Perhaps there’s strength in numbers.
It’s been almost three weeks since I started using the new Glass photo app for the iPhone. If you’re not familiar, here was my first take on it for background information. While I’m enjoying the photography and the beautiful app, the thing that stands out most in my mind is that it’s a very different experience to use a social app without any real numbers visible.
I’m finding this to be a much bigger mental reframe than anything around the fact that it’s a paid service or that there’s a lack of advertising.
As a photographer using social networks, I’m used to having some numeric metrics about how folks are reacting to things. Whether it’s the stats provided on Flickr, the count of Likes on an Instagram post, the number of Retweets, or even website statistics, once I share my work I can generally tell how something is resonating (or not) with folks.
With the Glass photo app, the are no stats. No likes. No favorites. No view counts.
The only metric at this point is to see (manually) how many comments a given photo is receiving, since that’s the only direct interaction one can quantify with the photos you share. And because the amount of effort to leave a comment is higher than simply tapping to “Like”, even my more popular images appear to have far less visible interaction than I might expect.
If you’d asked me a month ago if I cared about stats on social media, I probably would’ve shrugged and said something like “maybe.” Now that I’ve had time on Glass, I realize that while I don’t necessarily obsess over the statistics, apparently I enjoy them a bit more than I thought I did. While I don’t use the numbers to compare myself to others, it seems I subconsciously used them to compare my own work to other things I’ve shared. Comparing myself to myself. It turns out I enjoy seeing what elicits the most response. Is it bright colors? Moody black and white? Symmetry? Abstracts?
While I thought I didn’t care too much about stats, it appears that I do. I know that adding some sort of “Like” or easy feedback mechanism is on their roadmap, so perhaps this will be a short-term issue for me. Either way, I’ve learned something about my online behavior and my desire to use data as I evaluate my photography.
Have you had a similar experience with Glass or elsewhere?