Photo Story on Russian Pastor by Don Rutledge

© Don Rutledge

I went back today looking at the coverage that Don Rutledge did in Russia in the 1980s.  Don more than anyone I ever knew could tap into the subconscious of the audience through symbolism.

I love the photo of one of the pastors in Russia with the kids. What really makes the photo even more is the artwork of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci on the wall behind them.

I remember sitting with Don as he projected each of those Kodachrome slides on the wall. Take a look at these of a pastor and his family that he followed for a day.

The Berlin Wall was still up at the time and most Americans views of the Russians was based on our perceptions than on reality. Don wanted to show how much we have in common with the people.

Once the audience can relate to the subject then the message can come through. You can see how Don starts by first establishing the father’s role as a pastor. Then he shows the role of the mother cooking and taking care of the family, just as many women do here in our country.

© Don Rutledge

I was fascinated how Don talked about just showing the teenagers room he was showing how this would look like many of the teenagers here in the states rooms might look.

© Don Rutledge

Here he shows how while dad is working on his sermon his son is working on his homework.

© Don Rutledge

Here we see the family being just as curious as anyone would be as to what is inside the box.

© Don Rutledge

Here the kids are playing follow the leader. What is important to me was hearing how excited Don was about how similar the families were to Americans. Don’s excitement was truly childlike.

© Don Rutledge

I was feeling the love that a father has for his family as the photos continued. Here the children play tag with their dad.

© Don Rutledge

Here we see the children conniving and being mischievous in plotting something against their dad.

Lesson from Don Rutledge

  • Give your subjects honor, dignity and respect
  • Look for visuals that can be included in the frame to drive home a message
  • Leave things out of the frame that are distracting
  • Keep a child’s perspective and excitement
  • Look for visuals that cross over cultural and language barriers to connect the subject and audience
  • Know your gear well enough to capture moments as they happen with natural light
  • Be genuine and authentic with your subjects so that they give you permission to capture them in any setting because of the trust you have established and honor

How To Correct Leaning Buildings In Lightroom 5

How often do you take pictures where the buildings are falling away from you. Before digital there were two ways to correct this.

By using a 4×5 camera you would get the film to be parallel to the building and then adjust the tilts and swings of the lens mount to get you a photo where the building looks straight.

You could also while printing the photo adjust the easel until you also made the building look correct.

Using Lightroom I was able to take the above photo and correct it to the lower photo.

Here is a video showing you how I did that correction.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPhR6kGPxp8]

Covering events: The Fashion Show under a tent

Figure 1—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 3200, ƒ/5.6, 1/160

News Coverage

When your space is limited, like in a newspaper, it is quite common to just use one photo with text. Pure Fashion’s Spring Fashion Show was sponsored by Belk’s located at the Forum in Norcross, GA.  A few hundred words and the photo above [Figure 1] and you are done. I have communicated the core of what happened at the fashion show.

This is the lighting diagram for the above photo taken under a white tent outside while it was raining.

In Depth Coverage

Sometimes the best images and content is behind those headlines.  You may even hear magazines talk about the story behind the story.

Figure 2—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 2500, ƒ/5.6, 1/160, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.

One of the stories behind the scenes was the models all got a chance to meet Pip from the second season of The Voice. Now this photo here [Figure 2] is typical that many people will take. they may like this better than when they finally are set in the pose, you can pick up on the excitement of not just the model but the enjoyment of Pip knowing he was having just as much fun.

Posed pictures are OK, but compare this photo of them smiling for the camera to these where you see Pip taking time with the models.  Now pay attention to the faces and the eyes. You will see more than just “nice to meet you smile.”

Figure 3—I like the hand gesture, the expression of the model and most of all you can see those looking on noticing the excitement of the moment as well. Do you see it? [Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/125, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

The cool thing was Pip didn’t over react and embarrass the models. He just maintained eye contact and most of all he ask each person their name.

Figure 4—Notice the models shoulders and both hands. You can tell she is loving this moment.Two of the girls are just as excited and one is already posting her photo of Pip to social media. [Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 2500, ƒ/5.6, 1/125, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

I was loving these moments, because usually teenagers are trying their best to remain calm and cool, but here we see them acting on the outside how we would feel meeting a real star.

Figure 5—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 2500, ƒ/5.6, 1/125, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.

I hope you are seeing how much body language is communicating the moment. It isn’t about the composition and lighting, but that is important, the thing making these photos is the expressions and body language.

Figure 6—This is my daughter talking to Pip. Her friends keep telling her she needs to try out for The Voice too. She is telling Pip she wants to try out one day and Pip starts asking questions and encouraging her.  I can tell she is loving the moment. Now look at the lady in the middle. She is the makeup artist working on my daughter. you can tell she is listening and even tho she isn’t talking to Pip she too is enjoying the moment. [Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 1800, ƒ/5.6, 1/125, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

I think the photos behind the scenes with Pip are better than the Fashion Show itself.  For promoting Pure Fashion these are great photos. Get to model and maybe meet some stars.  How many young girls wanting to be models wouldn’t love this experience.

But wait there is more.

Figure 7—This was shot with the 85mm ƒ/1.4 and while most everything other than the makeup artist is out of focus, there is just enough detail that the makeup counter and background become more abstract art. [Nikon D4, 85 mm lens, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/80, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

The models get professional makeup artists to help them look their best. Everyone loved how they looked after some of this professional attention.

Figure 8—I shot a little wide here to help show the environment. Since Belk sponsored the Fashion Show showing off their brand helps to recruit them in the future to do more shows. It promotes their products as well. [Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 3600, ƒ/5.6, 1/160, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

Figure 9—I shot this with an 85mm ƒ/1.4 to isolate the models in this very busy environment. [Nikon D4, 85 mm lens, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/125, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

Figure 10—While you can show all the models having fun, it is important to show how serious these professional makeup artists and hair stylist are about their jobs. [Nikon D4, 85 mm lens, ISO 220, ƒ/1.4, 1/60, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

Figure 11—Can you see how precise and detailed the makeup artist is with applying the makeup? [Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 2500, ƒ/5.6, 1/160, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]
Figure 12—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 3200, ƒ/5.6, 1/160

While I could have just snapped and had a photo of the ladies on the runway, I was looking for those moments where they looked great. Pure Fashion is about instilling confidence into young girls helping them.  I think they look like young confident women in this photo [Figure 12].

Figure 13—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 3200, ƒ/5.6, 1/160

My daughter really had fun with this program and did a great job showing her outfit off.

Figure 14—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 3200, ƒ/5.6, 1/160

I think this photo captures the emotion of how Pip performed for everyone.

My spin on the coverage

I hope you are seeing that it is the details beyond color correct images, good exposure, composition and variety of images that I deliver. I am focusing on the details of emotions which show through body language and microexpressions.

Do you think the photo will make young high school girls and their families want to get involved from these photos?

Here are some more photos from the event. Here is a link to learn more about Pure Fashion.

http://www.StanleyLearyStoryteller.com/Pure-Fashion2/index.html

Creating a Sights & Sound Package

When you hire a photographer to cover an event for you, do they ever suprise you with a multimedia package or do they just give you a few images?

You need to hire a photographer that goes beyond what you ask for and gives you surprises.  You will most likely need to pay more to the photographer to use a multimedia package, but having a option like this to use on your website is better than just an image alone.

I have discovered that many of the events I cover don’t always have a storyline, but putting some images together with some sound from the event is a great way for people to enjoy seeing the images.

It is the packaging and presentation that is what makes the same images a little more enjoyable.

This is one of my favorite images from last night’s performance by the Elkins Pointe Middle School 6th, 7th & 8th grade orchestras.  Why? Because I think music has a powerful way of joining us together and I think this photo captures the friendships made through music.  (Nikon D3s, ISO 5000, f/5.3, 1/100 Nikkor 28-300mm)

I put together a gallery of images for parents and created a DVD to send to the school for them to use in their yearbook.  They seem to like this and continue to ask if I will photograph the concerts all the time.

This time another parent, Chuck Huels,  was recording the concert with the proper sound gear.  I asked if he could send me one song to use with a slide show.  I also recorded the music with my shotgun microphone on the Nikon P7000, but didn’t get the quality of sound that he attained using multiple microphones.

What really made the difference in the Sights and Sounds package was the quality of the sound recording.

http://www.stanleylearystoryteller.com/Elkins/_files/iframe.html

Please click on this to watch the Sights and Sounds multimedia package.

I want you to pay close attention to some of the images. So here I have pulled some out to explain why I shot them and put them into the show.

Before they started to play many of the parents followed my lead and started to take photos of them warming up. Hey this is almost the only way to get a good shot of your child, because once you are sitting down the child maybe on the back row and it is hard to see them.  I also wanted to show that when it is important in our society, people show up with their cameras.  Next time you are in a situation like this, take photos while they warm up, you can get closer and not be obnoxious as it will be if you did this during the live performance. (Nikon D3s, ISO 12,800, f/5.6, 1/60 Nikkor 28-300mm)
This parent is making a video of the performance on her iPad.  I guess she might have even posted it shortly afterwards to her social network.  The cool thing about this and smartphones is the immediate ability to connect to others in the world.  Maybe she could have even been using FaceTime or Skype to let someone who couldn’t get to the performance see it live.  I just love how the world is getting flatter and we are more connected. (Nikon D3s, ISO 12,800, f/8, 1/60 Nikkor 28-300mm)
I like this photo because it just gives you context to the venue.  Here you can see the 6th Grade orchestra in the foreground and if you look closely you can see the other 7th and 8th grade orchestras in place ready to perform to the left.  Three stages really made the performance move along well. Also, the students behaved better when they stayed on stage and just listened to each other perform. (Nikon D3, ISO 4500, f/6.3, 1/100 Nikkor 14-24mm)
This is my daughter Chelle, playing the viola.  This is the #1 reason I was there last night.  Be sure and see her playing.  (Nikon D3s, ISO 12,800, f/5.6, 1/100 Nikkor 28-300mm)
I love to capture the moment where I can show the engagement of a person in an activity.  Here the boy is looking to Seth Gamba the conductor for cues. (Nikon D3s, ISO 12,800, f/8, 1/100 Nikkor 28-300mm)
Seth Gamba, the orchestra teacher, took time to explain to the audience of primarily parents and siblings what each piece of music was helping the students learn.  Here you can see a sibling and parent trying to do the finger combinations their orchestra student will be doing. (Nikon D3s, ISO 12,800, f/8, 1/80 Nikkor 28-300mm)

This is Seth Gamba being sure everyone is learning about music.  I cannot say enough about how excellent of a teacher he is, but winning first place in judging says a lot about his leadership and teaching skills.  (Nikon D3s, ISO 9000, f/8, 1/100 Nikkor 28-300mm)

While the pictures and the slide show do not tell a storyline, they do tell about moments that are stories in themselves.  When you listen to the music listen for how they play in unison.  Listen for how they are all playing in pitch.  Stringed instruments are much more difficult to play in tune than say a piano where when you hit the note it is what it is.  Your finger can be just a millimeter off and the note is off with stringed instruments.

Questions for you

What do you think of the Sights and Sounds format for presenting images?  What do you think you would change?

Tips to produce a package like this

  • Get the best possible recording you can. The microphone you choose is critical.  Surprisingly sometimes depending on the room your smartphone will do just fine. But remember it is sound that drives this more than the images.
  • Custom white balance. Be sure and set the camera to the room light and not just to a preset.  In this case my custom white balance gave me a Kelvin 3150º with +24 magenta on the tint.  As you can see this is not close to those preset.  
  • Use high ISO setting. I am fortunate to own a Nikon D3S that lets me shoot at ISO 12,800 but the idea is to get sharp and in focus images. ISO 100 will be making you shoot at very slow shutter speeds and even with a tripod the musicians would be blurry do to them moving.  Keep the ISO as high as you can to be sure you have good shutter speed.
  • Use an appropriate shutter speed.  Why didn’t I shoot these photos at 1/500 or faster? I was shooting under fluorescent or sodium vapor lights.  Not 100% which it was, but under either of these lights the lights are actually flashing and not a constant light as with incandescent lights.  Any shutter speed above 1/100 will be prone to color shifts from frame to frame and/or a stripe through the image of a different color.  You know it when you see it.
  • Shoot RAW.  While you can save a step by shooting in JPEG if you need to do any post processing to lighten, darken or tweak the color the RAW will give you better results.
  • Shoot for variety and lots of images.  When you put a Sights and Sounds package together, it will most likely be in a 2 minute range.  That will require a lot more images than many parents ever typically shoot of their child’s concert. Fill in with closeup shots, overall shots and most of all look for “moments.”
  • Software for iPads and iPhones. When you produce something today, be sure it works on all devices.  The one I did here will work on many different devices.  It also works really well with quality of the image and takes up less bandwidth than a typical video.  I want you to enjoy the package and not be waiting on it to download.

I would love to hear your thoughts so please leave your comments below.

Website Tips for Photographers

It is important to me to have the navigation always visible so people can quickly find what they need.

If a potential customer were to find your website would they hire you?

A photographer’s website is to showcase their work and help them book jobs. I have been designing my website for 17 years and I have learned a few things through those years.

Here are some tips I have for a photographer’s website.

Contact Information

Email: stanley@stanleyleary.com
LinkedIn: Stanley Leary
Skype:  StanleyLeary
Twitter: Stanley Leary
Facebook: Stanley Leary

How does someone reach you? This should be all through the website and not something hidden. Remember at any point when the customer is ready to hire you after reviewing your work they need to be able to find out how to do so with ease. Sometimes people already are wanting to hire you and go to your website to find your contact information, don’t make them jump through hoops to find it.

I think there are two ways a customer wants to contact you, email and by phone. Remember you need this to be easy and not cumbersome. If you fear getting spam email and do a lot to protect yourself, but in the process make it burdensome for the potential customer—you may not have a customer.

http://www.stanleylearystoryteller.com/Education2/_files/iframe.html
 
Examples of your photography

I think people are searching for very specific needs to fill. If they need a headshot they want to see some headshots. If they need an event photographer, they want to see examples of events you have covered.

I recommend dividing your work into categories that make it easy for someone to find example of what they are looking to hire a photographer to do for them.

http://www.stanleylearystoryteller.com/Research/_files/iframe.html
 
Tear Sheets

Having a few examples of your work being published by clients helps the potential customer know they are not the first to take a risk on you.  This helps build some credibility.

Client Comments

Having a few of your past clients writing about your work also helps. There are a few things that can help make these better.  When a customer talks about how you solved a problem they are helping potential clients understand something beyond your portfolio. They understand something about how you work and your customer service.

Having comments that talk about how nice your are and easy to work with are nice, but not as compelling as description of how you made their day.

The inverted pyramid is a metaphor used by journalists and other writers to illustrate the placing of the most important information first within a text. The format is valued because readers can leave the story at any point and understand it.

Inverted Pyramid

Put your strongest photos first. When they go to the next photo let is show another skill. Look at these two examples for portraits.  See how I would lead with the little boy and then follow with the lady.

I would most likely lead with this photo on portraits.
I might follow the photo with this one because now this shows I can use strobes and mix it with daylight. Art directors would like to see the variety of skills.
This photo shows my ability to create a concept out of nothing and make it happen in the studio.
This photo helps to show how I can use light to photograph a very dark subject (the hand gun) and grab your attention.
This photo shows I know how to photograph lasers in a research lab.  This is a skill few photographers have.
To get this photo I had to get access. This shows I can be trusted in very intimate moments. The family gave me their permission.

Remember your portfolio shows more than just that you can make pleasing photos.  As you can see each of the above photos tells more about me than I can get a cool photo.

Client List

If you have been working with a variety of clients this is good to showcase.  It helps to separate you from the photographer just starting out and not having much experience.  It also helps clients call their friends at those companies and see what experience they had with you and would they hire you again.  Don’t list a company if they are not in good standing with you.

Bio

You need to introduce yourself to your audience. This is where you help set yourself apart from other photographers in ways that your pictures cannot. This is where you may give some of the reasons why you pursue certain subjects. This is where you may want to tell everyone you have degrees in the topics that you cover regularly. This helps them understand how you are a expert on maybe what they want to hire you to photograph.

Some clients will hire you because of things you have in common in your bio. All clients that visit this page are wanting to know as much as they can about you to help them feel more comfortable about the decision to hire you.  This will give them talking points when they justify to their superiors why they are hiring you.

Wait there’s more

I like using that phrase. When we moved to our new house our daughter enjoyed taking some of our close friends through the house.  The house is larger than our previous home, so she was excited to say after a few rooms, but wait there’s more.

There is more things to do but I will stop here for now and blog about other tips later.

SoundSlides – Using Captions

You can have the Captions display by default or give the option for the viewer to click on them and make them show in the far right hand corner.

My last post let you create titles that will float over the images in the lower third of the slide. You could have this title stay up for as long as you want while the slides changed under it.

This blog post will help you know how to use the Caption tool.

Captions that are embedded in your photos IPTC information can easily be shown in the slide show of SoundSlides. Basically there are two options. You can show them by default or make it an option that the viewer can click to view a caption.

In the template settings of SoundSlides you have two things that you can check. You can have a menu for showing the captions in the footer of the slide show and you can have the captions show by default.

If it is important that everyone see the captions then choose the default to show them. Sometimes you want the audience to be able to interact and choose to see them after they watch the show for more information.  This might be why you have “Show Captions” menu item in the footer to give the audience an option to see them.

You can modify or create the caption under the menu item “Slide Info” and “Details.”  SoundSlides will import your caption from your IPTC field if one exists. 

You may want to modify your caption after you have already imported images into SoundSlides.  Just to the tab menu item “Slide Info” and the sub-tab item of Details to then modify the text.

You can modify the appearance of the caption in 5 ways: 1) font, 2) size of font, 3) color of text, 4) color of background, & 5) opacity of background.

You will want to play with the appearance of the captions. You can modify type of font, size, color and opacity. Remember this will affect the entire slideshow captions.  You are not changing individual appearance from slide to slide.

You can clear all the imported captions quickly if you like

HTML support

You can style your captions using HTML tags. Supported tags include b, i, u, font, br and a.

Turning the slide into a link

In addition to adding HTML links, you can also add code that will turn the slide itself into a link. By adding the following to your caption, you would make your image link to http://soundslides.com: [clickimagelink]http://soundslides.com[/clickimagelink]

By adding the following to your caption, you would make your image link to http://soundslides.com and open the link in a new window:
[clickimagelink_new]http://soundslides.com[/clickimagelink_new]

Check out this example

http://www.stanleylearystoryteller.com/Impact360/_files/iframe.html

Captions are just another tool that you can use to help communicate your message to the audience. Take a look at the SlideShow I did here on community service project. I made the captions an option just so you could see how they look by default.  I used the default setting for the text size and colors.

Summary

Learn all you can do with a software even if you choose not to use a particular tool, because you may want to use it later for a client or know what it does before you invest in another software package.  I am surprised as to how often people buy another software to do what their present software can do, but they failed to read the manual and master it before jumping to something new.

4 Mistakes I Avoid Today

I like to arrive early and scout possible camera angles to use later. Nikon D3, Nikkor 14-24mm, ISO 6400, f/4, 1/200

This is the time of year for Christmas parties and New Year events.  Through the years I have screwed up and here are some things I now avoid.

1) Arrive on time

If a client asks you to arrive at a certain time, it may be right at the time of the event, giving you no time to scout the location. Always arrive early to give yourself some time to look around and know where some good camera angles might exist later in the event.

While I found a good angle, I later tried it and it wasn’t as spectacular as I thought it would be. I did however shoot from this angle with a different lens later. Nikon D3, Nikkor 14-24mm, ISO 6400, f/4, 1/100

2) Don’t get caught off guard

If I can I always bring more than I will need, because I have been burned more times than I can count.  Over the years I have bought a lens or two that I don’t use a lot, but the costs of renting them over and over verses the time I do use them made sense to buy them.  Having a backup flash helped me this year when my SB900 got over heated and later needed repair. I am glad I had the SB800 there to continue to get the photos.

Some things that I recommend in that list of items to have:

  1. Backup camera
  2. Backup lens or two. 
  3. Backup Flash
  4. Extra Fresh batteries
  5. Tripod
While I had to go to bed early so Santa would come when I was young, now I had to be ready at a moments notice to get the photo of Santa coming down the elevator.  I could of been up five floors when this happened or just under the elevator, but no matter where I was that night, until he came down I had to be in position with a lens to get the shot. Nikon D3S, Nikkor 24-120mm, ISO 12,800, f/5.3, 1/80

 3) Relying on available light

I started shooting years ago and prided myself on shooting in almost any situation without a flash.  As it says in the Bible pride comes before the fall.

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”


Using a flash to be sure you see your subjects face is important at times. I now use the flash to be sure I am not cursing myself as I am trying to fix it in post.

Where the pianist was sitting and how the light was on his face before I added the flash made him more to be a silhouette than anything else. My trusty “Voice Activated Light Stands” (my daughter or wife usually) pointed my Nikon Speedlight SB900 with the Radio Poppers PX radio system helping relay my Nikon Speedlight SU800 signal to the flash for TTL off camera flash. I balanced it to the room light.  Nikon D3S, Nikkor 24-120mm, ISO 2000, f/5.3, 1/60.



4) I’ll Fix it later in Post

If you look closely you will notice I used two of my “Voice Activated Light Stands” for this photo. I had no idea if there was going to be one or more folks with Santa getting an award. I had my wife and daughter holding the Nikon Speedlights off to the camera on either side pointed at the subjects. By the way to not look light just a lot of light I had one light turned up a stop more than the other to give some shape to the faces. The cool thing is with the Nikon Speedlight SU800 I was doing this from my camera and never had to go over to the “VALS” and change the power on the flashes themselves. Nikon D3S, Nikkor 24-120mm, ISO 12800, f/5.6, 1/400.

I cannot tell you how many times I have sat at my computer and wish I had done something with the lighting in the camera. You cannot fix everything in post. You have got to do everything possible to get the best possible image in the camera. Your goal should be that you have nothing to do to the RAW image other than convert it to a JPEG for the client. Anything more than this is compensating for a reason that you were unable to get it in the camera.

I used two of my “Voice Activated Light Stands” for this photo. Nikon D3S, Nikkor 24-120mm, ISO 10000, f/4.8, 1/320.

2012 VISUAL STORYTELLING WORKSHOP IN TIBET:

I wanted to invite you to go with me to Tibet next summer. So many people continue to ask me to help them with visual storytelling I decided to put together a hands on workshop. Partnering with Brian Hirschy and Plateau Photo Tours, our goal is to help participants engage new cultures photographically, respectfully, and effectively as photographers.

We are excited to be able to offer this hands-on workshop in historic Tibet. Participants will walk away with a better understanding of how to engage a culture and effectively tell compelling and complete stories through their photography. All this while having the chance of a lifetime to engage, understand, and photograph the unique culture of eastern Tibet.

Contact me if you are interested and I will answer your questions.

click here to get more info

Tribal Communications is hot while Mass Communications is diminishing

In 2008 Seth Godin published his book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.  

One of the concepts in the book is creating a tighter tribe and/or “transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change” usually leads to much more impact than trying to make a tribe bigger. I now see this as more about niche markets are where people are going today rather than the mass market communications.

Just today I visited with a missionary couple who are raising their first support to go into missions full time. They had been on staff of a missionary organization that helped “missionaries” with their presentations to churches and their supporters when they came home on furlough every few years.

While these “missionaries” were not doing what we might term mass communications they were mainly using the older mass communication model of communications done at certain times.  America would tune into the news on TV for a very long time at 6 pm and watch one of three networks before the Cable Networks came along.  While CNN was the first to give us round the clock new cast it for the most part was more of the same network news rebroadcast throughout the day.

Since the 1995 when Mosaic popularized the World Wide Web and helped what started out to be the instantaneous news cycle.  February 2004 Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook and then we were all able to create our communities with our “friends.” We could talk with and follow our friends. We shared tips and what we were finding on the web.

Two years later July 2006 Jack Dorsey launched Twitter. The tipping point for Twitter’s popularity was the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. During the event, Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. “The Twitter people cleverly placed two 60-inch plasma screens in the conference hallways, exclusively streaming Twitter messages,” remarked Newsweek’s Steven Levy. “Hundreds of conference-goers kept tabs on each other via constant twitters. Panelists and speakers mentioned the service, and the bloggers in attendance touted it.”

Today the ability of any person to reach out and create content that others with similar interest might be interested in has created a new communications platform for not just the professional communications expert, but anyone who wants to get on a soapbox.

What’s the big difference?

Today people want ongoing communications when they want it and where they are located.  The mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are now creating more demand.

While the mass communication channels are still working the audience for them has shrunk considerable. Meanwhile more specialized magazines exist today than ever.  Authors are self publishing because of e-Books. Bloggers are sitting in their bathrobes in their homes and connecting with the world.

Summary

If you are needing to communicate with a constituency, you need to be communicating more often.  Blogging three times a week, putting out a newsletter, tweeting are not something of a fad–this is how your audience is getting their messages daily with things they are interested in. For those missionaries who used to come home every four years and give a slide show to their church and sending out quarterly newsletters they snail mailed are finding their support dwindling.  Those who are connecting with their supporters on a regular basis are flourishing.

Business can do the same things as these missionaries I met with today–telling their stories to keep their customers.

The missionaries noticed something new they didn’t see years ago from their traditional communication–responses. Their supporters are responding immediately when they get an eNewsletter.  They mention what they are doing and the people are excited and want to know when they are doing something so they can pray for them right then.

Businesses are also discovering a raving fan. Their customers are creating blogs about their products and trying to get the scoop on what the company is doing next.

The bottom line is mass communication which was one way communication is being replaced by a dialogue.

Welcome Home for Local Hero James Hogue

Last night my neighborhood, along with those from the surrounding community, welcomed home U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer James Hogue after serving in after serving two years in Afghanistan.

This is one of the few events happening around America where in the crowd are truly a mix of this country. I was seeing those from the left and right of politics and a blend of faiths all welcoming a soldier who was defending our rights to disagree and for this reason we all were gathering in agreement that this hero needing a warm welcome home.

While the pictures cannot reveal the differences politically they do show the common joy of appreciation for Hogue’s service to our community and country.

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Welcome sign donated by Sign-a-rama

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Hogue returns to his home in my neighborhood with a police escort and The Sons of Liberty.
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Dorie Griggs, my wife thanks James Hogue for his service.

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State Sen. John Albers was on hand to present Hogue with a proclamation.

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Sons of Liberty Ridersgave presentation to Hogue and his wife as well as a gift certificate for dinner.

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More than 100 folks turned out to welcome Hogue home.  Many had never met him before the event.

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Sons of Liberty Rider, officials and Hogue with his daughter

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One of the boy scouts was so excited to meet Hogue and find out he was a former boy scout. The scout is reciting the scouts pledge to Hogue.

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Probably no one is more grateful for Hogue’s safe return home than his daughter.

June 8th our son Nelson will report to Fort Benning to start his journey of service as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army.  I am thankful that our community supports our troops and am proud to have him make this sacrifice for our nation.