So, as you might be aware I’m a member of a group of photographers who take part in a photo a day challenge, which is where the monthly photo collections come from. I love this group and the Facebook group is one of the best bits of the Internet, and honestly made me have faith in humanity again.  The closed group is open to all, and it is a truely global thing and has well over 26,000 members.  Last year I was struck with how wonderful a community it was when a wonderful member suddenly died, and I was completely shocked at how devastated I felt for this wonderful stranger from Australia who I’d only shared a few comments with on each other’s photos.  The sense of how the group responded reinforced how special a place it is.

It is run by Chantelle, who blogs as Fat Mum Slim, from Australia and it has been going on for about 8 years (I think).  It is available to all on either Instagram (check out @Littlemomentsapp or search for the #fmspad hastag)  or on Facebook.  Each day has a prompt (one or two words or a short phrase) and people submit a photo that sums it up. One of the elements is that the admin team look through the photos submitted by the group members and select between 4 and 9 photos that they feel best reflect that prompt. I have been very fortunate to have been selected more than once for this honour.

There has been a bit of a weirdness in this wonderful world in that we have been asked to not tag other members of the group as it is not inclusive and seen as cliquey.  According to the comments, tagging also brings a picture to the top of the feed and some people feels that that increases its chance of being chosen as one of the fabbers.  There have been some interesting comments about whether this is the case or not. Some have even said they’re leaving the group over it.

This is the issue with social media, it can make us chase likes/comments/reactions and get upset when we are not noticed.  It makes the posting of anything a competition, especially if a small subset are highlighted as being good.

Whilst I am not a massive tagger (some people know how to tag lots of people in a group, and I don’t) I have struggled with the competitive side of things, particularly when I don’t like/agree with the chosen few.  I can get into a funk about it sometimes that “it’s not fair” that I don’t have a small person or animal that would make it all that much easier; it’s not fair that I’m not a professional photographer, or someone who has time on their hands to create the most perfect photos; it’s not fair that I wasn’t picked…

I have found myself to be caught up in those competitive moods before now and I have to remind myself that that is not why I am doing this – I do it for the fun of taking photos, and seeing how others do things so I can improve my photography skills.

Rather than whining about it being unfair, I look at the photos that were selected and try to see why they typified the prompt for the admin person making the choices.  Also wondering what that person did to make the photo look that good.  Yes, some of the admin have a preferred style and some are styles I can’t do. There are some prompts that I look at the photos that FB shows me (damned algorithms) and I know they’ll be chosen (it becomes a bit of a game).  There are also some days that I can not see why certain photos were taken, and that’s ok.

I hope that this community will work out it’s foibles, and that people return to sharing and appreciating each other’s photos.  It also makes me look at the groups and social media I take part in, and I need to review if certain areas are being helpful or making me stressed.  If things are not helping me, then should I prune them out?

I also need to periodically review what I am getting from my interaction with social media, is it helping me learn more, interact with colleagues and staying in contact with people that benefit me.  However, I do have the weird state of being that I use Social media to get information about me out there, but I need to not use it as much. <Sigh> I will find a balance point.

Thanks for reading this, my lovely Interonauts (and hopefully you understand a bit more about why I call us that)