The positive feedback of social networking is transforming the way we communicate. The technology’s sophistication and ubiquity empower us to share our views and to be heard. With more ways to express ourselves, we are motivated to develop and evolve our online presence.
Thus, photography is becoming a means of personal expression. And we can express ourselves globally, instantly, forever.
The personal photograph has evolved from a memento to a tool.
And yet, much usage is more mundane—simply to portray ourselves as individuals. Such use is no more apparent than on social networking. Likewise, ever more social networks are emerging as technology simplifies photo sharing and motivates self-expression. Our profile pictures (we hope) capture our personalities.
According to an article on the Web site DPNow, Anthony Ward, head of Bonusprint, one of the world’s largest photo processing companies, asserts that social networking is driving a “resurgence in digital photography.” The age of “we-dia” is upon us, says Ward.
Traditional media companies will have to innovate in the social media space to stay ahead. In a September 2007 USA Today article, Bill Tancer, general manager of research for Hitwise said, “What’s happened in photo sharing is a clear paradigm shift.” Tancer observes that traditional sites such as Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly and Snapfish will “have to find a way to play in the social networking space, to remain relevant.”
Questions remain. Who controls the images? What are the privacy issues? Is there a market for high-quality print photos? But don’t doubt that social networking is here to stay, and that digital photography will play an ever-increasing role in how we define and express ourselves.