There’s been an upsurge in existential angst in the global photography community recently, much of it centered on the release of a new smartphone application (app) called “Threads.”
This app is intended, at least according to some of the press, to compete with Twitter now that Elon Musk has taken Twitter in a new direction.
Fun fact: if you go to threads.com, it’s not the new app. It’s an older app that is not free and looks very different than Meta’s release this week. Meta’s new app’s website, threads.net, has only a QR code to scan with your phone to get the app. Confusing? Welcome to the Internet.
There have been a lot of social media sites and apps that have come and gone over the years, like Hipstamatic, Vine, Yik Yak, Myspace, Google Plus, and on and on. Those apps didn’t fail because they were bad. They failed because they didn’t “catch on.” I only need to point to the inexplicable popularity of TikTok as evidence of this.
And that neatly circles back to an age-old question: do your photos matter? Do they matter if no one sees them? I am loath to think that the only legitimate adjudication of art is that thousands or millions of people see it, but that seems more and more like the central goal of creating photos, videos, and memes.
Ultimately, each one of us gets to decide what’s important and what’s trivial. Are your pictures important because you had fun making them? Shared with family? Shared on social media? Had them printed to hang on the walls at your house or office? You get to decide.
I’m lucky. I get to make a living sharing my photography and writing with my community, and that community – you – are definitely a great audience.