Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

$ocial Media

March 15th, 2016

Not being a great user of social media personally,  I find it mildly offensive when people bump into me in the street because they’re too intent on reading their screens.

However when I was their age, I used to bump into people as I hurried down the street with my nose buried in a book — so where’s the difference?

The difference is that the boors who bump into me today are communicating with their own user-defined communities, which definitely does not include portly old gentlemen meandering down the street.

But as the great New Yorker cartoon by Peter Steiner pointed out, ‘On the Internet, nobody knows you’e a dog.’ So I don’t know if these hurrying, bustling, busy people might be picture editors, photographers, or any other members of a community which could be interested in fotoLibra, in the wonderful variety of images we hold, and in the great opportunities for reaching picture buyers around the world.

Shortly after we started up fotoLibra we approached what we recognised as social media blithely and without fear. We set up this fotoLibra Pro Blog, we set up Facebook and LinkedIn identities, we fed them with content and … not a lot happened. So we asked around, and people told us “Oh, you should be on

  • Picasa
  • Google +
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
  • Snapchat
  • Flickr
  • Twitter

and so on and so on and so on.

Keeping a visible profile on a dozen or or so social media sites (all American, of course) is hard maintenance for a small English-speaking (as opposed to American-speaking) business. In fact it’s almost a full-time job.

But it’s not impossible. So I started checking them out. The first one I looked at was Picasa.They closed it down today, Tuesday 15th March, after 13 years.

That would have been annoying, pumping thought and effort into something which has the cord yanked just as you get it up and running.

All these SocMed sites seem to follow the same pattern — smart young entrepreneurs start them up, they achieve quick success, a larger corporation buys them out, it doesn’t have the same drive and vision as the founders, the division lurches from new initiative to desperate new initiative until the enterprise is quietly remaindered. Whatever happened to Bebo? Myspace? They still exist, albeit as husks of their former selves. Friends Reunited? It was closed down 18 days ago.

When Facebook went public, 18% of the listed value of the company would buy you Belgravia. At the time, I commented I’d rather have Belgravia. Now more teenagers are signing up to Snapchat than Facebook, and who knows what they’ll be joining in 25 years time? Whereas Belgravia will still be there.

All this was partly prompted by coming across a New York photographer who started taking photos in 2008, now has 400,000 followers on Facebook and no, she doesn’t post naked selfies. I am lost in envy and admiration. My NYC chums have never heard of her. fotoLibra rather fewer followers on Facebook. Our challenge is to multiply ours a thousandfold.

Whether the SocMeds are on the rise, or in graceful decline, the more people who are aware of what fotoLibra offers, the better it will be for contributors, picture buyers and of course us.

We’re asking around again. Naturally, all advice will be gratefully received!

Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

… or Feminization if you’re American.

At the Digital Minds Conference last Sunday, part of the London Book Fair (from which I’ve only just surfaced, so please excuse the tardiness of this thought) there were three keynote speakers. I’d always thought there could only be one keynote speaker, who would be The Keynote Speaker, but the conference world appears to have left me behind. Or common sense has left them behind.

One of the excellent keynote speakers (there were two) was Jim Griffin of OneHouse LLC. I didn’t know him or what he does, but I listened obediently. And what he had to say was good. I sat up when he announced “Every time someone has to click on your website, you lose half your audience.”

Of course you do! I do it myself! Like most youth, I suffer from diminishing attention span syndrome, and if I find a website is making too many demands on me, I will wander off elsewhere. Memo to self: must ensure that the new iteration of fotoLibra has as few jumps as possible. There’s a great art in this, and for someone as prolix, verbose and effulgent as I am, it is extremely hard to pare what I want to say back to the core. E.g. that 32 word sentence could have been written in seven.

Griffin went on to advocate the feminisation of marketing. In a few swift sentences he describes the shift from the Alpha Male marketing of the late C20 to today’s softer, more insidious techniques. And he’s absolutely right. Ten years ago companies would unblushingly describe their salesmen as ‘thrusting’, ‘aggressive’, ‘potent’ and displaying a ‘robust’ attitude. They might have well as stated their policy as “Wham! Bang! Thank you Ma’am!” Make the sale, move on. Scored! Or as I saw in one memorable, boastful but educated piece of grafitti: VIDI • VICI • VENI ( you can look it up for yourselves if you need to).

When I interviewed Jeff Bezos for The Times back in 1996 he told me that he’d chosen the name Amazon for his company because he wanted it to be the biggest damn retailer in the world and the Amazon was the biggest damn river. It seemed like braggadocio at the time, but they’re on their way. And they’ve done it through the feminisation of their marketing, not through the big swinging dick statements of their founder.

Jim Griffin pointed out that Amazon knows what you like to read. It knows your birthday. It knows the sort of music you listen to, the films you watch. It probably remembers the colour of your eyes and your wedding anniversary. It’s a woman, for God’s sake. And the customers keep coming back. Amazon isn’t interested in a one night stand, it wants a long term, loving relationship. As long as you keep giving it money.

What if you go off and start buying from someone else? I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that in the future there’ll be some built-in module to penalise disloyalty.

They could call it Alimony.



February 20th, 2012
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

The immensely talented and gorgeous Dede Millar* is putting on a photo exhibition in the West End next month.

I haven’t seen it yet but I will, and I urge you to go and see it too. Because it’s such a good idea, such a clever title, and for such a good cause.

Dede is a very old friend of mine. She may mix her metaphors from time to time (I’m still weeping with laughter about the carrot at the end of the tunnel) but when it comes to Smart and Savvy she has few equals. And what a fab name she’s come up with for this exhibition.

It’s a collection of photographs of great women singers taken by great women photographers, assembled under the great title of She-Bop-A-Lula. What’s not to like?

And the expo is in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer Charity. Now I’m not a woman and I never have been but even I can spot a good idea for a good cause when I see one.

It deserves your support. It’s certainly getting mine. It starts on Wednesday March 7 at the Strand Gallery, 32 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6BP, which is in a wonderful secret part of Central London known as the Adelphi, a little wedge of land to the east of Charing Cross Station and south of The Strand.

You must hurry, because it’s only on for about three weeks — it closes on April 1st. And to cap it all, it’s FREE.

I guess I’ll see you there. Get more info from — and I have the sneaking feeling this won’t be the only time we’ll be hearing about She-Bop-A-Lula.

*You have my bank details, Deeds.

At the end of every year we do a round-up of all the fotoLibra Pro Blog postings throughout the year. Though we say so ourselves, it’s a useful reference to the way fotoLibra works.

Two articles in particular should be read by every fotoLibra member:

GREAT EXPECTATIONS tells you precisely what to expect when you go on line to try and sell your photographs. It’s based on the fotoLibra experience, but we don’t think it’s going to be that much different from any other agency.

THREE HUNDRED PIXELS PER INCH tells you why this is an upload requirement for fotoLibra, and how to achieve it. Yes, we do know resolution is an irrelevance as far as screen-based media goes, but read the piece carefully and you may just comprehend why we demand it.

So we’ve happily been sending links to these and other various blog postings, only to find people complaining they’re always directed to the same (and not necessarily relevant) entry.

The reason appears to be that we used to abbreviate the URLs of our blog postings. We never knew it had a restricted shelf life, but certainly on the fotoLibra site all the carefully input abbreviations over 6 months old defaulted to the most recent blog post.

So we’ve laboriously rewritten the links coding for the fotoLibra 2009 Pro Blog Index for the whole of 2009.

And now it should work for you. Sorry!

Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

Networking and staying in touch is important, and blogs and group sites like Facebook and LinkedIn provide a chance for the shyest and most retiring among us to stand up and have our say.

I’m not the only person to walk into a roomful of strangers and be struck dumb with terror. I know it makes no sense, but it’s hard wired into me. So I force myself to blog, and Twitter, and post.

Sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes I feel I’m talking to a roomful of strangers. Hostile ones, at that. Or even worse, an empty room.

You can’t go everywhere, unless others circulate what you say (please!) So these are the rooms I’m often going into, and where you can always find me.

This is where I and other fotoLibra folk can chew the fat about picture libraries, images rights, sales, new formats for rights sales such as e-books, Picture Calls, cameras, markets, trends, publishing, photographs — anything to do with the business of visual content provision, which incidentally is the long name of fotoLibra’s holding company, VisConPro.

More domestic and personal. Dogs, cats, tortoises, rugby, cricket, F1, food, follies, fonts, guitars, walks, cars, cigars, scotches, watches, beer, wine, women, song — the little things that keep me interested and alive. In case anyone didn’t know that ATB before my signature in my emails stood for All The Best, I’m thinking of changing it to IDH — In Deteriorating Health.

Professional business networking site. If you know me through work or want to do business with fotoLibra, this is my site of choice. I haven’t used it that often, but recently I’ve been attracted by the Ebooks, Digital Books and Digital Content Publishing Network group. When I have time to explore it, I’ll find or found a Picture Library group.

Yeah, I know. Young women and girls. But they’re my nieces, he protested! This is how I keep in touch with a surprising number of my family and old friends. Grand-nieces are included too, as well as nephews. Not generally a place where I post stuff of interest to fotoLibra. My Facebook name is, surprisingly, Gwyn Headley.

It gets worse. Yes, I twitter. There, I’ve said it. In 140 characters or less. It’s a way of pointing people to blogs. I hope. I’d love to know how it raised $35 million without a business plan. I twitter on pro and personal subjects, often directing fellow twitterers to a particularly apposite blog. My Twitter name is fotoLibrarian.

Five of these networking tools may be plenty for most, but there is room for a sixth, and it’s going to be on fotoLibra. You can read about it here. It’s a while away yet, but it’s going to be a great tool for photographers and picture researchers alike.

Finally, before we had all this internetworking wizardry, people simply met each other in crowded smokey rooms. And Publisher’s Lunch quoted me as saying “Networking is the opportunity to be ignored by people who’ve known each other all their lives.”


Niche Networking

March 2nd, 2009
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

Teach And Learn

Here’s another thing I thought I’d invented, and discovered 3,440 people had got there before me.

But they haven’t envisaged it like I’ve envisaged it.

Social networks are all very well, but to experience true personalised hatred and lasting venom, people must share a common interest.

When fotoLibra started we organised a Forum where members could express their opinions.

And they did. So colourfully that some members of staff wanted to leave. The level of abuse was staggering. The Montagues and Capulets are as nothing compared to a Nikon owner facing off a Canon owner.

We had to cut our ties and set it adrift, and no doubt the rump of those frightening fotoLibra members now resemble the occupants of Géricault’s raft.

Ever since then I’ve been thinking there must be a more positive way to work together to improve the common lot, that lot being fotoLibra of course. We will stay successful by providing a really attractive and ever improving service to buyer and seller alike, and everybody can contribute to making it a better place to be. How do we do it?

The answer is niche networking. The idea owes a little to al Qaeda and the IRA, with their use of unconnected cells. If everyone has a say all at once, it might be a form of democracy, but no one will get heard and nothing will get done.

Here’s the plan. We already have the thread that binds us all together — photography. But photography covers so many facets. Anything can be photographed, even thoughts and emotions. And once you become at ease with your camera and good enough to sell images through fotoLibra, you will probably have settled on a dominant subject, one that you will return to again and again. It may be people, landscapes, buildings, wildlife, anything.

So we have the first set of cells, the subject categories we ask our members to place their images in when they’re uploaded. When we created fotoLibra, we wanted to build something which combined Dewey Decimal sophistication with Fisher Price simplicity. We spent a long time working out a taxonomy matrix, limiting ourselves to 256 subjects under 22 main headings. Those headings are Animals / Architecture / Arts / Design / Events / Health / Heritage / Leisure / Lifestyle / Nature / People / Plants / Science / Society / Sport / Transport / Travel / Work; and every photographable subject can be shoe-horned into one of these main headings.

If photographing buildings is your passion, we will put you in touch (with anonymity on both sides) with others who share your interest. You can teach as well as learn.

The second set of cells is the geographical location of each member photographer. If you live in Manhattan or Westminster there are going to be more fotoLibra photographers close at hand than if you live in Nullabor or Irkutsk. Therefore fotoLibra’s niche networking tool will allow you to contact the 25 fotoLibra members nearest to you. You will be anonymous to them, and you won’t know who they are, but you will be able to communicate and share common interests.

fotoLibra’s new Niche Networking tool will link people by geography or interest. We don’t know of any other specialist site that offers this facility. It has to make assumptions — that you are interested in photography, otherwise you wouldn’t be on fotoLibra — and that you want to share, learn and teach more about your particular region or specialism.

Shortly you will be able to, on