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Flickr
October 27, 2009, 3:16 am
Filed under: images | Tags: , , , , ,

I haven’t really looked at flickr much in terms of the way it functions as a social network in itself. As far as sharing images goes, flickr seems like the place that more serious photographers and image makers go. This is probably due to issues of ownership that arise with sharing images on facebook. Although a few people I know share paintings, drawings and their own professional photography on facebook, most of the images I come across are more personal amateur pieces. Flickr provides a completely image based community, but further than that, it assures users that content will remain theirs after it is uploaded. Flickr has its own commons and supports creative commons by allowing searches of creative commons licensed content.

Flickr demonstrates complex layers of categorisation. Images can be tagged and can be added to groups, sets, galleries or favorites. You can add notes or comments. You can join groups and add contacts. Flickr offers a folksonomy which is even more subjective and variable, because it offers many way in which an image can be labeled. Not only do you make a subjective decision in deciding what tags to use, but you make subjective decisions in how images are grouped and so, in how they are seen. Many of the images on flickr are just as everyday or just as insignificant to traditional modes of history as those on facebook. However, flickr shows a different way of aggregating material, which focuses possibly even less on who, where, when and much more specifically on what. On flickr communities can document their activities, aggregating information, which may be valuable to future members of these communities. Although the personal histories of flickr users may not have value to greater society at present, there is no way of knowing what value they may have in future.

image from h.koppdelaney on flickr



Photo tagging on facebook
October 26, 2009, 6:52 am
Filed under: images | Tags: , , , ,

How many times have you been tagged in a photo that isn’t you? I was tagged in this picture a few weeks ago along with 49 other people. (Apparently 50 is the most people you can tag in one photo.) It’s a appropriation of the “Jesus: all about life” posters. A friened of mine made it (I think he was trying to start a meme). It’s an interesting aspect of how images are used on social networks, that they can actually link to references rather than just imply them. People can communicate with you through tagging. When someone wants to show you something on facebook, they don’t send it to you, they tag you. Maybe this is because tagging is so simple and effortless. But perhaps it is also to do with the public nature of tagging. With the above image, friends of mine can see that I have been tagged, meaning that the image reaches beyond the initial network of its creator. Although I can untag myself I can’t stop anyone form tagging me in the first place. This means that, although I ultimately control what remains in the archive of my social network, I can’t control how I will be represented at all times.  In a way this is not so different from how photography has always worked. You can’t always control who has your image or how they will use it. However, there are slight differences, given that the tagging function allows people to affiliate you with images that are not of you. In this and many other ways your friends play a large role in shaping your online identity.

This practice links in with the idea of folksonomy. It is a really interesting way of categorising images, which varies quite a lot from the way someone might arrange a physical photo album. Facebook photo tagging demonstrates the key features of a folksonomy as discussed in class. It is a more personal and subjective way of labeling the material. This tagging process differs greatly to how things are tagged on delicious or in blogs because it is slightly more consistent and at the same time, a little more interactive. On facebook multiple people can tag things in the same photo at the same time. People can be tagged as a form of communication rather than a form of classification. With its communicative and subjective nature, will this information be valuable in the long run? To who?

Here is an interesting group: tag who looks familiar takes pictures from external sources like awkwardfamilyphotos.com, posts them and encourages members to tag their friends.



TweetPhoto and TwitPic
October 23, 2009, 8:42 am
Filed under: images | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’m not entirely sure why tweetphoto and twitpic should co-exists. Both allow users to upload a single image at a time. Pictures are streamed as thumbnails. Users can comment on pictures and subcribe to certain image feeds. Both present a very differnt way to viewing images than a traditional phtoto album or even a facebook album. One of the main reasons I can see for the appeal of this kind of photosharing is portability. Viewing a traditional album on the move is physically inconvinient. Viewing an entire facebook album or flickr stream could be tedious, even ineffective. Twitpic and TwiiterPhoto are designed for mobile internet use. Users can share photos from their phone instantly with their entire network instead of sending them off to one person at a time. Viewers are able to interact, making their experience more social.

The biggest difference I can see between the two is that TweetPhoto advertises Facebook compatibility. On the homepage it says: “TweetPhoto is a photo sharing platform for the real-time web. Instantly share photos on Twitter and Facebook.” While different social networking sites are naturally competitive, convergence of content seems to appeal to users and is often pursued by the sites. Twitter updates can be linked to facebook accounts, meaing that users don’t have to divide content between multiple networks. It is interesting that facebook and twitter have come to such an arrangement. It seems to be mutually beneficial. It is convenient for users to have accounts with both.

More on content convergence later.



Perceptions of privacy and ownership
October 7, 2009, 4:26 am
Filed under: images | Tags: , , , ,

Andrew Besmer’s article, Privacy Perceptions of Photo Sharing in Facebook, discusses concerns facebook users have with photosharing. Primarily these concerns related to privacy and ownership. Participants in the study were less concerned with strangers acessing unflattering pictures of them, than they were with certain members of their established network. For instance, people were more scared of family members finding picture of them drunk. Besmer suggests that people are more concerned with identity shaping than in personal security. The issue of ownership was widely acknowledged by participants. However, the perception was that either the person who posted the photograph was either the owner or the co-owner. In reality facebook currently claims ownership over IP material insofar as facebook is able to use uploaded material for any purpose they deem fit. “You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.” Web2.0 allows more equal access to publishing, but it also causes great conflict over ownership and use of content. What this study shows is that many people are not entirely aware what they have agreed to when they sign up for a facebook account.