The Compelling Image in the Age of Social Media

In addition to my Napkin Dad persona I am also the owner of MAKE Studio, photography with an emphasis on personal portraits.  In that capacity I spoke last week at the Social Media Tulsa conference on ‘The Compelling Image in the Age of Social Media’.

Frontispiece of Presentation


One of the points I made is having ‘just’ a cell phone does NOT mean you can’t take a good head shot.  I took these photos of Jami Henson, who attended my session at the conference, right outside the main ballroom. It took a total of about 10 minutes to get 20-30 shots using the two cameras. 


Now you might be able to discern the difference between the two images at the large size, but the truth is most social media uses, especially head shots are going to be much smaller. They are used as icons, profile pics and in other reduced size situations. 

My point is not whether the DSLR photo is better, of course it is. But it is so much better in social media digital circumstances that you shouldn’t get the best out of what you have available?  Can you put up something other than a grainy, ugly, badly lit photo of yourself at a party? Yes, you can. And you can do it with a cell phone if you need to.

If you are interested in experiencing the entire hands-on presentation/workshop for your company or group, please feel free to contact me.

Update 3/25/13: 

So, ready to find out the answer?  The top photograph was taken with my iPhone, the bottom with my Panasonic G1 camera.  I did the same minimal manipulation on both.  The iPhone image I converted to sepia and slightly adjusted the brightness and contrast using the Photoshop Express App in the phone. It took about 2 minutes to take, process and post.  The G1 image I did the exact same thing, but did it on my Mac Pro desktop after downloading from my camera.  


© 2013 All rights reserved – Marty Coleman | MAKE Studio

Privacy and Private Parts

Just between you and me, this post is about privacy.


Naked Long Ago

I once got in a bit of trouble for showing a naked picture of myself to someone.  We had a conversation about my burn scars and how I had had them so long I didn’t really remember what I looked like without them.  Later I came across a long ago photo, taken in high school, of me about to go skinny dipping by jumping off a boat into the water.  It was the last photo I remember that showed my body with no scars. Since I was facing away from the camera and my wiener wasn’t showing I thought it would be no big deal to show it to this person.  I was wrong.  And that was just a single printed image, not a digital image that is traveling around the world at a million miles a second.

Naked Now

Imagine being Prince Harry at a party in Vegas?  That was a bit more exposure than he wanted, that’s for sure.  Even his sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, sunbathing miles out in the middle of nowhere, got photographed with her boobies exposed.  Luckily for both of them the public had their fun and then left it alone.  Seeing Harry’s fella and Kates bosom is trivial and inconsequential.  

But think about the rape case in Ohio that just was at trial this past week.  If it weren’t for social media in images and words, the rape would likely never have been found out and the victim would not have had justice done.  Two young men were found guilty in large part due to twitter, youtube and other social media engagements that allowed a trail of evidence and memory to be fitted together.  Social media helped find the truth.  

The Middle of Nowhere is Everywhere

Social media imagery is everywhere.  If you do something bad, especially in a group, there is a very good chance it will be exposed beyond the borders of the party or event and you will be found out, and that is good.  But if you do something good and innocent, like skinny dipping, there is also a chance of being exposed well beyond the borders of the swimming hole and that might be bad.

Morals of the story? 1. Be careful with your image, naked or otherwise. 2. Use the images you have to make things better when you can.


Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote by Pete Cashmore, Founder of




Can One Be Busy Doing Nothing?

doing nothing

I, Sloth

I do this too much. One of my biggest struggles is distracting myself from the task at hand with busy work, or pseudo work.  In March I had a breakthrough in what I focused on and pay attention to and where my mind and heart are at as I go about my daily workday.  And I have kept with that breakthrough so far. But I have found I still get busy wasting time and I believe it hinders a number of efforts I am making in my life and career.  So, I am making progress, but wish I was making it faster.

Stephen Covey, in his book ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ has what he calls the ‘Time Management Matrix’. Here it is. It’s helped me in the past. I still have a card with it on it, that sits on my workdesk.

If you haven’t ever read Covey’s book, I highly recommend it.  You can find it at any bookstore, library and probably most of your friends’ houses. Ask, I bet they will let you borrow it. Quadrant II is where I need to spend more time.  I am relatively good at the relationship building and learning/developing but I tend to get excited about new things and forget about the things already in the pipeline. I also tend to procrastinate when it comes to planning.

What I am committing myself to is be more diligent and focused on that quadrant. What quadrant causes you issues and what are you doing about it?

In the meanwhile, you should go to Sid Savara’s blog posting that discusses this same thing. It’s funny with cartoon illustrations but still gets the seriousness of the ideas across.



Drawing and commentary by Marty Cole…oh look, a sloth!





The Audience – Social Media Secret #3

It’s no secret that today is day #3 of Social Media Secrets week!
The Audience - Social Media Secret #3

Not For Yourself

If you are writing, photographing, drawing, singing, acting, or just ranting, there is one truth underneath it all. You want an audience.  Pretending that you are ONLY doing it for yourself is your way of protecting yourself from the failure of gaining an audience.  Perhaps you are or were the high school writer or poet who said, ‘Oh, I don’t create for other people, only for myself.’ That’s a lie.  

Admitting Equals Wanting

How do I know it’s a lie? Because if it were true we would NEVER hear you admit you are poet or writer in the first place. The very fact that you are telling the world you are creating it is proof you want an audience.  You might want a small audience; maybe mom, dad, and your little sister, but you still want an audience. But if you put it out for the world to see or read, then it is an audience you seek.

Be Worthy

Admit this truth and get it out of the way.  Admit you have an ego, you want attention, you want validation, you want recognition.  Work toward it and don’t be ashamed of it.  But here is the caveat; MAKE SURE what you are creating is WORTHY of attention.  If you are just being a copy cat, a plagiarizer, a derivative hack, then you don’t deserve an audience. The person you are stealing from deserves the audience, not you.


Drawing by Marty Coleman, who really truly did see a coyote standing still in the middle of the street last night while listening to a woman named Grasshopper talk on the radio and watching a giant beautiful thunderhead build in the setting sun sky.


Be The Media – Social Media Secret #2

I spoke at Blog World NY last week.  I spoke on ‘Content Procrastination’ but my takeaways from the conference were mostly about Social Media. I am coming up with some ‘secrets’ I learned there. They are secrets because I am making them up now, as I go. They are not from any particular presentation or interaction.

Social Media Secret #2


I often find myself wanting traditional media to pay attention to me. I like reporters, anchors, journalists, videographers, photographers and I like when they want to tell my stories.  But it is important form me to remember I am also the media. I am the social media.  So are you.  The traditional media look to us in social media to help them just as we want them to help us.


The reason it is important to realize this is power. Because traditional media has been around, is established and has clout in terms of information distribution and status, we think it is equal to ‘making it’.  We get attention from traditional media and we have arrived.  In some ways that is true.  But when you think of it, social media is the media that goes viral, not traditional.  


In other words, don’t be fooled into thinking you need traditional media to validate who you are.  It helps, but there are all sorts of ways to get your company, ideas, books, merchandise, self, vision out there in the world.

Use them all, alert the Social Media!


Drawing by Marty Coleman, who drinks social media with cream and sugar.


Be Social – Social Media Secret #1

Blog World New York 2012

I got back from Blog World New York 2012 a few days ago. I have been busy catching up on work, clients, fixing things, Dr. appts, etc.  Now I am ready to think about what it was like; what I taught, what I learned, who I met, what I experienced.  I thought I would combine that with a couple napkin drawings on some of the social media secrets I have come to understand over the past few years of working in this field.

Social Media Secret #1


For all the talk about ‘social media’ there is a tendency for social media types to spend more time talking to people not present than those that are right in front of them. It can lead to great online connections that never go anywhere because you don’t actually find a way to personally interact with the person.

Now, that makes complete sense when you never have the opportunity to meet face to face. But when you go to a conference or gathering that includes people you have met and interacted with online, it’s important to actually be social and introduce yourself to them.  Even if you have met them before, it’s a good idea to reintroduce yourself.  Build the relationship in person, even if it is just a brief conversation in the hall between sessions.  In some ways it’s awkward because it similar to introducing yourself to a celebrity.  You don’t know if they will know who you are, if they will remember you, if they will be annoyed by you interrupting their day. But the truth is they are probably thinking about you the same way.  

No bullshit social media book cover

Jason Falls

For example, I knew Jason Falls would be at Blog World NY. I was able to go to his book launch (No Bullshit Social Media) at Blog World LA.  I didn’t meet him then but over the past 6 months I have interacted with him on his blog, Twitter, Facebook and probably some other Social Media sites as well.  I wasn’t sure if he would know who I was but when I saw him relaxing at a table with some other conference goers I went over and introduced myself. He remembered me from some of the online interactions and we had a brief conversation.  It felt good to meet him.

After the conference he posted a message about how one of the things he loves most about going to conferences is the chance to meet his online friends in person. He actually singled me out as an example of that.  That was cool, it made me feel like someone I respect in the field had been paying attention to my interactions and was equally happy to finally meet in person.

The Original Media

When you are in the social media world, in whatever capacity, you have to implement the ‘social’ no matter the media.  Media is just a method of communicating.  Radio, internet, TV, megaphone – it’s all media.  But before all that, you have the first and most essential of media, your voice and your handshake.  Use it often if you really want to complete your social media involvement.


Drawing by Marty Coleman, who really should read Jason’s book.


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