It always takes some time before one get used to what is the "local culture" on some social media community. Or, it takes some time to change how people understand the local culture.

At good old, soon to be closed My Opera community (where I came from), there were only one level of relationship. Peeps were either "friends", or then they were not. Although, one could also collect a list of favorites there, which is presumable one way to "follow" what is going on around. This "friends" level of relationship soon caused a situation where people had to declare they will not accept any friendship request unless there had been at least some correspondence around forum, album and blog comments.

At Google+ one can define numerous levels of relationships (or circles). One can be a member of family, a friend, someone interesting, or a member of any specifically defined circle. There it is much more straightforward to add even thousands of people into your circles, just to make sure you don't miss any of their posts. This is pretty much similar as having a bunch of bookmarks.

At Twitter peeps follow each other. I suppose there once was a "etiquette of counter following" at Twitter. If someone followed you, then it was polite to follow that person in return. But more users and followers there are, the less irrational it becomes to expect anyone should counter follow.

Here at Ipernity we have practically two levels of relationships "family and friends", and then there are "acquaintances". Moreover, it is possible to define what friends see about you, and then make that more limited to your acquaintances.

Now I have adapted maybe a nasty habbit to include interesting people to follow into my acquaintances:
I may do that even when I do not really know someone yet. But I do that only because I want to stay up-to-date on what interesting those acquaintances have posted lately. I do not expect them to "counter follow" me. Although, I do find it flattering if they do.

Recently I have discovered this is not a very nice thing to do. When I add someone into my acquaintances, they become notified, and then a person may find this intruding and/or feel obligated to response into this somehow. And that surely is not my attention.

So, I guess I need to change my habits. Instead of "blindly" adding peeps into my acquaintances, I first need to either communicate with those peeps for a while, to allow them to know who I am. Or, I need to find another way to "follow" those particular persons whose photography I find interesting and inspiring.

It took a while to find one possible alternative way, but then I found it. On 'Photos' page there is a left menu link to 'Your favorite photos'. here are mine: Although, this is not exactly what I want. There are only listed the pictures I have previously listed as favorites, not the updated photo streams.

And what comes to my intentions to use this Ipernity social media community, they are the followings. As an example I use the "amateur radio": There are two ways to practice the hobby of ham radio. One can either listen or communicate. It is very much similar here on internet. I can follow (see and read) what is interesting, or I can communicate.

I want to follow inspiring photographers to find alternative ways to express myself. But I also want to communicate with others to find out in more details how people have created their art and how they see their art from their own point of view. If I then get also some constructive feedback from other people on my photography, I am then very grateful. And if I also find friends, then it is very nice indeed. And with friends I mean people with whom one can have a nice chat on what is going on somewhere else.

Altogether, I find social media as a nice way to form relationships that help us to understand different cultures. By understanding what is going on around us, we hopefully become more tolerant, and even knowledgeable on how to get along on this planet of ours.

So, I wish you all very happy and successful Year of the Horse =)