Main

January 31, 2007

Hey everyone :)

IMG_0054


This is a picture of my cousins, siblings, myself, and my grandparents. The reason why I chose it is because over the years the number of family photos we have are steadily decreasing. My cousin Dimitri (on the lower left) lives in Russia and my cousin (on the top right) lives in Boston. They rarely come down to MN to visit so it's hard for all of us to be together and have family pictures. That's why I think that this picture is very important to me.
Flickr is a way for people establish themselves in this new program. It allows users upload their favorite pictures and to tag with them words that would make it easy to find. This system allows other people to view other user’s files who share their interests. It’s a fun way to see what other people are in to. Flickr works in a similar way to Google by bringing up the files that have the largest number of “convergence.? I think that this is an interesting program that I haven’t heard of until recently. What I like about it is how it steers clear of political and ethical issues by having this system of convergence.


January 30, 2007

Here's to Flickr

Me, Daniela, and Tequila

This is my fiancé and me taking tequila shots. Tequila is my favorite shot... not hers. Don't worry, I'm not putting this up because I want to show that I'm cool, and I drink, but rather because I don't own a digital camera, and this is one of the few pictures on my computer. However, I do like this picture, because it shows us having a good time (with our friends whom you can’t see), and that’s something that I feel should definitely be part of the college experience.

I enjoyed the short reading from Sturtz. The part I found perhaps the most interesting was what Google actually does when you hit that search button. I found the idea of the “Google Bomb? to be very interesting. I am studying Marketing and Public Relations, and the Google Bomb is right up that ally. I really think that Large Companies who have the resources are going to take advantage of this type of search process, as Sturtz gave the John Kerry and Waffles link situation. I feel that many Public Relation firms will start to do this same type of thing as a grass roots tactic.

After Reading about Flickr, I tried it out, and was quite surprised how easy it was to use. My roommate has used Ofoto.com in the past, and when compared to each other, Flickr definitely takes the cake. I think many people will find the tagging feature very useful. It’s just another way that the internet is becoming more interactive and user friendly.

The reading out of Cyberliteracy is something that I feel most modern day internet users should read. While reading it, I was thinking to myself that this would be something great to one day have our children read, so they could see what things were like when the internet first came out, and even prior to that. The readings almost make you step back, and be thankful for all the great things the internet can provide us, yet reminds us not to lose sight of the importance of things such as actual person-to-person contact. I’ve had previous classes where the issue of the internet making society too impersonal has come up, and everyone agreed that while the internet is a great tool, there are just some things that it can not replace. For example, while I saw that someone posted the fact that Flickr acts as a community of people, and a way for people to check up on each other, it will never be the same as actually sitting down and talking to that person about their experiences.

January 29, 2007

Cars are my passion...cyberliteracy was sold out, hopefully this blog isn't to late......

Get Serious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is just on of many shots of a great passion of mine which is building and tuning cars. The picture above is my one of personal vehicles. I cannot really recall how much money has been spent pursuing this passion, but I do not do it for others, but for my own personal satisfaction and enjoyment. Except now I have a shop so people can pay me to help them realize this enjoyment!!!

Continue reading "Cars are my passion...cyberliteracy was sold out, hopefully this blog isn't to late......" »

January 28, 2007

If I had to tag my week, I would choose between "busy" or "exhausting", but this assignment would be tagged as "late."

n13902971_35174040_5532

I thought I would use this opportunity for a plug as long as I have to post a photo. This is a picture of the ragtag group of misfits I play music with on a regular basis. Usually at the 400 Bar on Cedar and Franklin in the West Bank area, but we tour other cities when we're all able to. Our name is Nallo and the Rosy Dozers and more info can be fount at our myspace page.
I found the readings interesting and it's the first time I've really been exposed to the term folksonomy but there is no doubt it's an apt term. I feel like the Sturtz piece had a nice explanation of the expected and observed benefits [and drawbacks] of such a system though it was a pretty general examination. As a regular user of such systems (though Flickr is completely new to me) the real potent information comes from use rather than broad list of observations. For example, the example Sturtz cites regarding a user tagging their photo with the term 'flower' brought back terrible memories of scrolling through pages and pages of results on any of a number of catalogue-oriented sites. This major fault in the folksonomy approach to categorization is a reminder that in order to get the most out of such a system one must keep in mind the social aspects of the new web in which we work. Users of a site like del.icio.us are probably mostly under thirty and well-acquainted with the internet; some however, probably aren't. The challenge, for the administration of such a site, is to stay accessible enough for the general public and yet stay specialized enough for the newly-evolving sect of high-power users that are looking for specifics; i.e. Helianthus annuus instead of sunflower instead of flower, or all three?

January 27, 2007

Snowboarding, Tagging Woes

Frontside

This photo was taken by my friend Lisa Skaff when we worked at a snowboard camp at Mt. Hood in Oregon. My job at the camp was more or less "IT Guy". I fixed computers, adminstrated the network, and wrote software to manage their inventory. This image shows me doing my favorite thing: enjoying the mountains on a snowboard.

As previous posts have mentioned, oftentimes when searching for content by tag one expects that a particular topic would be tagged with particular keywords. For example, I would expect, when searching for images of, say, a particular snowboarding trick (the above image depicts an "indy"), that a search for the keyword "indy" would yield relevant results. Of course, many other things would also be returned for such a search, for instance images related independent films, or the skateboard company "Independent". This is not much of a problem, as I can simply further winnow the result set down with more constraints. However, I have no way of knowing whether someone posted an image that I would be interested in if he or she instead only tagged it with "snowboarding", or perhaps "half pipe". Certainly I can search simply "snowboarding", and browse around until I find an interesting picture. Or I can peruse tags on images also tagged "snowboarding", and find tags related to other tricks that I might be interested in. This problem seems related to, or another face of, the issue a previous poster brought up of different cultures or groups using different vocabulary to describe data.

Therefore, tagging seems to be useful more as a method of browsing a data set, and less as a method of searching a data set. Specifically, because tagging relies on the tagger's understanding of a piece of data in order to properly organinze it, a search over a set of tags will often yield incomplete results, with no way of determining whether the results are in fact incomplete. Meaningful, useful data can become "lost" to searching if tags are the only means of categorizing it.

Another issue associated with tagging is that tags seem to have a tendency toward either generality or over-specificity. By this I mean that one might find an image taked with "restaurant", which yields almost no information; it is too general. On the other hand one might come across an image tagged "Mike"; it is far too specific. Finding the "sweetspot" of useful information is difficult, and it seems that people often miss the mark. I know that my tags, for example "tree", might be a bit too general.

January 26, 2007

My view of the world

Morning sunrise

This photo was taken last year from our back yard. We live 16 miles from downtown but we still have a wonderful view of Minneapolis in the winter when the trees are bare. I am 20 minutes from work downtown but I still have a view of the city. We even have deer in the backyard. In my mind I have the best of both worlds.

The way Sturtz describes the way tagging works reminds me of a bubble sort programmers used years ago when they had to write a program to sort alpha or numeric figures. The decision was a tree with either a yes or no response. When we execute a search on Google, the sort takes place in the background providing the most reliable result. With YouTube or Flickr, the user is manipulating the sort each step of the way.

The tag of "perfection" can lead to a beach in Australia (nice photo), or a fancy car or a perfect meal. With each additional tag the tree of decision gets refined and leads the surfer closer and closer to their intended goal. Many times the surfer ends up at a location that was never the intended initial site. If my initial goal is perfection in a meal, I may end up researching the sandy beaches of Austrailia.

Lost in translation...

beach

This is one of my favorite pictures from Australia. It may not deserve a pulitzer, but the story behind it is great. This is from my 'spring break' trip that I took in October where we camped on the largest sand island in the world. We had just setting up camp and were off to play touch football on the beach. I love the colors, and can almost feel the cool sand on my feet when I look at it. I think it says a lot about me because I love the outdoors, adore the beach and worship sunsets. All of this while I'm in a different country, learning about new cultures and making new friends. It was perfection.

Perfection may be what I call this picture, but what would you call it? If i tagged this photo on Flickr as 'perfection' anyone looking for anything remotely related to the definition of perfection may wonder what the heck this odd shot of some girl on a beach is doing under that tag. 'Folksonomy' on Flickr and Google can take a picture, once thought to be worth 1000 words, and reduce it down to one or two words. Anyone that has done a Google search for something rather obscure knows just how frustrating it can be to look up something like "porkchops" and come up with some random teenagers blog.

In relation to Cyberliteracy, blogging, and tagging, language as we know it is evolving before our eyes. My mom has finally figured out what I mean when I write "btw" in my emails and has started shortening things herself when she texts me. It has taken her a while to get used to the new 'cyber lingo' while I on the other hand pretty much grew up with it. I am not certain who is at the disadvantage in this situation. She has no problem writing formal letters and emails while I on the other hand write most of my 'important' emails in Word just to make certain that I don't have any stupid spelling errors. If my grasp on proper English has slipped so much, I wonder how my little brothers will fare. I hope that future generations will still be taught the proper way of writing, and cringe every time something like "lol" is added to the dictionary.

Thoughts on Sturtz, and the Ups and Downs of Self-Catagorization.

The Founding Fathers of the United States.

I am a political science major, and in good fashion I like to study these men who founded the US government. This is a great picture because one can enjoy it without necessarily debating the nature of the fathers in a realistic sense, but rather in a romantic sense. Sometimes, in history, romanticism can be just as influential as realism. That is why I posted this picture.

The other reason I posted this picture is because of the use of folksonomy I used to find the picture. According to Sturtz, Google uses folksonomy though its web based algorithms when retrieving data from the internet. I typed in founding fathers into this search engine, and it tagged this portrait from the title it had on a web page (verses the picture itself as in the system used by this web page) of the founding fathers I was looking for. Also, I think that being able to participate in the act of creating my own classification sytemes are neat to, as seen in Flickr.
I however, do believe that the “democratic? way that folksonomy, and indeed classification of information that is used can be a double edged sword. This is because I believe in what Sturtz said, that ideas and concepts can be all but forgotten in a system that is not hierarchical, due to either the lack of interest in the area, or the controversial nature of an issue. It would be shame if information was lost to the ages just because no one categorized it.

As far as Cyberliteracy is concerned, I think it addresses a very valid point for this section. That over use of internet communication has depleted its importance. In personal experience, I have looked at how I write e-mails, and how my grandparents write letters. We have entirely different ways of communication through these mediums. When I e-mail people, it is usually informal, and it’s usually meant to communicate a need for something. My grandparents, and indeed their generation write each other letters to see how people are doing, what’s up, and that general stuff. These days I would either pick up my cell phone, or hop on AIM (America Online Instant Messenger) to achieve this. I really think, that the generation of our grandparents put more meaning into communication because they communicated/traveled less. When they sat down to write a letter, they made sure it communicated to their reader what it is they were doing/feeling/otherwise. Unlike modern instant messaging. Example I LUV U...says a lot...

January 25, 2007

Jump! [and] Folksonomies will lead to new ways of understanding!

Kate and Mike Jump

This is most definitely my favorite picture. It comes from this summer while I was visiting my boyfriend’s family in Detroit Lakes. It was very early on in the summer, and the water was not quite warm. So, we were dared to jump in. I grabbed my boyfriend’s (Mike) hand and said, “Let’s go!? I think this is a pretty good depiction of the type of person I am. No fear, no risk, just opportunities to experience life. I really enjoy summertime because it allows me to put my worries away and try new things. I visited Detroit Lakes several times over the summer and grew to love the simplicity of just hanging out and taking things slow. . . a change of pace from my normal day-to-day activities.

I really enjoyed the article by Sturtz. I respect the way he presents the idea of a folksonomy, and I feel that he attributes a lot of control of the term to users. It intrigues me that we have come-up with definitions about the different and unique ways internet communications are categorized. It is truly a whole new field of study. I find it equally intriguing that he really believes that users are the true definers of the structure of the content. It is unlike any other area of study that is already well-defined. While the internet seems to have changed the way we categorize things, I think we, as users, need to be vigilant not to redefine what is already true (this might apply more to Cyberliteracy). My favorite quote from the article is, “Giving the end user control over the organization of content can also allow entirely new domains to develop? (Sturtz 4). Pretty cool!

Flickr uses folksonomies, as mentioned in the article by Sturtz. When an item is tagged in a photo, users can find other users’ photos with a shared name. This allows a very cool way to browse topics, and relate to other people’s lives. I believe it gives people of sense of connection and community when they find that they share interests, beliefs, and common photos with each other.

Lastly, after reading the first few chapters of Cyberliteracy, by Gurak, I believe I have gained even more insight on how to utilize and be careful while using the internet. My favorite sections were on multiplicity and globalness. It is truly amazing how many people we can be in connection with through the internet. When we can reach so many people at once, especially across the world, I think we hold some true power. But, I also feel like the number of messages and communications are so abundant that meaning gets lost, there is a lot of noise and clutter to cut through, and it is difficult for one to know what is real, useful and meaningful. My favorite quote here was, “Multiplicity drives e-commerce? (Gurak 34). I work in e-commerce, and have recently found the power of online tools such as pay-per-click, banner ads, targeted emails, and online advertising in general.

Language Creating Connection

Crazy Jonesy!
My roommate's puppy, Jonesy, is a little over 5 months old now. I live with four other guys, so Jonesy gets more than enough attention, and maybe gets too much. In any case, he alternates between extremely active and totally lazy. This picture is as close as I can get to showing how crazy he can get. For some reason, he really loves playing with another roommate's keys...he's a little weird!

Like another poster, my Cyberliteracy book hasn't arrived yet. Regardless, it is clear that the advent of sites such as Flickr and deli.cio.us marks an era of deeper and broader user involvement. Although many people might be spending more and more time on the computer nowadays (and spending less time interacting face-to-face with their friends/family/etc.), I think that ideas like Flickr can help people retain or even build a sense of community. People can find others with similar interests in a new way, and the visual medium can bring more life or a sense of reality to those who wish it. Not only that, but photos can transport us to literally anywhere in seconds--anywhere is a tag away. If people want to compare styles of...shopping malls, let's say...the pictures can be found instantly if the tags are consistent.

That brings me to the other point I wanted to make: some language is specific to a culture or generation, as we all know. Since the most common tags are the ones that are shown first for a specific search, this might limit search results to a specific country or age group--but I cannot imagine that this limitation would be common. This could actually be an interesting topic to study, since I know that younger teens chatting online had useful code (like typing "6" to indicate that a parent was in the room--then the other teen would know to stop talking about certain topics). It would not be surprising if something similar happened with tags for websites of interest to young teens. I can imagine young teens using tags similar to shorthand text (like "hawt"). Cross-culturally, there exists the problem of different words for the same thing (British English: boot=American English: trunk). Perhaps this would spark adoption of other cultures' dialects, or even of learning about the other culture. This is very exciting to me.

Open to the general public

Bird on the OB pier 2006 01-05

(I made a separate Flickr account for this class from my personal account which has hundreds of my pictures on it)

I took this photo while visiting San Diego a little over a year ago. The bird was following me down the pier and just kept posing for my camera. I really like how this one turned out with San Diego (Ocean Beach) in the back ground.

I personally am a great fan of sites such as Flickr. I admittedly have spent many hours tagging my photos, looking at my friend’s photos and just generally searching through the millions of photos on the site. I think creating communities of images (such as Flickr) that can easily be sorted by a key word(s) is awesome. I am a very visual person and love to have a place where I can easily look up images; I put pictures on pretty much everything I do and before Flickr it could be hard sometimes to find that perfect image. I like that on Flickr you make the decision of who can look at your images, whether only by people you select or by everyone. There are definitely some pictures on my main Flickr account that I wouldn’t want just anyone to see. I am constantly going through my pictures for various reasons (and I have hundreds of them on here) so I love how easy it is now that I have almost all of my pictures tagged. I do think it is important for everyone to keep in mind that the images put on sights such as Flickr can easily be used by anyone for anything. As an amateur photographer I keep my prized photographs off sights such as these so they aren’t used without my consent. I also think it’s important to understand that you are voluntarily putting your photos on these sights and it is at your own risk.

It's fun to FLICKR!

n199100931_30582563_8350

From left to right it’s Beth, Jackie, and then me! The three of us have been best friends going on 12 years. We enjoy hanging out, shopping, watching movies, and traveling. For the past 5 years we’ve been going on a trip in March for a week, and this year the plan is to go to Miami, Florida, which will be nice to get out of this cold Minnesota weather for a while!!

Flickr is definitely something new to me. However, it was very user friendly. There were no problems uploading the pictures. Sometimes programs like this can be very technical and give you no directions on how to set up an account; this was not the case with Flickr. I will probably continue to use Flickr to organize the millions of pictures I have stored on my digital camera that I haven’t done anything with.

Folksonomies in general help individuals organize content and allow them to store them in various folders by using a system of classifying. It’s also a convenient way to save time and money for development. The user can send pictures to family and friends via email and save money on the cost to print the picture as well as the postage to get it to them. This is yet another great reminder of how the advancement of technology, in particular the Internet, has simplified the way of doing something.

However, I do see how some individuals might be a little torn and reluctant about such interactive sites such as Flickr. Laura Gurak, in chapter two discusses privacy and states, “ The more interactive a site, the greater the potential for privacy problems.? (46). From what I could tell, you can put just about anything on the Internet now of days for just about everyone to view. Thus, do folksonomy sites have regulations about what can and cannot be posted?

Tagged: folksonomy, week2, elizabeth, blog.

my third birthday

Here’s a picture of me at the height of my personal fashion genius. I truly believe my style has been increasingly boring since the day this picture was taken, however I am still fond of festive outfits, stripes and polka dots, hats, and bears. I've overcome my skepticism of tomatoes.

Tags/folksonomies are interesting to me as a reflection of how people understand things. If someone looked at my bookmarks on Del.icio.us and saw a number of sites related to explosives, it would make a difference whether they were tagged “revenge? or “dissertation?. Similarly, searching Flickr with the tag “booty? could lead to pictures of very different things, depending on whether the tagger was a pirate, a rapper, or my mom (try it, if you dare). I suppose this could be the sort of situation that leads Sturtz to note that searching with tags “encourages browsing and introduces a degree of serendipity.? (Communal Catorigorization p. 4) One can never know exactly what one will find.

Tags make use of simple language. I work with English language learners at the public library, and I see them struggle with Internet searches simply because their spelling and vocabulary aren’t advanced enough to describe what they’re looking for, and forget phrase searching or Boolean operators. So it seems that tagging is another way that the web is made more accessible and democratic, allowing untrained/inexperienced people to not only create content, but also to construct ways for others to find what they’ve posted, and find other people that think in similar ways or have similar interests.

Images on the internet are a striking example of speed and reach. Gurak talks about visual reach (Cyberliteracy, p. 35), which is an idea that strikes me as being more true of Flickr or image-centered sites than ones like Del.icio.us. I can see images from New York or Iowa or Japan. Geography doesn’t matter, and is often unknowable. Language barriers virtually (!) disappear.

Hey obviously my first try didn't work.

So here is my final try.
DSC00991

I hope that works!

Hello everyone!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/70096484@N00/368598009/

Hey I hope this works, I couldn't re-size the image, but anyway, I love taking photos! On my journey throughout Europe, I was able to see so many amazing things, and catch many of them on film. (Well not really, but close enough.) I posted this one because it was one of my first trips after I arrived. My roommates and I took a 14 hour overnight train to Split, Croatia, and it great. Truthfully I really didn't really know what Croatia was about before we arrived, but wow, the beauty is flowing everywhere in Croatia. I captured this sunset after our island tour on the mopeds we rented. It was absolutely stunning. I hpe you enjoy some of my pics, a lot are posted on the facebook already, but I will be using flickr from now on to share my photos with my family and such. Hope all is well, Peace. Eddie

Privacy Priorities

Well this is the first time that I have ever put pictures containing my face on the internet. I put the emphasis on the "I" because there are quite a few that friends of mine have put on The Facebook and well, I don't want to be that jerk that refuses to let them tag me. However I chose to deal with The Facebook by having rather restrictive privacy settings turned on. No one can see pictures others have tagged of me unless they are already my "friend". I think I tend to lean towards being rather conservative with the information I give out on the internet.

I find one of the most fascinating aspects of this whole folksonomy thing to be the simple fact that people are willing to put a lot of information about themselves out there for the world to see. There seems to be a false sense of security around sites like Myspace and as I mentioned before The Facebook. It seems as though when some people find themselves in the realm of cyberspace, they forget the world around them is there at all. It is said that the two things people fear the most are death and public speaking. I find this to be rather feasible based on what I've seen in my life. Now either millions of people suddenly stopped fearing the ladder of the two or there is some sense of security that comes from the internet. Not seeing many people grabbing soap boxes and shouting about their lives on street corners or at public lectures it looks like there is something to this folksonomy thing.

Most people will argue that the reason we feel safe on the internet is the feeling of anonymity that comes with acting behind a pseudonym. However a pseudonym can only do so much to protect us. The greatest threat to anonymity on the internet is the amount of information people are willing to give out about themselves thinking "Well it's not my information, it's the pseudonym's.". If this were true we would not have so many creeps out there stalking children of course this also means we can track down those creeps (see every cloud has a silver lining:-). The sheer number of court cases revolving around Mysapce is a clear indication that anonymity is being lost often enough to matter.

Anyway, back to me finally putting myself on the internet... I put up some pictures from a trip I took to Europe over the summer specifically from my stay in Switzerland. I saw this rock and decided I had to climb it.

I climbed.

And here's the rest of the set.

By the way, if you ever want to have the most amazing vacation ever, I suggest staying at the Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald (no they didn't pay/encourage me to say this).

Flickr > Myspace

Me

I took a picture of my computer area meaning to have that be the picture that I post here, because I'm always interested to see how other people like to have their computer area organized, but I think if I had to choose between knowing what someones computer area looks like or what the person looks like, I'd rather know what the person looks like. This picture is of me on Christmas morning.

My original title was going to be Flickr > Facebook, Myspace, but in all honesty I have never used Facebook. The Flickr interface is easy to use, and doesn't clutter the screen like Myspace. The use of folksonomies in a website meant for photo sharing is a good idea. I never liked Photobucket because of its organization, but the way in which Flickr allows a person to search through everyone's images by tags that they added themselves leads me to believe that I will continue to use Flickr.

I had never heard of deli.cio.us, but after browsing through the site, I find that it is more useful than most search engines. I realize that google utilizes folksonomy, but it doesn't completely ignore keywords and use only folksonomy. Search engines, even google, are bound to give you trash results at least every now and then. Deli.cio.us on the other hand works differently than a search engine, and may be a good site to use when a search engine doesn't find what you are looking for.

Flickr Free

Key West
This picture is actually a culmination of two interesting things, and I happened to be there at the right time. While I personally do not think it looks outstanding on the Internet, in person it is by far my favorite picture. I actually earned a purple ribbon at the MN State Fair with it. It is taken at the Fort Zachary Taylor State Park on the South side of Key West. The fort itself is interesting, but there happened to be a sculpture contest the weekend we were there. I ended up taking a picture at the right spot to make it look like a very interesting picture.

While my Cyberliteracy book is in the mail, I feel like I understand folksonomy from the reading and what I know. One interesting thing that I see is in Flickr, it is simply pictures. It would be hard for me to sit on Flickr and keep clicking on tags, without reading more. I had never heard of Flickr until today, but I think Facebook is a superior to Flickr in the folksonomy, as it has information about people, and events, with pictures included, while Flickr is pictures alone. While it is great that people can share pictures and look at other peoples' pictures on Flickr, I would call it a very basic tool now that we are well into Web 2.0. Devices like Wikipedia are much more advanced to me, when you can pick up related information, and learn new things that you possibly did not know. Because only one person decides each tag, I noticed that when you click on your own tags, in my case Minnesota, because people took all their pictures in one spot, I ended up with 50 pictures from the same girl's album. So, to me it is the opposite of Wikipedia, where many people come together to make conclusions. I think that Flickr, while interesting to look at, is much easier to lead you astray from what you are finding than other, more advanced, devices. I intend to not use Flickr again after this class, both because I initially do not like it and I do not need another folksonomic addiction on the Internet.

Tag Sale

Cameron

This can be found at my Flickr site:

Hello everyone!
This photo is one I took of my nephew. Though it seems like yesterday, he is now 18! He was the first grandchild on both sides of the family, so you can imagine how spoiled he could have become. However, he's a gentle giant (about 6'3") and very witty, though you have to warm up to him sometimes to find that out. I wanted a photo of the pepper from the plant I grew from seed (new for me) this winter--but it was not to be. Maybe later.

Flickr was a new discovery for me. I forage for images at Yahoo and Google from time to time to create interest in flyers and posters for work. I try to keep a backlog of interesting images, but sometimes have to search for subject matter. A subject search on Flickr for 'babies' brought up some interesting choices, many of them not babies--but that is what I am guessing the inexactness of the folksonomy Sturtz addressed.

I have to confess using the photos of other people I have harvested from the Internet has sometimes given me pause. I even asked University Relations about this matter--using Internet photos for posters. They did not seem to have a problem with it, though, which surprised me.

What I liked about Flickr was the opportunity users had to create a point of view without having to create their own blog. I sometimes worry about all the lonely blogs out there--open diaries without readers--or too many readers demanding updates. There were topical photos, such as the Devon oil spill, and the chance to add commentary. It would have been an interesting site to see when Katrina hit the deep South--both photos and commentary. I think that is the power of some of this technology, as we have been hearing lately--finding news even the news doesn't know is news. This also goes along with Gurak's point (Cyberliteracy, Chapt. 1) that the Internet creates opportunities whose "centers are everywhere, and margins are nowhere."

I also thought that Gurak's assertion that most Internet sites are U.S-centric, and if you want to go deeper, white male centric was interesting. I'm not in the habit of surfing sites in languages I don't understand, so I had no way of knowing it that was the case. I have to differ with her opinion that cable is a wasteland (I think she meant in the community service sense though). We cut our cable recently to the basic basic, and I am mourning the loss of several shows deeply--almost to the point of wearing a black armband. I think if community access production values were better, more people would watch it. It is like the Internet. You can have the most interesting IDEA for a show/website in the world, but if you have poor sound/poor visuals, bad direction/bad flow, monotone talent/uninteresting text, who will want to stay tuned? I think design is so underrated in just about everything.

That's why built-in design, like Movable Type and Flickr is so exiting for techno-plebes like me. If you simply plug in some information, you get this personal richness. People are understandably careful these days about images and identity. But there is something incredibly personal about an image you experienced (if you took the photo, you had to be there, right?) and value. I think sharing them, and being able to share them is a gift.

January 24, 2007

Slightly Surprised

Harry Carry

This photo is of my friends and myself when visiting Chicago in the summer. I enjoy it mainly because of the city itself but the statue is of Harry Carry one of the great baseball broadcasters. I love playing and watching baseball so this photo really helps define who I am.

It is amazing when using Flickr how instantaneously you can connect yourself with a wide network of people. I am also surprised I was able to do this assignment with very few doubts about what I was doing. Folksonomy, as I understand it, allows users to create their own community by allowing them to decide what is important or relavent in classifications. To be able to classify and re-classify items we are can draw up our own social definitions of objects, words, or in Flickr's case, pictures.

I really enjoy the concept of allowing users to create communities based on their own preferences and ideas. As I stated previously the ability to connect with others who may identify with you is immediate and extremely beneficial. Who knows how many networking opportunities you may enevitably use with finding others with a similar interest.

My only question on the system itself is the overuse of classification of objects. If there are too many definitions for items are we decreasing the value of the current words used to define our surroundings.

My Flickr

In Chicago

This is a photo from my last New Year's Eve, in Chicago. A friend from Paris came in the US to visit me and we decided to spend a few days in Chicago. We had absolutely no plans to celebrate the new year and by chance, someone that I met randomly in the bus invited us to a party. The place was a warehouse, in the middle of nothing, and there were hundreds of people. We had the big surprise to find an almost professional music studio upstairs in that place and this photo was taken. There were also many keybords, drums, and as you can see, many guitars.

I heard of the Flickr for the first time when a friend of mine asked me if she could put a picture of me on her Flickr page. I had no idea of what she was talking about so she showed me her photos, and I spent a few hours (!) going from pictures to pictures, on different people pages. However, I never created an account after that, and I never thought about that before this assignment. The concept of uploading, tagging, classifying and sharing photos may be good, but even if a have a lot of photos, I am still very old fashioned and I like to make them printed and to look at them in a real album.

Once again, I am not certainly sure that I completely got the concept of Folksonomy, but I think I have the main ideas. I agree with many people in the sence that I like seeing Internet as a more and more democratic place, in the hands of the users, but I still have a small doubt. As Sturtz says : "classification inherently carries social, political and economic implications", and "the democratic approach of a folksonomy avoids many of the ethical and political concerns of centrally imposed systems". However, refering to Gurak (I don't find the page again, I'll put it here soon), we have to keep in mind that Internet users often belong to the same social or economic categories and that a lot of categories are not represented. In conclusion, I don't think that we can speak of a real democracy, as a lot of voices are not represented. Hum, I don't know if that was very clear...

Flickr Foto Phun!


http://www.flickr.com/photos/89683495@N00/368326558/

Here's a pic of the moon on a cold, clear night.
Flicker is pretty interesting. I'm a member of a photography forum that just has different threads or catagories for animals or landscapes etc. It's fun sharing my photos with others from around the world. I received good feedback from people when I've uploaded pics.

Aside from the Folksonomy angle, I've been hesitent to use this type of site or others for photo storage. I worry that the site will change its policy or cease to exist and I will lose a wealth of pictures. This is a big question mark for people who shoot digital pics. I currently store my pics on my computer and an external hard drive. I also print out most of the ones that stand out. But a number of accidents could cause me to lose my pics forever. A friend that stores his pictures on a archive website has complained that the pics that he downloads from his site seem to have degraded noticably. What to do?

It's an interesting site. I spent a little time searching around and found a lot of great pictures. I even tried to do a search for the tag line that I used for my moon pic. I couldn't find it. There were countless pictures of the moon. It's exciting to think that I could type any word that comes to mind and see a massive amount of different pictures. A person could type in different word combinations in an effort to find what they need. They don't need to search through individual categories and hope they can find what they need. If I wanted to find a picture of a moose in the snow, I'd search for the corresponding tag words. If there is such a picture that someone took and tagged with those words, I would find it. The results of your search is heavily dependant on what people choose to tag their photos with. The possible variety seems limitless.

I might start using this site. I enjoy sharing my pictures and really enjoy seeing other people's work.

Question, how do you post your pic in your blog entry? I couldn't figure out how to do it.

Folksonomies: Classification for the People, By the People

Folksonomy is yet another cyber creation loosely defined with great depth and application purposes within our daily lives. For college students perhaps the greatest use of folksonomies accompany the obsessive routine checks of Facebook. Most information added to a Facebook profile will categorize you according to our socially created tags and/or groups.

For my blog I will be providing commentary on Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy by David Sturtz and including a picture from Flickr tagged North Dakota.

I believe Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy is a “must read three times? article in order to gain understanding and clarity to the topic of folksonomy. It is complex how the folksonomy becomes a cyclical process where we the people create our own classification, only to be converged with the classification of others, only to be broken down further to using the most useful applications. So my question becomes are the people always in control of the folksonomies they create?

If I create a folksonomy I instantly become part of a group or community. The article discusses there are social, political, and economical implications to belonging to these created folksonomies. I personally and professionally would appreciate belonging to less folksonomies to avoid being improperly classified.

While reviewing the article the following questions came to mind:
Are folksonomies really the most efficient and effective way of classifications? Was this just a community focused application created to provide people with the most resources and power? Essentially are we simply the communities we create or belong to? Will internet communities continue to flatten or will there be a need for a revised hierarchical classification system?

I found the discussion regarding the Google bomb the most interesting discussion point. I am in marketing so the fact that companies use folksonomies as a catalyst for free advertising is not only creative but holds ethical implications. My question to the class is whether you think the “Google bomb? as described under the heading Google, page 3, of the article is an ethical approach to advertising?

In conclusion I believe the folksonomy is yet another term that supports that the internet is becoming more flat. Folksonomies place us in the same communities as people world-wide crossing all barriers and being created and controlled by the people.

In the January 22, 2007 edition of Time magazine Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO of Internet Society, stated the following:
“Open standards and collaboration, rather than top-down or centralized governance, have ensured that the Internet’s development remains in the hands of those who know most what they need.? (Amour, 2007)
I believe that this article holds true that the internet will continue to use resources such as folksonomies to maintain this flatness and furthered development.

Continue reading "Folksonomies: Classification for the People, By the People" »

Flickr...Connecting Us

At Canal Park

While not being a member of Flickr, I have heard of it and have looked at friends pictures. I find it very interesting that friends are able to share their lives with people from around the world.

Anywho, this picture is from Canal Park in Duluth, Minnesota. I live in Superior, Wisconsin which is about five minutes away from Minnesota. During the winter break I returned home and we went to Duluth and experienced the common sights and sounds of Duluth. For everyone who has been up there I think that you all agree that this area is one of the most beautiful in Minnesota and for those of you who have not had the chance, I urge you to visit Duluth, stand on the hill and look out over Lake Superior. It is quite a sight to see.

I find it very interesting how public the internet has gotten. I have never heard of the term 'Folksonomy' but it makes perfect sense. We can learn everything about someone by looking through their Flickr or even Facebook photos. I've noticed that the internet does more storytelling through pictures and tags. I have had friends have party pictures up and they told the story of the whole party. This type of media has effected much of the print media who struggle to attract an audience that is willing to read instead of look at pictures.

While it is interesting to look at a person's life through photos there is always the potential for people who are looking for much more. However, with the ongoing attempts of security hopefully we will feel more secure and places like Flickr and Facebook will be more safe to visit and post.

Flickr.com

Congratulations!

So instead of doing my other homework for my other classes, I was so intrigued with Flickr.com that I spend way too much time looking at all the pictures. I used to use Webshots as a photo center, but I was frustrated too many times using it that it wasn’t worth it for me anymore. The picture is of my family when we went down to Alabama and Florida at the beginning of the fall semester to watch and celebrate my brother graduating from Flight School in Fort Rucker, AL. We then went to Panama City Beach for the rest of the week and enjoyed ourselves while in the sun. It was such a fun time because I love spending time with my family. I don’t get to do that much anymore because my brother is over in Germany preparing for Iraq and my sister just moved out to Jackson Hole to be a ski bum so we see each other very rarely so this trip was a lot of fun.

Like I sated before, this was my first time using Flickr and I loved it. It was a great way to view numerous different pictures using tags. As stated in Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy, “a folksonomy is the complete set of tags—one or two keywords—that users of a shared content management system apply to individual pieces of content in order to group or classify those pieces for retrieval? (Strutz, pg 1). Because of this new concept (new to me) it was much easier to find what I needed now and I will only benefit from tagging in the future. I feel as though these websites such as Flickr.com can really help people through times where a fire might destroy their home or office, or even more common there computer crashing and losing all of their photos. I, myself take way too many pictures and the thought of them destroyed makes my heart sink because you can not replace memories. However, I feel as though ANYONE would be able to look at the pictures even with the privacy setting, but it is just not this website, it is anytime that one logs onto the internet.

However, as people have already mentioned technology has really changed within the past 5 years. In my marketing class, just today we took a poll on how many people still had cameras that needed film. I was not surprised that 100% of my class had a digital camera. I feel my generation is the booming generation of the reliance on technology and I am still in the process of transferring and accommodating to my parents as well who didn’t really hop on the bandwagon for digital cameras. I still like to be able to grasp my pictures, show whomever and be able to add a few comments or stories about each picture and with online photo albums, it takes that togetherness away.

So this is Flickr

My Busch

Maybe I'm a bit ignorant of certain online things, but I had actually never heard of Flickr before this class. Okay, so it's just another photo sharing site. No big deal.

Anyway, I mentioned in my introductory post that I'm a huge Cardinals fan, so this picture ought to prove it. This is a cell phone picture I took back in August 2005, the last time I was ever at the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Since then, the stadium was torn down and a brand new one was built in its place. Of course, that makes this picture pretty special to me since I'll never have another opportunity to take one like it again. I have pictures of the new stadium in my Flickr account too.

I believe these "folksonomic" websites as described by Sturtz in the article are natural evolutions of organization and the technologies people have created to make that easier. Flickr may seem like a modern, high tech idea, but it's not like the concept of taking and organizing pictures is a new one. Anyone could take a bunch of pictures on film, get them developed, label them, and put them away in albums or scrapbooks according to those labels without the use of computers or internet. The difference here is the ease of the process and the degree of cyberliteracy involved. Miore and more, people are getting used to working "completely within a digital text" (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, 19), so who knows, perhaps within the next couple generations or so, people will forget about analog modes of organization and rely entirely on computers for this kind of work. Just as an observation though, even something like Flickr isn't totally independent of a human factor. As easy as it makes it to instantaneously file away and bring up pictures under specific keywords, the site isn't going to come up with those keywords for you. Unless the user tags his or her pictures with specific, descriptive words, Flickr's organizational functions are essentially useless.

Something else that Flickr offers that would be beyond traditional scrapbooking is the audience the users' pictures can reach. Unless you're a professional photographer, most likely no one beyond you and a small group of people you know personally will ever see any ordinary, nondigital pictures you take, but on a site like Flickr, pretty much anyone in the world could see them. On one hand, this is a wonderful way to anonymously share your photography with the world since no personal information is tied to those pictures, but at the same time it compromises your anonymity based on the kinds of pictures you post. This isn't just limited to Flickr. Sites like Myspace and Facebook provide places for people to share their personal information with the world, and even supposedly anonymous things like chatrooms and message boards can be used to talk about personal things. This isn't even taking into account the multitude of spyware and other things used by people to collect information about you without you knowing.

Wonderful world of flickr

Cancun

This picture was my view from my hotel room in Spring Break 05 in Cancun, Mexico. I had an excellent time! I remember all but about 4 hours of the trip. Not bad for that trip. I went with about 6 of my close friends and we all enjoyed our time there. The weather was really nice everyday. It was around 85 degrees everyday which didn't make it too unbearable. I have gone to Cancun 3 times now and the funny thing is that we stayed at the same hotel, the Royal Mayan, every year and you see the same people you saw there before and you also see the same DJ's in the clubs as well and they remember you!

Flickr is something really new to me. I hadn't even heard about the site before. Tying it in to our readings really goes hand in hand. In Sturtz article, Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy, the article talks about categorizing and classification. In practical terms, Sturtz goes on to say, a folksonomy is the complete set of tags-one or two keywords-that users of a shared content management system apply to individual pieces of content in order to group or classify those pieces for retrieval, (Sturtz, 1). This is exacly true with flickr. We use tags to put a name to the pictures that we have so we, and others, can identify them and retrieve them easier.

The first chapter of the book goes on to say that, survey after survey show that Internet users are at once excited and nervous about the potentials of this new technology. The issue of online privacy illustrates this point, (Gurak, 11). The first part of this chapter talks about privacy issues that arrise from using the Net. I know that privacy issues are a major thing when surfing the Net. It's strange to think that when you surf the net, someone could be watching what sites you go to, who you chat with, or even what you buy. I think that privacy issues have gotten a lot better since the induction of the Internet. I believe that more work needs to be done from hackers and identity theft which many people become the victim of everyday.

In summary, flickr is an excellent way for family members to reach others with there pictures if they live in different parts of the world, or even in the same state. It's a good way to get people connected in there experiences together with the different pictures they have taken. Flickr, among many other sites, really have a good way to categories the pictures in a way so it's easy to locate them with the millions of pictures that are out there. Online privacy is a big issue that effects everyone using the Net.

The Internet as a Commerical Realm

TRAV
This picture was taken from a show we played in Shakopee, at this teen center/venue place called The Enigma. I think this is probably the best picture I have to personify myself, because it shows me in an activity that I spend most of my time on. I love music and there's nothing better than playing shows so it’s a fitting picture.

When I think about sites like Flickr in regards to the reading for this week, I immediately take note of the fact that this website isn’t a commercially based one. Not only do they not sell anything, but there aren’t any ads anywhere on the site, which seems very rare for most of the sites that I see. However, they are still offering premium memberships for a price. Even though the website seems to escape a lot of the commerciality of the internet, it still appears anyways.

In regards to the Sturtz reading, I noticed how unique the “tagging? folksonomy is from the traditional top down method of organization. I never realized how much rhetoric there is involved in the creation of these systems. I’ve recently seen the tagging mechanism employed on a growing number of websites wihtout much of a thought, but now that I 'm a little more familiar with it, I realize it's because folksonomies are such a good system.

As for Gurak's Cyberliteracy, I was interested in the way she emphasized the need to think critically about the use of and whats available on the internet. Being an internet user for years, I don't really think too much about what kind of material is on the internet and it's effects of society. I was struck by her point that, along with cable television, in the early days of the internet people thought it would be a tool capable of immense teaching potential (as it is), but was moved in on instead by commercial interests. Although there are obviously many different types of educational sites along with any other kind of site you can imagine, the internet does definitely seem a commercial medium in most aspects. It's almost just as impossible to get away from advertisements online as it is from TV commercials or billboards. In a way, I suppose the internet is a kind of microcosm for the nation, as the country seems oftentimes driven mostly by commercial interests at the expense of others.

Flickr

Kevin Bacon

I just got back from the Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah. I had a great time viewing independent films- as well as taking pictures of good looking actors (like Kevin Bacon). I took a screenwriting class from UCLA in 2003, and have been working on a screenplay since. I am hoping to complete it this year (2007).

This was my first time using Flickr. I found it easy to use. Usually I use IPhoto on my MAC, but it's nice to have a 'library' online as well. While I would prefer to physically show off my photo albums, life gets busy and it's more convenient to view photos online.

It appears that the existing folksonomies connect online users on a whole new level.
"the social aspects and implications of these community-created systems are also of great significance and deserve exploration." (Sturtz, Communal Categorization:The Folksonomy, p. 8).
I welcome this type of online intimacy and community.

However, Gurak warns us, "The community and intimacy that the internet inspires can create an erroneous trust in any new virtual friends we may have made" (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, p. 39).
I have always understood that my anonymity and vulnerability is at risk every time I log on to the internet. After so many news stories of identity theft, online predators, and endless hacking, one would assume that online users are also aware of the dangers of the internet.

I believe The Folksonomies and Web 2.0 are proof that there is a new confidence in online users. Not only are we able to learn upgraded applications, we are also open to the
recent “democratic approach? that “avoids many of the ethical and political concerns of top-down, centrally imposed systems.? (Sturtz, Communal Categorization:The Folksonomy, p. 4). We are becoming a collective online society.

Taking a minute to enjoy life!

In a resturant in Costa Rica

Continue reading "Taking a minute to enjoy life!" »

January 23, 2007

Exploring Flickr

JOY

I’ll always remember my trip to Laos/Thailand. We visited villages that were five- six hours up the mountains and there, you will encounter a whole new world. Children are running around in dirt roads, homes are made out of hay and all the men and women are out in the fields. This picture particularly makes me happy. We brought toys and clothes to everyone and this picture showed a sense of joy to the children, whom I learned to love during my two week stay in the mountains.

I have recently heard of Flickr but honestly, I had no idea what was offered through the program. I imagined pictures and something similar to photobucket. I found it to be quite interesting because it offers a lot more features and it is very simple. I found my way around quite easily and I think I will definitely use it more for storing pictures and sorting them out. Flickr cites folksonomies which is “tags—one or two keywords—that users of a shared content management system apply to individual pieces of content in order to group or classify those pieces for retrieval.“ (Sturtz, Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy, p. 2) I think this is a wonderful way of organizing and also gives you an idea of how folksonomies plays a role for other search engines such as google.

Most of my pictures are stored in files on my computer but incase of a computer breakdown, I’ve considered transferring my pictures online which may also be easier and the use of tags would be useful in searching for particular pictures. Flickr definitely is a way where one can communicate through images because they are “capable of recognizing and engaging substantive issues along with the ways that minds, sensibilities, and emotions are constructed by and within communities whose members communicate through specific technologies.? (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, P. 9)

Flickr and the reading

http://www.flickr.com/photos/95451347@N00/366620379/


This is a picture of me and a couple friends of mine on top of a mountain in the smokey mountains in Tennessee. We went on a backpacking trip there immediately after finals spring semester of '06. I am standing in the middle with the white hat on because it was quite cold up there. The link is to the rest of my pictures.

To be honest I had heard of Flickr before this assignment but had no idea of it's capabilities. I had seen it on a few of my friend's livejournals and hadn't thought much of it a the time. After looking into it further, I can see the immense possibilities of it (also the immense amount of time spent on it). I really thought that the features such as tagging or the map feature were highly intriguing. To be able to see where people are from and see their pictures where taken just sounds revolutionary.

After looking over the Flickr website and thinking about my own personal experience with it, I found many issues that the book brought up within the website. In regards to my personal experience, "we really need to understand not just how to use the techonology but how to live with it, participate in it, and take control of it." (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, p. 11). What could be a better example of this than Flickr. A website that's sole existence is based upon people contributing to it as a whole.

The book states that the functional units of internet communication are, "speed, reach, anonymity, and interactivity" (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, p 29). It would be quite obvious that all of these terms would be tied to Flickr and I think that someone has already used this quote but I wanted to speak about it further. The largest issue I can see regarding Flickr is that it cuts away at peoples anonymity with the photo tagging system, the maps, and just the site as a whole. While there are many ways to prevent photos being viewed by others and other various security systems I don't see many people bothering with them (case in point, me). At the same time I'm sure it can lead to new levels of anonymity with misleading or misrepresented photos. "The community and intimacy that the internet inspires can create an erroneous trust in any new virtual friends we may have made" (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, p. 39). Enough about the negatives I still do have a positive opinion that this website and it's features.

As a sidenote I enjoyed the comment on page 19 regarding the fact that interactiveness of Jesse Ventura's may have played a crucial role in helping elect him. Gotta love tying class concepts in with Minnesota trivia.

January 22, 2007

where the magic happens

Study, from northwest corner by bookcases

This my study at home, where I do most of the teaching for this class. If you click the image, it’ll take you to my flickr account, where you’ll see that I’'ve used the ‘notes’ function to add a lot of information to the photo. It’s also part of a larger set that I made for a colleague who is doing research on the ways people set up and use their personal workspaces. (If you’re interested in participating, click here.) I also use flickr sets to teach how-to presentations and direction writing in my technical communication courses. Here’s one in progress on how to make guacamole. These are just a few of the things you can do with flickr.

Dale made a very good point about flickr and intellectual property. Applications like this one do make it easier to steal other people’s photographs, and that’s a very legitimate concern. However, there’s also a sizable community that uses flickr because they believe in contributing photos to a central image pool. This is why flickr allows you to choose copyright licenses for your photos. The default setting gives you full copyright protection, and they have procedures in place to report copyright violations. (As Dale points out, this isn’t an effective deterrent for everyone.) If you’re an open access / intellectual commons advocate, you can also choose a Creative Commons license to make it clear that it’s OK for people to use your photos as long as they don’t make any money, as long as they give you attribution, or a number of other constraints. We’ll be talking about this in detail later in the course, but I wanted to point this out now since the subject came up.

[BTW, you shouldn’t be using this post as a model for yours. Yours should be primarily about the reading. Dale’s and Julia’s are both good examples.]

Folksonomy - Flickr

IMG_1268

This is one of my favorite pictures. It is the dock in Seward Alaska. This summer we took a family vacation and went halibut fishing in Seward. Even though it was mid-June, the weather was misty and very cold - lots of long underwear. After reaching our fishing destination (2 ½ hours out to sea) on a small boat, we were able to fish. That is, those who weren’t too sick could fish. I am proud to say that I was the only one in my family who was able to cast a rod (and I don’t fish). Yes, I did catch a halibut (albeit a small one)! As my teenagers said, we paid a lot of money to get sick. Aahhh but the memories are priceless! When I use this image as a screen saver, it always puts a smile on my face. Too bad I didn't have the camera with me on the boat....

I haven’t heard of Flickr or del.icio.us before this assignment but what an incredibly easy way to circulate photos! The process was entirely simple although I opted for cutting & pasting the code. The folksonomy concept really ties in with Laura Gurak’s discussion on the Internet and it’s uses & understandability by the users. It’s not just understanding how the tool (software) works, but what are the users doing with it, is it being used, and will it require upgrades? Being a light Internet user, I’ve used Google in the past to find images for reports and projects. If I had known about Flickr, my options for digital photos would have increased. This would have been a benefit if the images were tagged with common captions though. For example, I was looking for a photo of an Amaranthus flower. The tag of flower would not have worked for me (too time consuming).

I believe tools such as Flickr are new opportunities for new users to gain confidence and experience on the net. Most people I know that spend time on their computers do so for photo projects. A majority of them do not use computers heavily at work either. I think the internet is a great resource for storage. The choice for public and personal are there. As with everything, discretion and common sense must be used as well.

As Sturtz remarks, “the social aspects and implications of these community-created systems are also of great significance and deserve exploration.? Communication is truly fast and has reachability as Gurak states. We can impact the world faster than ever before. Family and friends are informed immediately of events.

January 21, 2007

My Friend Flickr?

Minnie on the steps

This is a picture of my favorite cat and his name is Minnie. We got Minnie as a kitten from a friend of my wife’s that worked with her at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) in Rochester, MN. That's how he came about his name. Minnie’s breed is Maine Coon Cat.

Flickr is an interesting folksonomic web site in that Flickr allows people to store, categorize (tag), and share their digital photographs with friends, family, and the entire world (Sturtz, Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy , p. 2). I had never visited or heard of Flickr until this assignment. Flickr is one of those web sites that screams out for ones understanding of cyberliteracy. “Cyberliteracy means voicing an opinion about what these technologies should become and being an active, not passive, participant? (Gurak, cyberliteracy, p. 27).

I have thought myself cyberliterate, however, most of my thought has centered on Internet security concerns and it is easy for me to see how a site like Flickr makes the theft of intellectual property so easy. Someone may post a killer photograph on Flickr and with great speed and reach grant anyone in the world access to it. The owner may not think much of a photograph's commercial value, however, someone else my see great commercial value in a photograph and use it for personal gain without the owner ever knowing about it. Sure, Flickr has Community Guidelines and a Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy. I don’t think those policies will keep people that want to steal someone else’s intellectual property at bay. I posted my photographs to Flickr as private and available to friends only.

Our reading about speed, reach, anonymity, and interactivity gave me cause to think about the lack of gatekeeping (Gurak, p. 35) and the lack of automated protection of intellectual property on folksonomic web sites like Flickr. Making me wonder, is Flickr really my friend?