Sunday, December 21, 2008

23 Things Vol. 3: Photos, Images

This week’s assignment revolves around exploring photo sharing on the web. The 23 Things module focuses solely on Flickr, the most well-known (in my opinion) photo sharing service, but there are services like Smugmug which have similar functionality. (The module does list other services though.) The last few years there has been an explosion in the social web; services focused on adding social features around activities or items. There are social sites for everything from books to birding. Flickr is an example of the social networking space adopting photos. I don’t personally own a camera or have any interest in Flickr at this point in time. However, I do see how it could be useful for both personal reasons. Parents/grandparents a couple of states away or snowbirding could watch albums of their children/grandchildren easing the distance barrier. Professionally organizations could adopt the technology as a notification tool letting employees look at new construction in the building or allow the public to see exclusive shots of their latest product unveiling. These are only two possibilities with a service that has countless other applications.
The real intriguing aspect behind sites like Flickr and other social networking tools is the change cultural concepts of privacy and knowledge. The social networking space is altering how much information about you is available to the general public. I do a regular search on my name (which granted is pretty unique), but I can look through several non-affliated sites that show information about me. Whether a my linkedin/facbook profile or a link to the finding aid I created during my archives internship each nugget of information helps people create a better picture about me. I’ve also made a choice to put myself out there through this blog and other sites that I manage. However, I see that more as a necessity. The best way to help determine your identity online is to create your own presence. There are plenty cheap or free hosting services and domain names are not that expensive so there is no reason why anyone can’t build there on own site. From the first module I’ve seen a long list of blogging services that all could be re-worked to act as a website.