Put the social back into social media

Let’s all face it, social media is a double edged sword. On one hand it helps us to make connections and find like minded people around the world. On the other hand those freindships are shallow and fleeting. It’s nearly impossible to take those initial connections beyond a superficial level of likes and brief comments.

I recently returned from a weekend trip to Sweden to see my friend Kristina. Even though it was a ridiculous short trip, it was necessary and worthwhile. Why? Because Kristina is my friend and it’s important to occasionally see each other in person to maintain that connection. (I’m lucky and grateful that I have enough credit card points to fund such foolishness!) I not only spent four days talking about and practicing toy photography with Kristina, I was lucky enough to see both Christoffer and Boris as well. We all spent a relaxed afternoon walking the streets of Stockholm, talking and taking random toy photos. It was a special afternoon.

I think its important to put the ‘social’ back into social media through interactions like this as well as through larger events like toy meet-ups. It’s these interactions that make our community stronger and help to create connections across different cultures.

I’m privileged to be able to make these cross cultural connections on a regular basis here as the de-facto manager of this blog. I returned from my weekend adventure to find two wonderful “why?” posts waiting for me. I’m super excited to share them with you; one is from Italy and the other from Russia. Through this blog and our “why?” series I’m able to share with you more than just outstanding toy photography, but the words and passion that drives these amazing artists. Hopefully by sharing these special posts I’m helping to facilitate a deeper understanding of who we are and why we do what we do.

One of our missions here at Stuck in Plastic has been to bring photographers together through our Toy Safaris. The recent Hamburg toy meet-up was another example of toy photographers that took a leap of faith, traveled to a new town, met a group of strangers and left having made life long friends. If you haven’t read any of these follow-up blog posts, I encourage you to. Maybe they will inspire you to join us in 2017 for either the US or the European editions. If you happen to live in or near Australia, there is a toy meet up scheduled for October 23rd in Melbourne. I can assure you that you will meet an amazing group of toy photographers and have a fabulous day!

Yes, I’m grateful for the experiences, opportunities and friendships I’ve made over the years through the Stuck in Plastic community as well as the larger world of social media. But it wasn’t until I started turning those random connections into real life friendships that I really understood the value of social media.  It’s not easy to step outside the anonymity of the on line world, meet-up with strangers at a photo walk, join a toy safari, or even set-up a hang out / face time with an online friend. But trust me, it’s worth the extra effort.

This is my challenge to you: step out of your comfort zone and put the ‘social’ back into social media. I want you to schedule a hangout / Skype / FaceTime with one of your favorite on-line toy photography friends; join a toy safari; set-up a local toy photography group or reach out to a nearby toy photographer and arrange a meet-up. Take one small step towards turning the anonymous and deeply superficial world of social media into a more meaningful and connected community.

Trust me…you won’t regret it.

Shelly

If you take up my challenge I would love to know how it went! If you need help facilitating a meet-up, let me know; I would be more than happy to help set-up an on-line hangout. Let’s get to know each other

An homage to my mentor, teacher, friend…Kristina Alexanderson

8 Replies to “Put the social back into social media”

  1. First, thank you :)
    I’m not sure social media ever were a tool meant to be social in a deeper sense, but it’s a great tool to find people that share your interests and passion. From my point of view social media gives me a great tool to “find others that share my passion”. I know that I for one would never have done puddle-work without social media. Through social media I have found photographers that I admire and adore and that I feel connected to and in that way social media is truly amazing.

    1. K,

      Of course you’re right social media was never intended to actually be social. But I’m a social person, I like people and l like to make connections. Working towards a deeper connection is what makes sense for me as a person, it’s not a goal that would work for everyone. Luckily there is plenty of room in the world of social media for everyone to play and be inspired as best fits their own needs. :D

  2. Hello! I’m new here and I’m already loving this blog and what you are doing for the LEGO community.

    I’m really agree with what you think. If there is a chance to be with those who share our passion, why not do it?

    No matter where it comes from, what it does.

    If we truly love what we do, we have to go beyond simply like or comment on Social Media and see us in reality to confront us, our abilities, and spend interesting days together with our passion.

    To have new friends, is always appreciated, especially if they come from other countries.

    – Sorry for my bad english, Google Translate helped a bit! :D –

    1. First I want to thank you for your comment and welcome you to our community. While we do have a LEGO sensibility, the topics we talk about work for all toy photography. Many of our guest authors work with a variety of toys.

      Second I agree completely. We have a unique opportunity to connect through our common love of toys, a chance to understand other cultures and make friends around the world. I think these social media platforms are a wonderful gift.

      Third, no need to apologize for your english. There are many non-english speakers who contribute to this blog and we all see to communicate just fine. And yes, google translate is a wonderful!

      Cheers!! :D

  3. Hello
    Well I have to say that I am more social on “social media” then I am IRL. In the “real world” I am more shy and usally stay in the background but through media like Insta, SiP, Twitter (have even started a G+page) I have made some friends I talk to and have meet some of them. The benefit eith social media for me is that I can read and think before I talk, it is not all about now, now, now. And I like that.
    But one thing I have been thinking of is starting a tag on Insta for toyohoto in my hometown, there is none. Perhaps there is more then me ;)
    Thanks for a good post!

    1. Thanks Stefan for your comments. I think we all appreciate the feeling of wanting to hang back and watch and SM allows that. Im glad you tok a chance and met up with us last year! I whole heartedly think you should start a tag for your city. You never know who you will find or even inspire. You’re on G+? How do I not know this? I can’t find you though! Please reach out there next time you are on G+ so we can connect! xo

  4. Although we both played with Lego as kids (it was my favourite toy) and encouraged our children to do the same, my wife and I never thought we’d become AFOLs in our 50s. I think part of this is because we can ‘ do our own thing’ but also interact.

    Socially I think it is the same. My wife and I are disappointed we will miss our first Brickstameet on October 23rd, but are excited to attend our first convention (http://www.brickventures.org.au/brickvention) in January 2017. To mix with likeminds on anything is fun, but to talk both toys and photography is even better.

    The opportunity to meet face-to-face at events like photo walks and conventions allows you to sort out those you would like to interact more with, and those who would be better off being friends with someone else. Neutral ground is generally socially safe ground.

    With the opening of a new Legoland Discovery centre in Chadstone next year, us Melburnian toy lovers with get the chance to meet as families ‘at Legoland’ thus expanding the social experience to other generations. Doesn’t that sound good? (Now I need to go and talk to my daughter’s about grandkids).

  5. I came back to this post today and read it multiple times. I happens it’s in phase with my current state of thinking and my goals for 2017. That was already the case when it was posted after the toy safari in Hamburg, but it’s even more after having visited (twice) friends I met at that safari, and even more now that I try to take some distance to get a bigger picture of the passed year. Maybe I should have cited this too as one of my favorite blog post of this year (alongside Brett’s “you do what?”) on the Batman giveaway.

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