internet ego. I was too lazy to send off the $5.