Part of our project for my Visual Journalism class was writing up a draft about our brand…
What do we plan to use it for? How will this assignment help us become better journalists? Using examples from class and examples that we find on our own about how journalists have used social media and branding to give themselves a more powerful voice outside of just their publication that their name is ultimately attached to.
So, here we go…
The most immediate way I plan to use this brand is as a platform on which to build my credibility and networking capabilities. As my post-college vision has been evolving, I’ve been noticing the importance of creating a name for myself. So, this first project for Visual Journalism is just what I needed. As we’ll be creating items such as business cards and letterheads to further solidify our brands, I feel I’ll be able to use these to my advantage over the next year during my time at UF. As I hope my work with The Alligator becomes more serious, I believe I’ll be meeting more people and, in turn, finding ways to utilize the brand I’m creating. With this, there can only be more opportunities out there waiting. Taking advantage of those opportunities will only lead to more experience and can only help me become a better journalist.
The first person that comes to mind regarding the bit about how journalists use social media and branding to promote themselves is Colby Brown. Colby is a professional photographer and freelance photojournalist specializing in travel and humanitarian photography. I first discovered him on Google+ in November 2011. Since then, I’ve been watching how he’s been using his G+ page to promote his brand; specifically his book, Google+ for Photographers, various workshops and The Giving Lens (TGL), an organization he started in 2009. TGL is hybrid photography workshop and sustainable development initiative that allows Colby and those who choose to participate to partner up with different non-profit groups and giving back to local communities around the world.
Using G+, Colby has gone from just being the guy who started TGL, to one of the photographers with the biggest voices in that particular area of social media. If there’s any good example from this, it’s the fact that he wrote a book about how G+, as a social media network, can be such a benefit for people, especially those interested in photography. In addition to G+, his page is also linked up with his Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and personal website.
On a more personal note, Colby’s use of G+ to spread his brand and what he stands for has led me to the path I now see myself traveling. After doing a bit more research and figuring out who he was and what he stood for, I sent an email to see if he or his staff would be open to helping me answer a few questions I had relating to the notion of humanitarian photography and the business in general. Colby emailed me back a couple weeks later and went so far as to offer setting up a G+ Hangout and having a video chat when he had some downtime between his travels. The 45 minutes spent picking his brain and listening to him explain the reality of what it means to be a humanitarian photographer was more enlightening and motivating than I ever would’ve expected.
This assignment has been more applicable already than I ever could’ve imagined and I truly look forward to what the rest of the semester has to offer.