What is Twitter? You may have heard of it from many different sources like the social media geeks in your life. Perhaps it was through corporate news like the recent Twittering Moms against Motrin incident or how the online shoe retailer Zappos uses this micro-blogging platform to transparently communicate with its customers.
Regardless of what you’ve heard, it all started with a 14-year old Jack Dorsey (now CEO) who way back when wondered: what if you could create an instant messaging service to easily and quickly share your status with friends and vice versa?
Personally, I created my own profile after reading that NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander was posting updates of its mission on Twitter. Soon after choosing my profile picture and a photo to customize my Twitter background, I discovered there was a whole world of online communication happening—with over 3 million users all sending messages to each other, in 140 characters or less.
Within the Twitter-verse, I’ve found many who identify themselves as pro photographers in their bios. In this blog post, I’ll identify some of the photographer’s I follow on Twitter and how they’re using it to communicate with friends, find new customers, share their brands and grow their businesses.
Geeks & Tech Heads
@GordWeisflock is a marketing and business development manager for the Asia Pacific region in the Kodak Graphic Communications Group. Keep up with Kodak developments with @cornpoppy, who also works at the company’s Rochester headquarters.
@newmediaphoto tweets links to his podcasts and about the ways in which photographers can benefit from social media.
@photographyvoter is a Web site that aggregates photography news on the Web and feeds their updates in to Twitter while the business Twitter account of @PhotoHand advertises its photography restoration and retouching services.
@photojojo, in their own words, are “the world’s awesomest photography newsletter!”
Washington, D.C. photojournalist @jaymichael is a Twitter newbie and I bet he’ll have a spot at Obama’s inauguration.
U.K.’s Colours Magazine publisher @zakazmi might just convince you to get into high dynamic range (HDR) photography.
@polaroidgirl links to her Etsy boutique where she sells adorable Polaroid prints and has recently tweeted some sweet holiday discounts.
The unofficial FFFOUND Twitter page @FFFFIND offers feed updates of users’ found, shared and uploaded images -– a great way to discover new work and find inspiration if you’ve got crippling photographer’s block.
Music photographer @jorycordy uses Twitter casually and often hangs with fellow lifestyle photographer @FredEgan. Both have recently tweeted about their recent six-day Mammoth Men photographers road trip along with @michaelnorwood –- sounds like it was fun! Half of the husband and wife photography team @imageisfound is also a fellow Mammoth Man.
My friend @missmaro is one of the few women photographers I’ve found on Twitter. She is the in-house photographer at SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio and gets to shoot radio hosts and guests -– everyone from Martha Stewart to Mary J Blige. In her spare time she also shoots freelance for the Village Voice.
@jswright is a photographer who’s not afraid to explore how to use Web technology to display his work. You’ll see him tweet links to the pics on his Tumblr account as well as collages made using VUVOX.
NYC area location scout/manager @rrhobbs constantly tweets the names and Web site links of the photographers he works with.
Photographer @wolf_brigade still seems to enjoy shooting with good old film, even exploring the effects of expired film –- you’re encouraged to check out his Flickr account and see the results.
And then of course there’s me @mestrich. I feed my Dodge & Burn: Diversity in Photography blog updates into my Twitter account and link to my Web site/photography portfolio from my profile –- every month I consistently see Twitter as a referring site in my analytics reporting. The other day I tweeted about fashion photographer Steven Klein and how I interned at NV Labs in NYC’s meatpacking district where we developed his prints. Another fashion photographer @pipercarter saw my tweet and replied about her experience as Klein’s assistant.
Marketing & More
I’m still discovering new photographers and the ways they use Twitter. Do you have a Web site or photo blog? Then RSS feed your new posts into Twitter and get more/new eyes on your work.
Or how about finding and following photo editors, sending them a tweet or the more private direct message (DM) with a link to your online portfolio? It might be faster and more effective than a random e-mail, cold call or wasted mailing.
Even photo editors can in turn use Twitter to their advantage — like for instance, tweeting photo requests for your publications. Stock photography agencies can also set up Twitter profiles to receive image requests and/or new submissions.
So try this: brainstorm three ways Twitter can benefit your photography business, then sign up (it’s free), create your profile, follow some people (like me), watch as others start following you and start tweeting! You never know … your tweets might lead to your next assignment, gallery exhibition, press coverage (many journalists use Twitter to sniff out new stories) and so much more.