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April 30, 2009

YouTube, the next to be distroyed

As I have experienced the wiki, twitter, facebook and other internet communication avenues I keep thinking that they all get wrecked in a short period of time. Up until a short time ago, I had not even heard of twitter or facebook and now they are mainstream. With the popularity of these sites, it is a natural draw to advertisers and big corporate giants to invade every household with their ads, messages and promotions. In the article by Joly, it states that there were 13 million watching videos online in 2005 and that number is projected to grow to 413 million in 2010. This is just another target for ad giants to take the most popular videos and insert a commercial before it to get the message across. There is no way to control it, but I fear that is the way we are heading.

On a more positive note, YouTube and other video cast sites have tremendios upside and can be used for positiive applications also. Think of the university setting that we are in right now. Can you picture having every lecture or lab produced online so that you can go back and watch it again or for the first time with online courses. This would save the University a significant amount of money and would draw more students that are non-traditional to get back to college. Another great application could be used by companies when training new representatives, for demonstrating new and exciting technologies or for conducting short updates for employees. These are positives that it can be used for along with making a nobody somebody overnight.

Jenny Spadafora on using social media professionally

Remember Jenny Spadafora, one of our guest speakers from earlier this semester? She had a lot to say about integrating your professional identity with social media. She recently did a more formal talk on for the Intuit Women's Network, and was kind enough to make it available to us here.

April 24, 2009

Are we someone?

We’ve twittered, wikied, and indulged in Delicious. But even though we’ve trudged onto the Internet grounds, we are nobodies, according to Garfield. To be someone, and here we are ‘someone’ as a class, we should be uploading videos onto YouTube. We are though the audience of YouTube. We are using the videos that are uploaded by other individuals. Through the Wired reading, I finally realized that YouTube as an application is costly. It is worth so much. And although the creators, or owners, try to manage the content, it is very hard to do. So to me, it seems as though YouTube is sort of at a point, where copyright is still a problem. But yes, YouTube is a great entertainment destination online.

The first time I heard of YouTube, back in high school, it sounded ridiculously silly. Why would anyone want to post videos of their self, if there were people preaching about not putting pictures online? It didn’t seem like a smart thing to do. But, that thought soon subsided when interesting videos kept popping up into conversations. Garfield was correct when he said the videos pop into conversations. I’m sure we’ve all been told by friends, “hold on, you HAVE to watch this!” And we all sit around a 13” screen and stare. Waiting to laugh, or see what’s so special. Nowadays when I hear that request, I expect something really funny or really interesting to be shown to me. It’s really a fun way to get a conversation going also. The conversation could last for many minutes after the video plays, to many days later. Shall I mention, “I like turtles?” The bad part is, sometimes a few of your friends may love the 57 second clip so much, that they keep replaying it. I’m just not one of those people who have the patience to re-watch a video, but some people are.

In using YouTube as a part of our project, it's going to enhance our site so much more. Even though we don't upload video's of our work, at least we are attaching and using the app for our benefit. :D

April 23, 2009

Tube Boob - That's me!

I am a huge fan of YouTube. Not so much of the examples Garfield cites in his article in Wired but of the endless hours of illusive Warner Brothers originals that exist (probably illegally) on the site. My husband and I miss the violent cartoons we grew up with and we insist that our son should grow up knowing the wisdom of Wile E Coyote and Bugs Bunny. To that end, instead of watching "My Friend Rabbit" and "Vegi tales" (which my son also loves) on TV during breakfast on Saturday mornings, we hook up the laptop to our kitchen TV and he watches good old Looney Toons. According to those who disagree with violent cartoons, my husband and I are breeding a serial killer - or at the very least a bully. Despite our effort to corrupt our son, we have a sweet kid who has absolutely no understanding of gravity.

That said, I will admit I miss the "Evolution of Dance" and watched it tonight for nostalgia. Then I read the rest of the article. The point Garfield made that stuck out the most to me was, "Another possibility is that potential litigants are simply being patient. They understand YouTube's value to them as a marketing tool and are waiting for a technological solution" (Garfield, 2006. Page 4). This was the point I was trying to make when we posted about copyright and fair use a few weeks ago. Copyright infringement doesn't always have to be detrimental to the artist! Geez people, let's try a glass half full attitude. The music sharing sites are some of the greatest examples of how people are sharing their music to be discovered - the more views the better, please pass it along.

The same is true for YouTube. People post for attention, to be discovered, to showcase their talents. Because as reality TV has proven, America's got Talent and no matter what talent that is, so long as it has an audience it is worth sharing. Some people post to share their views with others and some do it for advertising. In a competitive economy like we have today, I am shocked and amazed that people haven't started posting video resumes for companies to magically find. I would imagine using YouTube to apply for a position might at least get your resume reviewed at Google...if great minds think alike and the recruiters could find you!

That brings me to the topic of Weinburger's Everything is Miscellaneous. Weinburger speaks casually about the order in chaos and how tags and folksonomies work for today's online masses, but he doesn't make a solid connection between the tag and the keyword search. Tags are successful only when someone else refers to an object/item/document the same way you do. For example, in our site search I ran into a number of articles about the republican national committee when I searched for RNC. The same goes for PCD which is a process challenge device in my world, but the first entry in Wikipedia under the acronym is "Partido Conservador Demócrata, a political party in Nicaragua". If I tagged a photo or video as "PCD" based on what I know the acronym to mean; I imagine there would be a great many disappointed searchers looking for photos or video of the Pussycat Dolls.

My point is that in order for tags to mean anything and be of any use, they have to have meaning common to all users - and this is where folksonomy comes in to play and the multiple tag concept or the "semantic web" (Weinburger 194) - when more than one tag match is used to generate the best search results. The example Weinburger gives is the results for London versus the results for London, England versus the results for London, Ontario (Weinburger 194). Same goes for a search for sterilization in Flickr or YouTube - look it up, I dare you! You will find maybe a photo of an autoclave or two if you page through the results, but for the most part it is surgical procedures on animals. Let me reiterate here that my job is medical device sterilization - and as far as I know bacterial rights hasn't become a "hot button" issue yet. Support bacteria, it's the only culture some people have!

Youtube & Copyright

I think YouTube is a great resource for gathering and disseminating information to others through videos. However, I also don't think many people see it as this type of resource. I don't know many people who use YouTube purely for educational purposes or to gather information, and instead, it seems more like a place for people to pass the time watching funny videos or posting their own. Personally, I'm not much of a YouTube user. I think making and posting videos would take up a little too much of my time, but obviously there are plenty of people out there that love to do this kind of stuff. What many people don't realize is that YouTube is just as vulnerable to copyright issues as any other medium. Because people are using it more for fun and entertainment as opposed to gathering and sharing information, I think copyright issues are extremely overlooked on YouTube. I personally never thought much about copyright when it comes to YouTube simply because I never thought of it in terms of serving educational purposes. Garfield's YouTube vs. BoobTube definitely touched on these copyright infringements on YouTube, and I think it's an issue worth doing something about. Intelligent works need just as much protection as tangible ideas and products, and YouTube is no exception to this. Perhaps having a Creative Commons license just like Flickr would be able to quickly and efficiently solve this problem.

YouTube and the flea market!

I learned a lot about YouTube over the course of this semester. I was working with Liz on the emerging technologies section of our wiki and I got to write about YouTube. In the past I had used YouTube mainly to watch video clips that friends had posted on facebook or myspace. When I looked further into YouTube technology and the actual online force it has become, I was blown away. YouTube started as an idea shared between three people, some articles say two while others mention Jawad Karim as the third founder, who wanted to be able to easily share video clips. It is the American dream to think that ingenuity and creativity could lead to the fortune that these ex pay pal employees have achieved.

YouTube mainly started out as a web site for people to easily upload and share their videos using Adobe Flash Player. It ended up evolving into something that has changed the way we watch television, the way we educate ourselves, and the way we advertise. As Bob Garfield points out in his article, YouTube vs Boobtube:

"Lots of people can now watch themselves on sort-of TV, which is pretty fun in itself. The bonus is that others want to watch them, too. Third-millennium humanity has demonstrated an interest in sifting through millions of pieces of crap produced by total strangers to discover a few gems – some accidentally entertaining ("Boom Goes the Dynamite"), some breakout performances from the previously obscure ("Treadmill Dance"), and some explorations of a new art form crackling with genius (Ze Frank, Ask a Ninja, and the guys behind Loneygirl15.)"

YouTube is kind of like being at a giant flea market where you walk from stand to stand, sifting through the junk, while still having faith that you’ll find that rare gem. Sometimes you will find something offensive and keep going back to look at it even though you aren’t sure why and sometimes you’ll find something so cute you can’t stop watching it. I’ve learned that YouTube is also very helpful for educational purposes. I thought that the "In Plain English" YouTube clips were very helpful tools to understanding the new technologies we were to utilize in the class.

No Hollywood Budget Required.

I remember when I first stumbled across YouTube, my reaction was a mixture of horror and fondness. The horror came first because I could not understand what drove people to make such nutty videos, and than the fondness began to set in when I found a video to love. I thought it was a brilliant move when Google brought YouTube. Google will essentially make billions of dollars by simply providing enough bandwidth and site maintenance. The entire website is user generated content and there is plenty of space for advertisements. I know a few people who use YouTube or else Peer to Peer Networks exclusively for their entertainment needs-they haven’t watched television in months.

I personally do not think Television is going the way of the Newspapers for a few reasons. YouTube may be cool and addictive, but after awhile randomness gets annoying and people want more story/content/plot than a cute little kitten. Television programs understand their audience and have changed to meet their needs unlike traditional newspapers. Television Networks have begun to put either sample episodes or entire seasons on sites such Hulu and Fancast because they know people are spending more time online. Perhaps one day all Networks will broadcast exclusively on the Internet, but the concept of television will not die out. If anything, YouTube will extinguish before the fall of television.

While Television shows are formulaic, they have originality and a boat load of researchers working for them. Once a YouTube video idea becomes popular, hundreds of people suddenly start uploading videos of their cute little kittens. This is just one example, but I am sure everyone has noticed this trend where similar videos keep cropping up. Since the YouTube format has become instantly recognizable and frequently visited, many other websites (such as IMEEM) have copied the concept but trademark it differently. IMEEM does not only persuade existing YouTube users to their site, but have people post links in their YouTube videos. Television networks do extensive research on what an audience likes while YouTube users only have a few friends for feedback on their next video. No One can attribute YouTube’s success to one component. Yes it is cheap and there is lots of variety. Yet, all videos have an equal chance of getting thousands of hits.

April 22, 2009

Not a YouTube Rider

I have never really jumped on the YouTube bandwagon. Sure, it’s really cool; you can post your own videos or view other videos but I have never got into it. I will use it occasionally if there is a song I just heard and want to know who sings it or what the title is. A few weeks ago I used it because I was trying to remember how the Men’s NCAA Basketball championship game ended. All I had to do was search Kansas NCAA Championship game 2008 and poof there were 20 videos showing Mario Chalmers hitting a 3 point shot to send the game into overtime. Aside from YouTube being there to quell my curiosity, it honestly does not appeal to me. I don’t have videos that I want to post and I don’t like watching them. Well, let me rephrase that. It’s not something I will do in my free time. I don’t go to YouTube and say, “What new things were posted today?” However, I can understand its appeal to others. It provides a great outlet for getting information across. Like with the colleges that are using YouTube as a way to disseminate information about what’s happening on campus to students. This is largely discussed in the article Lights, Camera, YouTube, Action (Joly, 2007). I think it is a great idea for colleges to use it because the audience it reaches is very large. I believe the U has videos posted on its news page (I just don’t view them). All in all, YouTube can be a great resource to find information out and share information with others.

That said, there are some issues with YouTube. As mentioned in some of the posts before mine and surely in some of the posts after mine, there are copyright issues at hand here. That thought never crossed my mind until I read the article YouTube vs. BoobTube (Garfield). However, I think that many of the things that would be considered copyright may fall under the fair use category like Garfield was saying. I think a lot of it has to do with education as well. People who use other people’s work in their videos might not realize that they are violating copyright laws. Perhaps something like a Creative Commons license could work well here. I wonder if Creative Commons has tried to target YouTube at all.

April 21, 2009

Here comes YouTube

YouTube seems to be a place to post random videos that any ordinary people have created for purposes of entertainment. It's a place for people to gain popularity and a fan base. Hurley says that the company slogan is "Broadcast Yourself (Garfield, 2006)." Having said that, I would find it hard to imagine that there would be so many copyright issues. Making someone take down their video because of a song playing in the background seems like it's unfair. This could be a form of advertising that people might actually pay attention to. YouTube refused to sell ads attached to either end of a video (Garfield, 2006). This is on the premise that these ads acted like a TV commercial, interrupting the viewers experience. Just because someone came to watch a specific video, it doesn't mean that they want to watch advertisements before hand. If people are already there to watch, then you have their attention to anything going on in your video. As long as the work is used with good intent, it should be allowed. Companies using metadata that describes your video find related subjects is a bad idea. Right now it consists of only a few key terms that the user selects (Garfield, 2006). This means that the company could be negatively associated with a particular video that they are promoting. Since there isn't a way to monitor content unless someone requests that it is taken down, maybe you should have to submit your video to YouTube and they can decide if it it appropriate to post.

YouTube for Profit

YouTube certainly has its high points: insanely cute kittens, hilarious sports outtakes, tons of music videos (all officially licensed by the proper record companies) and randomness. Best of all, its free and open to the public. Well, sort of. As mentioned in YouTube vs. Boob Tube, there is a huge financial market within YouTube (Garfield). As a result, there are also a ton of rules regarding copyright. Irony of the day? One of the videos embedded in the article itself was removed due to "terms of use violation." It's hard to think about the fact that something as silly and fun as videos of sleepy kittens (also mentioned in YouTube vs. Boob Tube) is regulated, monitored, and may even be a source of financial gain.

Exposure? Sure. I think it's great that KSU got recognition for Assistant Professor Wesch's basement video on Web 2.0 (Joly). It even seems okay that KSU profited from said video. However, the whole Simpson's ordeal ($10,000. Really?) and similar events are absolutely ridiculous. Maybe copyright is such a huge issue because people don't understand "Intellectual Property" (as in Professor Logie's lecture). My hunch, though, is that big companies (record labels, broadcast networks, radio stations) are threatened by what seems to be an "open source" entertainment movement. As mentioned in YouTube vs. Boob Tube, 85 percent of college students watch videos on YouTube (Garfield). Plenty of them probably watch movies, too. (Once you get over the whole 6-part interrupted thing, it's quite satisfactory.) I can't imagine that YouTube will ever completely replace TV and movies, though. Until I can afford 20MBPS high-speed connections and a widescreen hi-def monitor, I will continue to watch the Twins (for free) on Channel 45. And, even though I streamed the new X-Men movie (an unfinished version that leaked) two nights ago, I am still going to see the finished version in theaters. Maybe we are at a turning point in entertainment as far as what people are willing to pay for, but I think that people will still see movies in the theater, watch certain shows on TV, and buy their favorite CDs. YouTube just gives people an excuse to be silly and creative with a webcam or video camera and questions the importance, and value, of entertainment in our society.

Reactions to Youtube

Youtube is one of my favorite and also most hated sites on the internet. I agree with many of the ideas in the videos and I do believe it can be a great tool for professional, amateur, and just everyday videographers to display their work or just videos they make to cure boredom.

However, the user base of youtube makes me hate it. It's actually not much different that a lot of other sites on the internet I guess. A bunch of people hiding behind the anonymity of a user name starting 5 comment page long fights about whether the band shown in the video has “sold out”. Or just making random comments on people's video blogs telling them they suck. I find the users on youtube are far more negative than almost any other site I've encountered, this is possibly because I use it more than a lot of other sties as well.

Also I thought the “Youtube vs. Boob Tube” article brought up a major issue inherent in youtube. Copyright and intellectual property infringement. In some ways I agree with how youtube handles these issues and in other ways I don't, it's a lot like the discussion we had a couple weeks ago. I can see why youtube would take videos down when people upload a copyrighted movie in a 10, 10 minute clip form or other major copyrighted material, but I don't think its necessary for youtube to delete the sound from people's videos for playing a copyrighted sound in the background. To me thats like the issue with the documentary having to pay 10,000 dollars to have The Simpsons playing in the background. I think bands should be happy that someone just making a video blog or a video for fun decided to include their music. This could in turn lead to a larger listener base if someone viewing the video posts a comment asking what the song is, finds out, and in turn buys the music.

Youtube is definitely an important Web 2.0 technology though that I believe will only become more popular as digital cameras with video capabilities become cheaper and broadband internet expands even more than it already has.

April 3, 2009

Pictures and Copyright: Web two point Woah!

I thoroughly enjoyed my Flickr experience this evening. The application was easy to use, it was free, and I found some friends that use it too. However, since I was looking for mobile technology pictures, I found myself thinking – I could use my own camera and get a picture of my son watching YouTube and it would be the same caliber as many of the pictures I came across. After last week’s lesson about copyright I was almost offended when I discovered that two of my family members I found on Flickr used full copyright for all of their pictures. I can understand why some of the pictures are fully copyrighted; my husband’s aunt is practically a professional photographer. However, my best guess is she simply doesn’t understand that she has any option to not copyright or to conditionally copyright her images.

On the subject of copyright, I have a really cute kid and some of the pictures we have of him are priceless and belong on the cover of a magazine (I admit full bias). But there’s no reason I would object to being asked if someone could use them for educational purposes or for non-commercial endeavors. In fact, I would find it flattering. I kind of want to work with graphic design and CGI when I am done with school and actually have spare time, and if so – I would definately offer some samples under a creative commons license. Am I that weird or do people just not understand that this license involves? Full copyright on the internet just seems odd. For example, the internet is all about knowledge transfer, connection, and interaction. Copyright turns the internet from Web 2.0 to a museum: you can look, but you can’t touch.

As I draft this post I am watching WCCO news and a story about social networking just came on, see the link below. It is about a new "Skimmer" program that a twin cities company developed. It can help you keep up with all of your social networks. I find it ironic, because social networking applications were the answer to my being too busy to keep up with all of my friends – now I can’t keep up with my shortcuts for keeping up with my friends. It’s an enjoyably vicious cycle.

I constantly get comments from friends and coworkers about social networking application like, “a month ago when you mentioned Twitter that was the first I had heard of it – now it’s everywhere!” or “I have been using LinkedIn for a while, but I never realized it was considered a Web 2.0 application”. I can only imagine the technology my son will bring home with him from elementary school in the next 5-10 years.

I am still frustrated with Web 2.0 in a business sense. I suppose I can understand, since Web 2.0 is all about sharing and the medical device business is all about trade secrets. The field of sterilization; however, could greatly benefit from a little shared knowledge and those benefits would be passed along to the patient in the form of lower medical cost and higher quality medical devices.

Letterman just had a skit on about “sex-ting”. Seriously!?! New forms of communication are everywhere – on the radio the other day there was a story about people who talk like they text. I had heard we were on the verge of a “new orality” but I didn’t realize it was already here!


Not so easy

When using flickr this week, I kept thinking that this website has too much information and it is cluttered. This is a huge usability issue for me and I don't know how reliable the website is. Again, I have been having issues with the fact that anyone can post to flickr and can claim that the media is authentic or real. The other issue that I can with this site is that when you get specific in the search engine, it comes back as nothing found or gives suggestions of other phrases that also don't produce any material. This site is extreamly unfriendly for new users and frustrated me right from the start. In the usability 101 article that we reade a website must follow basic standards to pass the grade and they are:
Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?
Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?
Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design?
In evaluating the Flickr site, I feel that it is not so easy and fails almost all of the criteria above. It does serve a purpose to have a medium to share media and get information out there, but I just have that gut feeling of not trusting people.

I'm bringing 2 - point - 0 back....

Using Flickr made me reflect on all that we have learned about Web 2.0 technologies this semester. I thought back fondly of Mr. O'Reily, the first article we read, and how I didn't quite grasp what he was trying to say. But now his final words make complete sense to me:

"The competitive opportunity for new entrants is to fully embrace the potential of Web 2.0. Companies that succeed will create applications that learn from their users, using an architecture of participation to build a commanding advantage not just in the software interface, but in the richness of the shared data." (pg. 5).

This is what I experienced throughout the semester and this week with Flikr. Collaboration is the name of the game people, and the more we do it, the better these programs are. It is a cycle, a good one, if people do it correctly and understand the technology. I particularly like how easy it is to not have to worry about Copyrights on Flikr. After last week's articles I felt I would never be able to not violate some sort of copyright law. Flikr makes it very easy to avoid the hassle and brings people together through their shared work.

The technology itself is also very easy to use. By searching for full text or tags you can find any image that has been uploaded, by any person, anywhere. You can then see what the image is, what else the uploader has with it, and go from there. You can connect it to deli.cio.us like we have been doing, very easily. Basically, I didn't find a down side to Flikr. I just reviewed this other site writeboard.com for another online class I have and had to say whether or not I liked the site. It was basically an online word document that people could create, manage, edit, delete, and share with others. However, it wasn't any different or cooler than email. Flikr is another story. This is an easier way to upload images, share them, find them, use them, anything you would need to do with them in a safe and free environment.

I am really glad that a site like this will be able to help us enhance our wiki, and that we will know where the sources are coming from and that we are allowed to use them. This will give our audience the peace of mind that everything on the site is honest and put together well. What more could we want??

Surfing through Flickr

In order to mine the best photos using Flickr I am going to return to the week 3 reading of Connect! Surf Waves of Information. Zelenka highlights some great tips on page 124 for tagging:
1) Use individual words in addition to compounds for tags.
I can use the keyword of rnc in addition to other helpful key words like protesters, police, citizen, and journalists.
2)Use a lot of tags.
The more tags we use, the more helpful it will be for our fellow wiki workers to find the best images.
3) Use declarative tags that say what you're doing to do with this link.
If some of us already use Flickr to tag information we could also start using a personal tag toread, tostudy, towiki
as a way to distinguish information.
4)Use tags that tell you about the people involved in the page.
This is where we could give the photographer credit and keep that information organized and readily available.

I learned a lot about tagging when we had our week on Delicious but I think this review in Connect! is a helpful reminder about how helpful it can be to use tagging to collect these images on Flickr.

The Importance of Visual Aids

When it comes to ways to make a research-based presentation more readable and interesting, the use of visual aids is easily the fastest and easiest way to do this. Pictures are the most important part of any child's storybook, and it seems to me that we never quite grow out of that initial affection for the visual aid. In our case, the pictures are not only for entertainment purposes, but mostly are used to emphasize the points we are making, creating a very clear visual effect. For instance, even the most clearly written description of a large crowd of protesters in a stand-off with riot police cannot compare with a photograph that shows the amount of people, how the police are restraining them, and the raw emotion on their faces.
From the work I have been doing with Flickr so far, I would describe it as a very efficient way to filter through a massive amount of visual information. The fact that they are working with Creative Commons is even more exciting to me because it provides a media through which people with a need for this intellectual property can directly contact the photographers that are willing to share. It seems that Flickr has created the easiest possible way for people to share their photographs in a way that does not compromise anyone's rights to intellectual property.
I did have one problem, however. My topic has to do with undercover police and their affect on the republican national convention. While it would be great to have some visual aids, the police wouldn't be doing a very good job if their undercover officers were obvious enough for people to identify them and take their picture to upload to Flickr. A search for, "undercover police republican national convention" brought up one photo. I decided to remove "undercover" from my next search and filter through the photographs that I thought may be related, but I only came up with a couple more photos. While Flickr is a great tool, I don't think that there is a very good chance of me finding pictures of undercover police anywhere.

Flickr makes me think

Flickr provides pictures for our website. It helps create a non-boring environment for the readers, and it also helps site visitors see what the topic is about. Many site visitors may not be from the United States and may be somewhat confused about the RNC. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” (O’Reilly, p.295) During my journey through Flickr and Delicious, I saw pictures that I may never have described through words. For example, I came across the picture of the lone police officer attempting to arrest a demonstrator. In someone else’s mind, what would that look like by just reading off the page? Sometimes it’s best for the readers to see an image, and know that the writers are not just making up an event.
On the other hand, the pictures we choose must not be too limited. Limited, meaning, we don’t show preference to any one group at the RNC. For example, we don’t just show pictures of the demonstrators, the police officers, or the delegates, etc. We must show images of al groups equally, if it fits into our pages. I realized this while trying to search for pictures of bystanders. My page is on RNC’s impact on community: tension. I aimed to depict community through pictures, but flipping through the pictures, I saw that every group created a community of their own.
The different types of communities I saw were not the pictures I really wanted. I really was looking for pictures showing bystanders and observers looking confused or just showing the same expression; what I found were groups of people who stood up for their cause. The cause may have been to protest the RNC, maintain security, or whatnot. This means I either have to search deeper into Flickr for pictures showing community tension in bystanders in St. Paul, non-observers at home, or I have to rewrite my page. Do I focus on each community and their tensions with one another?
Coming back to Flickr and Delicious: O’Reilly identifies these two as social classification. (p.78) Apparently tagging was intended to make navigation easier on users, but as users tagged more, there is a growth and change through the tag word choices. This is seen in our Delicious tag cloud also. At the beginning some of us may have tagged pictures with “RNC 2008” then switched to the more used “rnc08.” It’s not wrong, it is a lot more helpful in consistency, but it is indication of change through us. Also, I’m really glad that Flickr has included the Creative Commons type pictures in the advanced search. This makes our lives a lot easier, knowing we can use the pictures without worries. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

Issues with Flickr & Images

Images can be used for a number of different things, and they can all serve multiple purposes. In our case, I think images should clarify our text and also make it more credible. Just as in newspapers or journalistic reports, images are used as a way to prove that the story is true – to further emphasize the point that is being made. Additionally, images can do a great deal to break up the monotony of straight text and add some visual entertainment to the page. This will be another important purpose of our images. I have already noticed some of our pages to be quite lengthy in terms of text, and visitors will not enjoy a page that has nothing but reading material. Though occasionally images are thought to ‘dumb down’ the text of a professional writing, our site needs images to portray the events that we are describing.

In terms of our previous discussions and readings, I think the two biggest issues we must cater to in our use of images are accessibility and copyright. People with a handicap or disability that may use a screen reader to view our site need to be able to understand the layout of the page as well as its content. Providing alternate text for our images will help make our page more accessible, and we will also have to determine where on the page it is best to place the images (Web Accessibility 101). They should be in a spot that makes the most sense and where it will correlate most to the text that it is describing. They should also have captions that explain the specifics of the image if necessary. As far as copyright goes, we will obviously need to get permission from wherever we take the image from, and give them credit as well. Flickr is a great database of images that we could take advantage of, and from what I’ve seen so far we are doing a good job of collecting appropriate images that will help us in building our site. (Creative Commons)

April 2, 2009

Flickr Just Right

Flickr is a great site to find multiple pictures that you are looking for on an event. According to the Style Guide, a home page should have four major elements:identity, navigation, content, and timeliness. We can use the images from Flickr to help give our page identity and most importantly relate to the content of our individual pages. We need to decide how to lay them out on the page appropriately for user friendliness. They should be descriptive in themselves to fit in with the topic that brought the reader there in the first place.

Going back to the topic of copyrighting, we will search only for images that contain a Creative Commons license. By using those images that are protected by Creative Commons licensing will allow use to use them with permission while still giving credit to its owner.

What rule of composition are we going to use in our design? We need one that will catch their eye and isn’t just a bunch of random information thrown onto a web page. Every item should have a distinct location and a reason for being placed there. They are there to help describe the events that we are trying to teach our readers about. Sometimes words aren’t enough especially if you are a visual learner.

We need to use imaging software such as Photoshop to help make the images as clear as possible, so they don’t look tacky or detract from our page. The colors also need to be properly adjusted to “pop” and catch their eye so that they either click on it or read about it.

Flickr Limitations

I created my Flickr account this past weekend. Since I did not have a Yahoo! account, I had to create one of those too. I didn't realize that Flickr was actually a part of Yahoo!; I thought they were affiliates. Once I had uploaded my required photos, I began searching for images relating to my topic: legal issues in the pre-RNC raids. My initial search showed promising results. There were over 27,000 images relating to "RNC" and 6,520 of those were Creative Commons licensed. When I began looking through the pictures, though, I realized that most of them showed police squads and riots during the RNC. Since I was looking for pictures about the pre-RNC raids, I figured I would try to narrow my search. I tried "RNC raids" "pre-RNC" "republican national convention" "st. paul homes raided" and the names and addresses of everyone involved.

I only found one picture.

I am starting to wonder whether, in a greater sense, Creative Commons will have a negative impact on citation and copyright. If "licensed under Creative Commons" becomes criteria for more assignments like this one, the wealth of usable, relevent information available will decrease significantly. It would be awesome if everyone licensed their media under Creative Commons, but unless this happens, a sort of information hierarchy will emerge. Does one method of copyright actually make the material better or more valid? I hope not.

April 1, 2009

Flicker, Creative Commons, and Other Ramblings

The thing that struck me right away about how we used flickr was how easy it was to find pictures with a creative commons license like we talked about last week when we discussed copy write. All you have to do is do an advanced search and that even give you further options depending on whether you want to modify the image or not. This makes it very easy for the user to find images that they can use in their own documents such as our wiki page.

I think Flickr also relates back to week 1 when talked about web 2.0. Flickr allows professional photographers, aspiring photographers, casual photographers, or just anyone with a camera a place to showcase their work as well as see other peoples work. It goes the other way to it does not only benefit the photographers but the people looking for pictures too. If it wasn't for web 2.0 sites such as Flickr and youtube we would only have photographs and video of the RNC protests from major media sources and its highly doubtful that, that is the kind of photographs or video we are looking for. Through these web 2.0 sites we get a more first hand experience of what it was like to be their on not the experience that the major media tries to portray.

Surprisingly I had never used flickr prior to this class and after playing around with it I have realized it truly is a remarkable site. The search by camera function amazes me and I'm sure is awesome to a true photo enthusiast (which I am not, I don't know what any of the buttons on my digi cam do except the shutter button). And I can see how both the mass corporation (yahoo in this case) and the user benefit from it. The user gets to see what type of pictures all these cameras take and Yahoo gets to refer you to where to buy the camera via Yahoo shopping. It seems like it is a happy medium between the user benefit and the corporation benefit as well and that is probably how that site has become so successful.

Aesthetically pleasing

Flckr was extremely easy to use and while there are a lot of other image based sites out there, Flickr seems to be the best choice for our wiki. The Creative Commons section was useful and means we do not have to track down the creator/origin for each image. Although I wonder what will become of the maps I found during my research. My topic is Community Impact Traffic and you can imagine there isn’t much to find on flickr except photographs of different modes of transportation.

My greatest concern when it comes to graphics is relevance. Our wiki’s main priority is to inform people and graphics can definitely help give good visuals, but a reader will not continue to click on links if every page is a shot of people walking and holding signs. Yes it is important to illustrate protesters, but do we need ten shots of essentially the same message? It sounds sort of silly but people like pretty pictures and almost need them to stay interested. Our readers come to our website for information so we do not need to entertain them with flashy images, but they will not stay if they feel as if they are going to receive the same information over and over again. With that being said, I know our wiki will be fantastic but its going to take a criticizing eye to make it appealing to our readers. Why stay and re-visit our website instead of another? Because our content is useful and aesthetically pleasing. As a team we edit/comment each other’s words but will we apply the same critique when it comes to image choice?


It seems to me that we are going to use Flickr as a resource to find images for our site. Images and graphics have a number of uses on the web. According to the Web Style Guide (2008), they can be used as illustrations, diagrams, quantitative data, analysis and causality, and integration. The images we find from Flickr will probably be used in many ways mentioned by the Web Style Guide (2008): to help prove a point, to make our pages more visually interesting, to give examples of things we mentioned in the text, to clarify information, etc. It will make what we say more effective and meaningful.

An important piece to incorporating images on our site is how will they be organized? Just as we determined how to organize our textual information, we need to determine how we want to organize our graphics. Will they be included within the text? Will they be off to the side as a sidebar? Will they be near the top to draw a reader in? Or at the bottom to leave the reader with a lasting image? In an obvious way, it seems to me that the graphics would be appropriately placed near the text that discusses the concept that image portrays. So whether the information we present follows an organization scheme like chronological or an organizational structure like a top-down hierarchy (Morville & Rosenfeld, 2007)I think our images should follow suit.

Additionally, I think it is important to keep in mind the accessibility of our images. Our audience will have a vast range of abilities. It is important that when we use images, we include text as well describe the image for those who may be color blind or have difficulty understanding it (Web Accessibility 101, UW-Madison, 2003).

Finally, it is important that we use images that we have permission to use. In our recent discussions on copyright, it is essential that we are not stealing someone else’s work and that we give credit where it is due. Our Flickr images will have Creative Commons licenses which gives the author the opportunity to tell others what part of their work can be duplicated (Creative Commons Video). This allows us to easily incorporate the image in our site (with permission of course.)

One final comment: it might be good to include links to our pictures for those who are interested in seeing more. They will be able to go directly to Flickr (or any other site where we got images) and see what else there is.