After 15 years of Internet evolution since the founding of NPN, I thought I would make a list of what continues to define NPN: specifically, what it is - and perhaps more importantly in todayís cyberspace - what it is not.
Letís start with the list of what NPN most certainly is;
A true "mom and pop" shop dedicated entirely to the art and technique of nature photography
A close-knit community where people respect each other, as if they are communicating face-to-face
A place where if you are willing to invest your time helping others, they will invest their time helping you
Forums and galleries that are free of any advertising to members
An elegant display of nature photography accessible to anyone who visits
A site that has excellent search-engine-optimization (SEO) for important words and phrases related to nature photography
G-rated content so you can always feel safe bringing your young, aspiring nature photographer along for a visit
The list above paints a pretty good picture of what NPN is. But on todayís Internet, listing what NPN is not defines it even better.
NPN is not;
A site where individuals are denigrated because of their opinions or beliefs
A site where people post their political, religious and lifestyle opinions - whether you want to hear them or not - often in a very "in your face" manner
A site that you usually leave feeling insulted, disgusted or depressed
A site that celebrates novelty instead creativity, and instant gratification instead of long-term growth
A site where your photos never look as good posted as when you prepped them in your photo editing software due to aggressive JPG compression (less bandwidth = greater profits)
A site where your photos will get lots of views but little (or none at all) useful feedback
A site where your "Like" or "Follow" stats are the ultimate measure of your photographic mastery
A site that generates millions (or perhaps billions) of dollars "targeting" advertising at you
A site that exists for the sole reason of making the owners/investors profit
Looking at the "what itís not list" above, itís almost incomprehensible that the entire list accurately describes social media (especially FB) and to a somewhat lesser degree, a popular VC-funded photo site. Call me old fashion or out-of-touch, but in my opinion NPN remains a true jewel in the rough of todayís impersonal, big-business and big-profit Internet.
Jim Erhardt is the founder of the Nature Photographers Network and the publisher of Nature Photographers Online Magazine. To this day he remains in awe of the incredible nature photography posted on the NPN website and is humbled to be your host. Jim and his wife Donna will continue to strive to provide the best online experience possible to all nature photography enthusiasts - this is why NPN was created and will always remain it's mission!
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