10 years ago the term “social media” had a completely different meaning then it does today.

Facebook? Twitter? What?

10 years ago things were changing – and they were changing rapidly. That much we knew.

But we had no idea how fast things would continue to change as we moved into a new era.

AOL had a huge market share. No more.

So did Microsoft. And General Motors. And Kodak.

But in every case we look at, something changed. Or in many cases, it didn’t change.

If we look at Google today, the reason it has become a huge player in the industry is because it never stops changing. It stays with its most successful product – a search engine – and continues to morph in all directions.

Facebook of six months ago is completely different than it is today. I know. I teach a Facebook class here at a local community college three to four times per year. Every time I begin the class I have to update it, and in some cases I have to completely rework my recommendations. It’s a never-ending evolution of growth and change – just like it should be.

The people at Google and at Facebook know the world is changing rapidly. And if they sit still too long, someone else will jump in and take their places. They are constantly moving, changing and morphing into the next phase of business.

And while its easy to see with companies in the technical sector, people tend to ignore the same changes in other industries and expect things to remain the same. Like photography for instance.

When digital first jumped into the scene, many photographers swore they would never make the change – they would retire long before they were ever required to pick up a digital camera or use a computer to manipulate an image.

And they were right. If you didn’t make the change and jump into it, life passed you by. They were forced to “retire” because they simply couldn’t keep up with what was happening – and expected – within the industry.

So the question for all of us now is

Who do you want to be? Do you want to be the AOL? Or do you want to be Facebook?

Are you ready to jump in and give things a try? Are you willing to test to find out what works and what doesn’t?

Not everything you do will win. Facebook tries many things, tests them for a while, and redesigns based on their findings. You may buy equipment, software, or online programs, only to find out they were a complete waste of time.

That’s okay. Because you learned something along the way. It made you focus in on your photography in a different way, learn something new, and apply it to the future of your business. Whether you continue using it or not, it will always be there guiding your future decisions.

Every step you take may not bring in a profit. But it will guide you towards success. The “wrong” moves teach you just as much as the right ones. But only if you apply it in the right way and use it to move you forward.

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