Quoted on Mashable and CNN by keeping my eyes peeled

In the past 24 hours, I've been quoted on CNN and on Mashable, which caused my Twitter following to go up significantly. How did I pull off such a magical marketing stunt? Well; it was just a case of keeping my wits about me, and wondering how I could bring something new. 

Yesterday morning, I went for breakfast at the best Polish restaurant in London, Mamuśka. I decided to do what I always do: Keep my eyes open and look for fun things around town. I didn't carry a 'proper' camera, but my iPhone, as usual does the trick. The first thing I spotted was a funny sign: 

 There's an area of London called Elephant and Castle. On one of the roundabout signs, someone turned the roundabout into an elephant with a little castle. Simple, but fun!

There's an area of London called Elephant and Castle. On one of the roundabout signs, someone turned the roundabout into an elephant with a little castle. Simple, but fun!

Someone had changed an Elephant and Castle sign, so the road sign actually included an elephant and a castle. I thought it was witty, and I tweeted it. Next thing I noticed, was that the tweet was getting a significant amount of engagement:

At that point, I actually felt a little bit bad: I wished I'd captured the sign better, more creatively. This was just me pointing my phone, snapping a photo, and wandering on. That made me wonder: There must have been hundreds of people who have taken photos of that sign; some must have taken photos that were better than mine, right? 

Trying again. Trying harder. 

After breakfast, I walked back across London Bridge, and to my surprise and delight, there was some sort of marketing stunt and/or art installation in progress: The whole bridge was covered in colours:

 Photo by sparkyourcity.com

Photo by sparkyourcity.com

This time, there were dozens, if not hundreds, of people taking photographs. I figured I'd probably struggle to add something fresh and new to the scene... Or did I?

I had a bit of a brainwave: Wouldn't it be awesome if I could capture the movement of people, the expanse of the colours, and the final punchline somehow? I'd have loved to have a track and a dolly, but given that I only had my phone... I reached for Hyperlapse by Instagram, and created a little video: 

 

Of course, I also stuck the video on Twitter, and tagged it with any tags I figured would work well. 

 

It turned out that that was a good idea indeed. Over the next few hours, the tweeted video was shared, re-shared, and favourited a fair bit. At that point, it became clear that yes, it turns out I was able to add something unique (even though I just walked across the bridge just like everybody else): I had one of the only videos of the colourful bridge. Which was the reason, I'm sure, that my little video was featured on CNN:

and on Mashable:

What can you learn?

Well, there's a few things you can learn here: 

  1. As a photographer, everyone has the same opportunities, but you have to get creative to see things a little bit differently than anyone else.
  2. Keep your eyes peeled - even on a boring morning commute, you may come across something you can capture
  3. Think about storytelling - Yes, I may have had one of the few videos (which is valuable in itself), but the video itself tells a story: Commuters, mostly in suits, walking on a colourful carpet, ending on the 'Love Mondays' punchline at the end. It's dead simple–but nobody else did it. 
  4. And, of course, finally: The speed at which something is shared is paramount. If I hadn't shared and tagged the content immediately, it wouldn't have been spread far and wide.