If you follow me on social media – and I sure hope you do – you know that I love photos. Whether it’s photos of buildings or cocktails or food or people, I can’t get enough. My website is a reflection of the importance of big images and color.
I’ve taken this photo passion and extended it to work. As social media editor for the Chicago Tribune, one of my big tasks is to engage with our audiences and find new ways to engage and be creative. I actually have not one, but two distinct ways to recognize people who like to take photos.
First, there’s the Instagram theme of the week. I like to think that I use Instagram in a unique way, at least as far as newspapers are concerned. Rather than sharing the Tribune’s content almost exclusively, as other organizations do, I share our audience’s content. So each Monday, I create a theme out of thin air and post about it on the Chicago Tribune’s Instagram account. I then invite people, uising the hashtag #trib2013, to share their interpretation of that photo. Then, each day, or as close to each day as possible, I spotlight one photo that I think best fits the theme by sharing it on the Chicago Tribune’s account for all to see.
To give you an idea of how popular the themes are, this week’s theme, “up,” was posted this morning at about 9:30. By 11 a.m., we had well in excess of 50 photos. The themes aren’t meant to be difficult, they are meant to allow people to showcase their creativity as much as possible. With a theme like up, it’s literally looking up and photographing what you see. Some will share a sunset. Others will share a building. You never know what you’re going to get and that’s one of the reasons I love doing it.
And if that’s not enough photos, I also oversee the Chicago Tribune Photo Challenge. You might remember a version of this when I worked at RedEye, and I couldn’t be happier to have it up and running again at the Tribune. Together with my deskmate Rebecca Palmore, we keep track of a monthly theme. For this one, you have to use our tools to upload the photo to our website – no Instagram. Then, at the end of the month, we choose some of our favorites to display in a mini gallery. There is no winner, but being selected as a favorite is pretty close and we’ve been told it’s a pretty awesome feeling.
This week’s Photo Challenge theme is red, white and blue. And as with the Instagram theme, one of the most fun parts is the interpretation. In the example here, I chose a photo with red, white and blue flags. But red, white and blue can be blueberry pie garnished with strawberries and whipped cream. It can be someone singing the National Anthem at a ballgame. If you interpret it as red, white and blue, we want to see it. And we want you to have fun and be creative.
I hope reading this will inspire you to participate in one or both of our photo-centric themes/challenges. And if you have any questions, concerns, ideas, thoughts – whatever – you can leave a comment or tweet me anytime at @scottkleinberg. I love hearing from you.