Imagine it is 1995. You are sitting across from a prospect with your portfolio laid out. She flips through the pages of your book and stops at one of your beautiful images. “Wow!” she says. “This is an incredible photograph.”

At this point, she might call a few people to her office to see your work. Chances are, they will not be available. Imagine if she could have pushed a button and sent a copy of that incredible picture along with a big endorsement to all her friends in her business and beyond? In 1995, that button wasn’t available.

Of course, as you leave her office you bump into a familiar face. It’s one of the many photographers you know who is also presenting work that day. The next question you ask yourself is how do you follow up on a regular basis without being a pest?

What about the clients that disappeared, lost their jobs or moved? Where did they go? How could you keep in touch for future opportunities?

What about competing with the photographers on the coasts who always seem to know the latest styles and equipment in 1995? Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to that information without waiting months for the photography magazines to publish? How about easily accessible, in-depth how-to information from the top professionals — anytime or place – with the option to ask follow-up questions?

What about the ability to share your images around the world without a large marketing budget, or the power to monitor the local or international markets for people in need of your service? None of this was possible in 1995.

This is 2010 and what I’ve described is what social media does for individuals and businesses. The magic buttons for people to share your portfolio with all their friends is available. The ability to have buyers subscribe to your latest images, purchase select images at 3:00 a.m. at your price or view your photographs passively at their leisure is a reality. Access to the newest information and the world is here.

Are these stupid and a waste of time?