You’ve created a substantial online presence. Do you have any tips for community building?
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You’ve created a substantial online presence. Do you have any tips for community building?

Community building is really important to me, in general. I'm also a professor teaching photography, motion design, and graphic design. I spend a lot of time during my semesters building those communities because I've seen the value of how it pushes us, functions as a support system, and keeps us accountable.

In some ways that's translated online. Everybody matters, in my opinion. In the early days, it was so easy to give comments to people, check out feeds, message people, and reply. It would take forever but it mattered to me because there was someone out there reaching out and I would reach back. I think those small gestures went a long way.

One of the things going for FWID is consistency (Dirk took a brief hiatus from posting late last year). I showed up everyday for 2 posts, or a minimum of 1 post, at least, for 4 years. Everybody's striving for perfection, but it's not obtainable. I would encourage people to strive for consistency. How are you improving every day?

The fact that FWID showed up almost every single day with something new in the feed made it top-of-mind for a steadily growing audience. Once you know you'll see it, you come to expect it. People ask me why I post at 9:00 PM every night (PST). I would get my kids to bed, finish our routine. The night was done so then I could post. That's my habit, that's my routine.

I spend a lot of time finding photos. My book hadn't come out yet as I'm telling you this but someone, when they discovered all the photos in there weren't mine, emailed me and said 'these aren't all your photos? Anyone can curate a photo book.' I had to laugh because I spend so much time seeking out an epic image, something inspiring or unique, something you've never seen before. The point is, I put a lot of work into it and don't post anything random.

There needs to be something of value or people are going to stop showing up. For people reading this, ask yourself 'what is the value I'm giving people?' For me, for FWID, the value is inspiration. As soon as that's lost, FWID will go down. There's a lot of pressure with that realization.

For example, with Nike, when we think of that logo, it's actually kind of lame. What makes it so cool is you associate it with Michael Jordan. You associate it with Kobe Bryant. Because those people do amazing things, that's what makes the brand recognizable. Because the people in the FWID community are incredible, I'm able to share their work and grow.

I'm great at promoting other people's stuff, by not my own if I'm being honest. It's not natural to me. Sometimes I feel late to the game or that I should be doing some stuff sooner. This is because I want to help others, that's my goal. Not everyone's going to make it onto the feed. And I feel bad because I don't want to leave anyone out. This is what's great about Stories. If you tag me with something that's great, I'll feature you there and you'll get tons of views on your work that way.