On the Nature of Marketing & Digital Cow Pies

Every so often I have one of those days where I really feel like I’m “on it” when it comes to taking pictures. Granted I still have a lot to learn and I’ve only been doing it a couple months, but even still, every now and then I get a shot that I am just super proud of and want to share with the world. That brings me to what I’m gonna ramble about for the rest of this post:

How does one make themselves known without whoring themselves out?


If you were to ask some number of bloggers or marketing people they would likely tell you the best way to make a name for yourself, aside from just doing good work, is to utilize social media in some fashion or another. As you can tell by the top left of the page, I use a bunch of social networks. For the most part though, my social media use is fairly selfish. It’s how I find information, hear opposing viewpoints, keep in touch with people. Largely, I use it for the same reason as most everyone else. The other thing I do with it is post the work I’ve done. As of late I’ve found myself at a point in which I have wondered if I could better utilize those networks as a way to promote myself (more so than I already do, as I do post occasionally about such things). My concern however I think is of grave importance: I don’t want to be one of “those” people.

If you have to ask, it’s entirely possible you either a) live under a rock; or b) are in fact, one of them yourself. Allow me to explain. There are the types of people who buzzfeed writes articles about, Webcomic artists like The Oatmeal make fun of regularly, and whose friends and family mute them on every network because it’s rude to flat out unfriend them. Why? Because they spam. Hard. They post three to five times an hour about some nonsense or something they made/wrote and upon hearing the advice of a self proclaimed “Social Media Guru” have implemented an aggressive strategy to ensure that everyone, everywhere has seen their creation. Just today I opened my twitter app and saw someone I recently unfollowed (for this reason) had posted the same tweet eleven times in two hours. ELEVEN. Why? Why on earth would you think that is helpful? It’s like texting someone immediately after your first text to see if they got said first text. Granted, the texting example may not be the best illustration, but it’s close enough for me.

Part of me feels like I’m that guy already. Because I have a community Facebook page that whenever I post to it, it automatically posts to various other networks (mostly due to laziness). I feel like I spam people, and not just people, my friends and family; if I am posting more than once or twice a day. I feel like every “Hey look at this thing I did!” post is a complete inconvience to them. So I have to ask, How much is too much? Is there a clear cut line in the sand? Is it 100% subjective (I imagine it is, but I could be wrong)?

So what is one to do? For me I have tried to alienate some of my more used social media sites from those kinds of things. Instead, I utilize sites that are designed for exactly that reason: spread content with others who are also doing it. My assumption here is that if everyone is doing it, it’s not spamming or annoying right? I sure hope so.

You may wonder what this magical place is, but rest assured it’s far from magic. The site is called Empire Avenue. It pitches itself as a social networking site with a little built in Stock Market game. You can buy stock in different people. The more active (read: the more they spam their networks) they are, the better their stock price. The stocks are bought and sold with a fake currency (something akin to Farmville dollars) and you can use the wealth you amass to either a) invest in more players; or b) run “missions”. If you opt for the second part, you basically put up some amount of your farm bucks (I’ve decided here to maintain the Farmville analogy, bear with me) and in exchange, people will visit a site or blog or tweet and interact with it; be it likes, shares, comments, etc.

That’s right, you’re paying people to artificially inflate your Klout score. Seems kind of ridiculous at first, but I will give it credit where it’s due. I have met some genuinely talented and interesting people through the site (other photographers for example) and have generated some legit, albeit very small, reach through the process. The missions in which I pay off people to retweet my tweets about my Flickr account allow that post to reach a substantially larger audience, which in turn has generated some actual organic followers and interactions. For that, I am both thankful and impressed.

So all in all, it’s not a total shit show or anything, but it is an odd concept. It truly lives and breathes the ideals of your typical “Social Media Guru” (i.e., anyone and everyone on Google Plus apparently) but at the same time has the potential to also be everything Linkedin hoped it would be (but isn’t because Linkedin is a straight Ghost Town).

I will say this though, if you’re considering looking into it, I’d temper my expectations if I were you. While there is value in the promotion of your work (blogs, art, music, etc), which is well beyond the quality of sites like copromote et al. it is exceptionally tedious at times to build any level of wealth such that you can start running those promotions. Also, they have over the last six or so months, been making a lot of changes to the ownership/leadership which whether they intend it or not sends the signal of a sinking ship. If you roll through a lot of the internal forums, you’d get the feeling you just joined Myspace in late 2007. To me, one of those red flags is the implementation of a “Leaders” option. Basically for a hundred smackers you can have a marginal (and likely ignored) voice in the operation of the site. In exchange for your money and input they give you a few million farm bucks, and tons of bonuses which have basically created a class system inside the game. Newer players are harassed into joining and dropping their cash so they can “get ahead” or “keep up” even. The way in which it’s advertised is basically as a free to play mobile game. “You can play for free, but you will suck and have no fun. OR! You can pay cash and be better than everyone else and it will be the best thing ever!” I’m sorry, that shit doesn’t work on me with crappy Facebook games, and it sure isn’t working now either. It’s a bad strategy that is only meant to pump lots of cash in over the short term then die. I mean really, does anyone even play Farmville anymore?

Thanks for reading,



P.S. If you wanna see the site for yourself you can find it at https://empireavenue.com


4 thoughts on “On the Nature of Marketing & Digital Cow Pies

  1. You know, I deal with this every day. Who do I market to? I’m really self-conscious and I think when it comes to getting my blog out there, it shows!
    For me, the best way to get the word out is by commenting on other blogs. I’m not comfortable spamming people, but I WANT my stuff out there. By commenting, the blog owner and other readers can click through and read my stuff because it’s there, but at the same time I don’t feel like I’m cramming it down their throats.


  2. Pingback: Social Sharing: Or “Why it’s better to just buy twitter ads” | earthquake photography

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