365 in 365 - A year in the Bubble!

A very personal insight into my brief history here at the RedBubble community

I’ve done it! I’ve set myself a target of achieving 365 features in a year in RB, averaging one feature a day, and I’ve done it!

But that was the cherry on the top of a gigantic multi-tiered cake that has been my year at RB…

I joined RB in the first week of October 2008. At the time I was busy competing in what had started out as a FaceBook application and later evolved into inspi.re. Many of my friends there were mentioning RedBubble in discussions so I decided to join and find out for myself what all the fuss was about. Needless to say I was hooked! I soon gave up inspi.re and focused exclusively on RB.

Moving to a new networking environment, especially as tightly knit as RedBubble, is always daunting and I have a lot of sympathy for new joiners who just don’t know which way to turn to first. I was very fortunate that a lot of my FaceBook competition friends also transitioned to RB at the same time as me, so in a way we came along with our own little support group already formed. Very soon our little network grew. You would have to try very hard to stay insular in RB, and before we knew it we were watching and being watched by hundreds of artists.

The RB community, is viral marketing at its purest form, but without anyone actively trying to sell you anything! The comments, the groups, the featuring, the challenges, the watchlists, the favorites, the front page, the journals are all contributing factors. All of these are ways of being noticed and recognised. And, by courtesy or curiosity, as soon as you see a new name commenting on your work, you go and have a peek in their portfolio. And you bring them into your circle of friends. Then they favour one of your pictures and so you find yourself suddenly in the middle of their network. And the net spreads…

What I also found fascinating, is the fact that a community which is so tightly networked, has the ability to police itself. Most people remember being new and lost, so not only they tolerate mistakes, but everyone is willing to lend a hand, to coach, to suggest, to encourage. In my year here, I have never seen criticism that wasn’t constructive. Most people follow the protocol of bmailing suggestions and comments, privately, instead of broadcasting them on the comments. I have not seen abussive behaviour and whenever I’ve seen someone get slightly out of line, it’s usually their peers that are first to slap their wrist before the big RB brother is called to intervene. Yes there have been exceptions to this, but so few and far between, compared to the sheer volume of work produced here, that I would consider them negligible.

When you are actively participating in groups (and I’m a member of nearly 400 of them!) it’s sometimes easy to forget that the group hosts are all volunteers. These are people with a life and day jobs. I have unbelievable respect for their effort and contribution. They all give their time graciously and patiently (and I’m a host myself now, so I can vouch for what a thankless task it is sometimes!) to moderate, feature, run challenges, host discussions, etc.

Last but not least – the friends. RedBubble is not a geeky techie photography or artist community. It is a life experience. I have made a lot of new friends here in the last year. And we’ve shared a lot more than art. I’ve read their sad stories and celebrated with them. I’ve written a cheering note or a note of sympathy. I’ve shared my own feelings and events in my life and they generously reciprocated. With some of my closest RB friends, our relationship expanded beyond RB. We may have never met, but we email, we chat on MSN, we share family moments on Facebook. We know the names of our kids and our spouses. We drop a “hi – are you OK?” bmail when we have not heard from each other in a few days. And the time comes to finally meet face to face, it’s like you’ve known each other for years!

All in all, I am happy and grateful I joined RB. It’s been my crutch and my escape route when I needed it. It’s been my pick-me-up when other things were falling apart and it’s been my creative playground. But perhaps most importantly, it rekindled my passion for photography and it challenged me to discover and understand so many new facets of photography that I would have never attempted before.

So a BIG FAT “THANK YOU” to all the people that make this place special! I look forward to another year of fun in the Bubble! :-)

What follows here are mainly numbers… I have been totally anal in keeping track of my “achievements” in the last year. Not so that I can prove to everyone how clever I am and gloat in my success, but because these numbers tell a story about the power of a community like this one. They are the proof, if proof is needed, that you can achieve anything you want, if you set your mind to it!

If you are not a fan of statistics, stop right here. I thank you for your friendship and invite you to have a look at my portfolio. If you are curious or interested, read on…

(Twitter: @monocotylidono)

The year in numbers:

Uploaded (public) pictures: 290
Pictures featured in Groups – 365
Pictures featured on the RedBubble Home Page – 10
Pictures that finished in the Top Ten of a challenge – 210
… of which 27 Won the challenge
Total views – 41,000

People I follow in my watchlist – 225
I am being watched by – 216

I belong to 396 groups, I co-host two of them, and my pictures have featured in at least 12 group avatars

My most viewed, with 2,977 views

My most popular, with 49 favorites and 154 comments

Last but not least, I have written 6 RB Utilities which have been shared and used continuously by dozens of RB’ers…


Journal Comments

  • BCImages
  • George Parapadakis ARPS (monocotylidono)
  • micheleirene
  • George Parapadakis ARPS (monocotylidono)
  • TickerGirl
  • Ursula Rodgers
  • Nathalie Chaput
  • Bradley Shawn  Rabon
  • Vikram Franklin
  • Appel