An idle woman on her cell phone with her pet dog nearby. That’s a common scene in my county, frankly. And people poke fun at us. Legitimately. To many, Marin means rich people who live just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, in the lush hills with bay views yet there are other great parts here (and some not). Yet it is not just a quick tour stop over on your way to Napa, perhaps to see Muir Woods or to look back from Sausalito onto the S.F. skyline.
That’s what San Anselmo–based, Mindy Pines is out to prove with a fresh photo every day. I wouldn’t have discovered Mindy’s beautiful photoblog if our veteran Marin IJ reporter Paul Liberatore hadn’t written about her. But this old media (newspapers) led to a new media (Creative Commons-based network) discovery. Mindy’s photoblog is part of an online network of CoolPhotoblogs. I could jump from Marin into India, Estonia, Korea, Poland, Australia, Greece, the UK, Iran … oh my gosh I’ve got to leave this mini-vacation and do some work.
Counter-intuitively, one new media community led to old (traditional) media bragging rights for photographers. Your best photos, contributed online at JPG Magazine may appear in their monthly print magazine – if the community votes for them.
Hint: Attract a larger audience (or customers, supporters, members, etc.) by banding together with others who do what you do yet are not competitors. Think of something so apparently prosaic yet vital like plumbing. What if locally-owned plumbing businesses shared a web site or social network or set of blogs with an umbrella presence (finding one blog means you discover all the others). That’s what Cool Photoblogs does. Together they could offer tips from how to unplug a sink to choosing a competent plumber or buying a toilet. Illustrations and photos make advice more clear for people like me. Have a Q & A area and a Most Popular section like Cool Photoblogs (and The New York Times) provides.
Helpful advice, especially available 24/7 online will almost always trump advertising. And it costs you time, demonstrating your expertise rather than paying to promote yourself. Plus you can enjoy the camaraderie of other capable people who share your interest. In this Relationship Economy you, a part of the network, will get introduced to more people interested in your skill or interest. If your participation in the network relates to your work, you may become the trusted, top-of-mind choice when they want to buy, collaborate with or hire someone like you.
With an online network of your peers you can stand out by doing some of the following:
• Stay cutting edge by learning from each other.
• Co-create a package of bundled service or products.
• Find out, in real time, what advice is most popular to people you seek to recruit, sell to or serve.
• Collectively be more valuable and visible than you are on your own.
• Attract more people to “our” collective site, (blog, social network, wiki, Squidoo, etc.).
• Become a favorite “subject matter expert“, frequently-quoted by your kind of media. Reporters find you on the main site for your kind of topic.