Tuesday, December 2, 2008


In 2001 when the .com bubble finally burst, it was taken as a sign that the Internet needed an update and that the collapse was unavoidable (O’Reilly, 2005). Web 2.0 technologies have changed the Internet forever. We are no longer stuck to just e-mail and simple text browsing on the web. Now, the possibilities are endless. Today we are in on-line worlds that will more than likely never disconnect again. Why would we when we can instant message, share video feeds, write blogs, and upload pictures? In today’s digital world, film is quickly becoming an art form of the past. We are now taking more pictures than the mind and hard drive could previously handle. This is where the web 2.0 technology Flickr comes into play. Flickr has become one of the world’s best “online photo management and sharing application” of its time (flickr.com).  Despite the power that Flickr holds today, it has endured significant changes throughout its development in order to become as popular as it is today.  



            In February 2004, two individuals by the names of Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake helped expose Flickr to the world. They did this with the company they created called Ludicorp, which is a Canadian based online interaction company. Ludicorp was created in 2002 and is solely based on creating an online interaction platform. Once they had created Flickr it would not take long for a corporate web mega giant to acquire them. Sure enough, like all the other web 2.0 technologies that get bought up by someone, on March, 25th 2005 Yahoo acquired Ludicorp and Flickr for 35 million dollars. Stewart Butterfield is not the every day computer geek someone would think he is. He actually has a B.A. and a Masters in Philosophy. Stewart’s wife and co-founder of Flickr, Caterina Fake, is also a college graduate from Vassar College in 1991. After bouncing around the country, she settled in Vancouver, Canada in 2001 where she got involved in the web-industry. Butterfield and Fake both resigned from Yahoo in the summer of 2008 (Wiki.org). Before Flickr was what we know it as today it was something different. Flickr was originally created as part of an online game called ‘Neverending’. However, Flickr was seen as more feasible and the game was abandoned. The early version of Flickr was called Flickrlive. This was mainly to be used as chat rooms with the ability to exchange photos live. Eventually, Flickr became what it is today; it is a place for someone to upload, share, and exchange photos.



            There are still questions that remain around Flickr. Who is using it and why are they using it? The answer to these questions is anyone with an abundance of pictures and a computer can use Flickr. The truth is Flickr is available to anyone who wishes to use it. If you are a professional trying to get your work exposed, this is one of the best ways to get exposed. If you are just someone who enjoys photography and needs somewhere to store them, Flickr is also a practical option for you. If you just had a baby and you have no means of getting pictures to your family members, Flickr can get a copy to them quickly and efficiently. The only real constriction to join Flickr is that you must possess a Yahoo account. This is a necessity because when Yahoo acquired Flickr, they got rid of their photo site and began using Flickr as their primary photo platform (Wiki.org). Also, once Yahoo took over they added a video content feature for their Flickr pro users. The pro account on Flickr is a paid subscription only but it allows you to upload clips of video up to 90 seconds long (Wiki.org).


            This is part of the magic that makes Flickr so exciting and so different from all the other web 2.0 technologies. For example, Facebook and Myspace users have a tendency to put up inappropriate pictures of themselves and others. All that does is get a few cheap laughs and possibly cost you a respectable job. Pictures can hold so much more than a cheap laugh; they can capture memories and once in a lifetime beauties. Pictures can tell our stories from things like the breath taking landscapes of the Colorado Rockies to poverty and war-stricken countries like Congo. Pictures expose and evolve a person’s view of the world one photo at a time. The saying that a picture says a thousand words is very true, especially when it comes to Flickr. Not only are you giving a picture to the community to view and admire, but you can also write a thousand words along with it. It combines the emotional power of a written blog as well as the captivating image.

There are a lot of stories out there to tell through the use of photographs. For example, on November 3rd, 2008 a person by the name of Garrett Ryan Smith uploaded the 3 billionth photo onto the site (Arrington, 2008). That is very impressive for something that was only started in 2004. This also gives you an idea of how these pictures contain artistic meaning rather than the typical Facebook and Myspace pictures. Not only does Flickr allow us to share our own stories but we can also see the stories of others from thousands of miles away; this is due to the evolving and advancements of technology. All it takes is a little gadget the size of a deck of cards to close the gap between the upper and lower classes. This point is laid out very clearly in Aaron Barlow’s book Blogging @merica The New Public Sphere. Now someone in Africa can use a cell phone to upload a photo of a tribal celebration and tell the world about it. This is one of the reasons why people use Flickr; they want to share a little part of their lives with the rest of the world to appreciate and enjoy.  



            It is also extremely important and valuable to understand how Flickr works. When you first enter the site and the window loads the main homepage, you are greeted with a picture. You are given an option to create an account or take the tour. If you click on take the tour it gives you an eight-step process on how the site works. It first explains how easy it is to upload a file onto your account. Simply click choose file, click the file, and hit upload; this simple procedure is another appealing feature of Flickr. Next, you are given the option to edit your photos; if you do not wish to you simply move on. If you do choose the editing option you have a wide array of choices from red eye removal and cropping to auto fix and blogging.

The next step is probably the most outstanding one in the entire Flickr site; it is the Organizing option. The organizing feature allows you to set up your photos by themes (i.e. “soccer”). Then you can “tag” certain aspects of the photo such as ball or grass. This enables another user looking for a picture with the key word ball to quickly find a match instead of browsing through billions of photos.

The following step is a very important and concerning step for many people who put pictures up on Flickr. Sharing is always a concern for people who are skeptical about putting their photos online because it makes their photos available to the world. It is hard for us as humans to believe that someone would take someone else’s artwork and use it to make a profit. However, as history has taught, humans are not all innocent. Because of this, Flickr provides protection to the people that choose to share their photos. You can set it to whatever privacy level you prefer. In addition, you can put a copyright on your photos. If you want people to see your picture and do as they wish with it there are group photo centers on the site. This allows you to associate a certain type of photo with a group already established. This is almost like having a group chat but with pictures instead.  Another awesome feature about sharing on Flickr is the safety level application; you can rate the safety level of the picture to help address peoples concerns about coming across something they are uncomfortable with.

The next feature that a lot of people will find attractive about Flickr is the map feature. The map feature enables users to upload their photo and then tag it on a map so the rest of the world can see where the shot was taken. This is very similar to any other asset map that you find on the web. The best comparison would be like when you type in a business location on Google and the map comes up with a bunch of balloon dots on it displaying the different locations in the area. This feature allows people to not only see the story, but if they want to they can live it as well by making their own story. This also can create new friendships by two people experiencing something in common which is a major aspect of Flickr. Creating a strong sharing community is part of the mission statement with Flickr.

The exciting features are endless with this site.  Step number 7 is called “creating cool stuff”. Not only can you share pictures online but you can also build your own photo book or capital one credit card. Flickr enables its users to give their photos to capital one to put personalized images onto their cards. You can also make a calendar and send it to your family as a holiday gift as well as a variety of other options. 

The last step of the tour is the keep in touch step. This allows you to add other users as contacts and mark them as friends or family. This feature allows you to invite your contacts to view new pictures that you have just uploaded onto the site. It also allows you to leave notes on parts of the actual photo that only the photo holder can see by browsing over the image. This is different from the regular comments that anyone can leave on the bottom of the image in the comment section. All of these features on the site have gotten outstanding recognition and many are wondering why they are not seen more frequently. “While it isn’t hard to imagine how an academic library could incorporate many of these ideas, academic libraries tend to lack important traits or resources that are present in a commercial venture like Flickr”(Lawson, 2008).


Once you have signed up with your Yahoo account all these features can become available to you. The signing up process is very user friendly; it walks you through step by step.  You begin by simply using your yahoo account to sign into Flickr. Then you fill out your profile information and add a profile picture. Finally you can upload pictures and explore all of the previously mentioned features.

Web 2.0 technologies have changed the Internet world forever. By means of blogging, instant messaging, live video feeds, and photo uploading, the Internet has evolved into one of the most complex and important communication technologies that the world has seen. Flickr is just one example of these web 2.0 technologies that has created a vast community combining the power of a camera lens and our willingness to share our stories with the world. It has also created a very close community through the development of its applications. In as little as five minutes, one person can be exposed to the pictures and stories of millions. This is the reason that Flickr has become so powerful. It enables anyone who possesses a camera and a computer the ability to not only share their lives with the world but become a part of others’ lives as well.
















Michael Arrington, November, 3rd,2008, Tech Crunch


O’Reilly, time (2005). What is web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html.

Barlow, Aaron, Blogging America.(2008). Blogging in Popular Culture (Chapter 5)

Lawson, Steve, academic library 2.0 interface or learning from Flickr, October 2008,  a presentation by Steve Lawson Colorado College Humanities Librarian, Internet Librarian Preconference


Monday, November 24, 2008

brought together through myspace

For today’s final reaction of the semester I have read chapter nine of Clay Shirky’s book called Here come everybody: The power of organizing without organizations. Reading this chapter I found myself liking it more and more because it made me think about different social situations. In this chapter the author describes the reasoning behind how we always seem to know somebody somewhere and, how with so many people in this world it is still so small. Also, discussed is how social networking sites have only increased this likely hood of knowing more and more people.  This quick description of course is putting bluntly.



            The author first discusses how it is not the world being small that sets us up to run into someone it is how we increase our percentages. The author calls is “hemophily” which, is basically the situations that we put ourselves in that only a small percentage of people able to do (Shirky, 2008). For example, if you are a communication major in college taking a political communications course what is the likely hood you will be surrounded by people who are interested in politics? The answer is a very good chance. When you put yourself into a situation where a few people are able to do the same the likely hood of running into someone you know based on certain characteristics of the occurring event is very likely. This is also typical in business matters as well. Say you have a list of business contacts stretched far and wide and at a conference you run into to someone who knows someone now you have added another contact to your list (Shirky, 2008). This is probably the most common means of growing your contact list in business today. The author takes this concept to the next level.


            The Internet, which gives us social networking sites like myspace, facebook has changed social introduction forever. You are now able to become friends with a group of people just for being friends with someone else. You can do all this without actually meeting the people. This is where I disagree with the author. The author describes how knowing this denser cluster of people is easier because there are fewer degrees of connections between everyone (Shirky, 2008). I see this as being more fragile and, much more costly in the long run. Lest say you get into a fight or disagreement with one of these people instead of losing one person you have now lost a whole group of people. Remember the group has not met you and there only opinion of you is based on the original contact member. 


            That was my only disagreement with the entire paper other then that it was a good read and had a lot of good points to it.




Shirky, Clay. (2008) Here comes everybody: the power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Pe

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Technology levels off society??????

Technology tends to have a way of leveling off the playing field of society. All it takes is a little gadget the size of a deck of cards to close the gap between the upper and lower classes. This point is laid out very clearly in Aaron Barlow’s book Blogging @merica The New Public Sphere. I will not only be using Barlow’s book to help explain my point I will also be using technology itself. For one week I followed a blog online and observed what went on with it. My observations help me to realize what this web 2.0 Technology has done to help change the world.



            Allow me to explain in more depth the blog, which I observed for a week. The name of the blog that I chose is called www.fitnessblackbook.com. This blog is a place for the fitness savvy and not so savvy to come and enjoy. I suppose the enjoyment level varies on how you spend your free time. I say this because this fitness blog is about giving tips on how to maximize workouts. It also goes into depth on nutritional planning and maximizing your fitness level. I did not realize it at first but the blog can only have posts written by one person named Rusty. Rusty seems to due his research very well; he only posts things that have been proven to work and help people who are really struggling to increase their level of fitness. This blog became very interesting to me because I am at a point right now in my life where I am trying to gain strength. This will help me achieve my ultimate goal of competing in a full iron man triathlon. A full triathlon is a 2.5-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride topped off with a marathon (26.8 miles). You can see how a high level of fitness is needed to compete in such an event. During my observations, I noticed that a lot of people were having the same reactions I was. These reactions were nothing but positive things to say or questions about the articles. I did ask a question in regards to one article about a strength training method used by the Russian Olympic teams. My question did go unanswered as Rusty seems to only answer a limited number of questions per article. This was not of grave concern to me because the information I had unknowingly been looking for was eventually found. From my observations, my overall conclusion of this particular blog is that I can still train like a Russian Olympic athlete but not have to be a Russian Olympic athlete.


            This brings me into my main point of the essay; technology has a way of leveling out the playing field for everyone. In chapter 5 of Barlow’s book he explains how people in Africa are becoming cell phone owners at an enormously large rate (Barlow, 2008). These cell phones have Internet access and perform all the same functions as many computers do. I can guarantee you not many people know this fact because I know I certainly did not. The fact that in an underdeveloped area, such as Africa, can be as technically advanced as some rich person in the U.S. is astonishing. This is all in part thanks to Technology. People that were once shut off from the world will now have news updates at the same time as people from countries that are considered technologically advanced. These people will now be able to expose their culture through things like blogs, photos, and videos. This also gives these people a chance to be exposed to other cultures. This can be argued as a good or bad thing; everyone knows blue jeans ended the cold war. This also can be a smack in the face to upper class cultures. This is portrayed in a story in chapter 5 of Barlow’s book when a Dutch man tries to help African teachers by offering very cheap laptops. The teacher is shocked when the reply is basically no (Barlow, 2008). This is partly due to the fact that they are not looking for cheap hand me downs; they are looking for something they can truly use.  Lower class cultures are not looking for low-end equipment that upper class cultures think they can give to them and feel as if they have done something nice (Barlow, 2008). Today a person can find a cell phone that does everything a computer does for a very reasonable price when you compare them to computers.



Technology has a way of leveling off the playing field for today’s cultures. As I found out through the blog I observed, just because I do not get paid like a professional athlete does not mean I cannot train like one. The only reason I can do this is because of the technology that I posses; it allows me to research the tools necessary to train like a professional athlete. This technology goes even further to help understand other cultures and have them understand us. Perhaps this will help to create the beginning of a world where each and every culture is valued and accepted.





Barlow, Aaron, Blogging America.(2008). Blogging in Popular Culture (Chapter 5)



Monday, November 10, 2008

Today’s reaction will be based on Blogging @merica “Blogging in Popular Culture”. Before going into this chapter I really tried to get myself involved in it. I say this only because this book has been a bit of a challenge to me. It is not any of Barlow’s ideals or any o the wording that makes this book difficult to read. It is the fact that this book is written in a blog form. To me, he comes off as overwriting an idea that could be written in half the amount. He concentrates on making his point with so much information that is takes away from it at the same time. With that said I will try to summarize what I got from chapter 5 of this book.



The main point from this chapter that I gathered from Barlow was that technology has a way of leveling the playing field. Barlow explains how if the government taps of phone lines and monitors our computer activities we to can hack into their network (Barlow, 2008). This brings up the next point of the chapter that people have a desire to be equal. Being equal I mean that people want the same technologies available to them that are available to others. Barlow best describes this with an event in Africa. A Dutch man had made a low-level laptop available for children in undeveloped countries. This idea was rejected but the Africans based on the fact they do not need low-level equipment (Barlow, 2008). This brought up how there is still this constant struggle between high class and low class countries. The struggle being if you want to do something nice for someone make it something they need and not something you want them to have. The laptop problem seemed to be all but solved a while later. Barlow told how cell phone ownership jumped by a huge percentage and, how these phones would do the same as laptops would (Barlow, 2008). Although Africa is an underdeveloped they still found a way to stay level with technology and, not spend the money that developed nations do.



Although a group of people may be underdeveloped compared to others they still find a way. They found a way to maintain a level playing field in the world of technology. 

Barlow, Aaron, Blogging America.(2008). Blogging in Popular Culture (Chapter 5)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

blogging 5

Nothing to exciting today about the blog read a couple more workout articles and commented on one. This blog experience has been an eye opening one. When I used to hear about blogs I never thought of myself going onto one looking for useful information and actually finding it. I will more then likely be keeping track of this blog and holding onto some of the tips I have read about.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blogging 4

No real change on the fitness blog today. I tried to ask a querstion on a certain article but, received no answer. Tommorow I will try and ask another question on another article and see if I can get a response there. The community in general seems very nice and people are willing to give advice to those who are looking for it. Have not seen any 'free rider' issues or anyone being abnoxious or inappropriate.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Blog day 3

Today I asked a question on the blog I have been following. To see my question you can go here. My question had to do with an article posted about periodization with weights. This is way to back off on your heavy weights in order to lift more in time. This article was very intriguing to me and in the future I might use this technique in order to maximize my strength training.