Social Networking in the Field

We live in a social media society. Social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become household names, and for many, they have become the preferred method of communicating.

Over the last four years, Twitter has collected over 75 million users, all of whom are plugging into what may be one of the most powerful, understated social movements of the 21st century.

There is no denying the social impact these sites have on personal interactions. But those who think that social networking is all fluff without any purpose will be surprised by what “being connected” really means.

Take Alison Wright, an award-winning photographer and regular contributor to National Geographic. The assignment blog asked her how social networking has affected her assignments. She wrote back with the following:

I was able to get an assignment in Haiti because of Social networking. Aneditor that I used to work with asked me if I would Skype her book club asthey had just finished reading my memoir, “Learning to Breathe.” I wasreluctant to commit as I knew I’d be shooting in the Turks and Caicos on theevening they were meeting. But when that evening rolled around I Skypedthem, and they all got a kick out of the fact I was so far away.

At the end one the women asked what my next assignment was. I told them Iwas now shooting in the Turks and Caicos but the earthquake had justhappened in Haiti and I was really using my contacts trying to get in there,but it seemed impossible. Anyway, they posted our Skype session on Facebookand the next evening I got a call from a Haitian politician in Washington DCwho had seen the posting, looked at my work on my website and arranged toget me on a flight from T & C. Because I was in Haiti I was able to pick upa number of assignments there.

Social networking allows us to more easily reach further out into the world than we ever have before. Information that was once difficult to find, is now easier to access than changing a channels on a television. The ghosts of acquaintances past are now knocking on your virtual facebook door looking to rekindle relationships that historically would have been lost to the river of time.