Musings on Photography

SoFoBoMo and soft promotion

Posted in Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on March 3, 2009


It might just be me, but I’m of the view that photographers fall into two categories with respect to SoFoBoMo:

  1. those who read about it, and think “Hmm. That sounds like it might be interesting. I’ll give that a whirl.”
  2. those who read about it, and think “Hmm. That’s the stupidest damnfool idea I’ve ever heard. No way I’ll do that.”

I’m further of the view it’s unlikely you’re going to persuade people in one camp to switch to the other. About all we can do in terms of promotion is seek to get the information about SoFoBoMo out in front of the eyes of as many photographers as we can. It’s not about selling it as an idea, it’s about spreading the word so that everyone who might want to participate actually hears about it.

At the same time, I’d like to see SoFoBoMo expand. Last year, we had 170 people sign up. As I write this, the SoFoBoMo website reports that we have 244 people signed up so far for this year. I think that’s a good sign.

I sent off a nice email to Mike Johnston, of TOP fame. Mike graciously posted the info I sent him on TOP, and as a result, there was a big surge in signups. So getting the info out there works. The problem is that I don’t like hard sells, and I suspect lots of other folks don’t either. I don’t like people coming here on my blog and using it as a venue to promote things, and so I suspect the people who run other sites (especially the larger photo communities with forums and stuff) don’t either.

I know that there are folks out there doing their part to spread the word. If you’re a big participant in some online (or offline, for that matter) photo community, I’d like to encourage you to spread the word, but to spread it in as sensitive a was\y as possible. I’d hate to see someone send out massive junk email to everyone on the planet spamming for SoFoBoMo.

But if you have a few friends you think might be interested, individual emails to each of those friends might let them know about SoFoBoMo when they otherwise wouldn’t. If you’re a teacher, you might let your students know about it (in a very very non-coercive way, please). If you’re a regular participant on a mailing list, then a brief note about SoFoBoMo from you to the list might be appropriate (but signing up for a list just so you can post about SoFoBoMo would be sort of impolite).

I know (because I’ve gotten cc’ed on email, etc.) that there are folks out there promoting SoFoBoMo. That’s great, and I want to thank each and every one of them, and I’d like to encourage everyone to help spread the world, too. If everyone who has signed up could spend just a few minutes spreading the word, we’d get a lot more coverage.

But I also encourage everyone to be polite, and be nice. No spamming. No signing up for forums or mailing lists just to post about SoFoBoMo. Being nice and polite means that it’s harder to spread the word, I know. But in the end being rude will not get the result we want, and being nice will.

[just to reassure everyone, I’m not aware of anyone doing anything inappropriate to promote SoFoBoMo. I just wanted to get this out there, before it happened. To head off any potential problems, as it were. I know how easy it is to find something that excites you, and get carried away]

7 Responses

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  1. jerry said, on March 3, 2009 at 10:58 am

    on Aminus3

  2. Gordon McGregor said, on March 3, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    darn. I’ll see if I can get that Times Square billboard canceled. Sorry about that.

  3. doonster said, on March 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    If I had any friends, I’d email the lot of them.

  4. Miserere said, on March 4, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Well, I did my part, Paul. All my photographer friends read my blog, so I’m not going to insist further with an e-mail. However, the idea of starting threads in forums we frequent is a good one.

    Paul, make sure you tag your relevant posts with “SoFoBoMo”, because a search on that tag at WordPress didn’t bring up this post in the first 4 pages of results.

  5. Hugh Alison said, on March 5, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Put me in the “this is damn cool” category.

    Something which would be very valuable, but might be too labour intensive, would be to have a forum where people who have signed up could post, and the general public could read only.

    I’m currently mulling over format and printing options (A4 vertical would be cheapest, A4 horizontal would fit my photos better).

    Very handy to discuss these with others.

  6. Miserere said, on March 5, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    A forum would definitely be a good idea.

  7. Ove said, on March 6, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I’m one of those who found sofobomo through TOP, thank for this! I totally sold on this (haven’t yet came up with I want to do, though) and have promoted this among my friends by the word of mouth, sometimes that’s the least intrusive way, that is if you’re not the sales guy type of guy. 🙂

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