Originally uploaded by me over on Flickr as fotogail.
I plopped this image into my Flickr photostream this weekend, knowing it was a fine thing to do in terms of recording history and providing tagged content for a few friends and the Mays Field blog.
The sign in the photo is a very cool phenomenon — Mays Field is a wonderful grassroots solution to the "Some Big Company Park" problem. The idea is that Mays Field will be the part of the name that won't change. Our ballpark has had three corporate names in six years as the regional phone company has been repeatedly gulped up and renamed. If fans call it "Mays Field at _____ Ball Park," then it doesn't matter what the owners of the team have to do to pay the bills, and we still have something we can use in natural conversation.
If you're a Giants fan, locate or download a sign, photograph yourself it around town, tag it "maysfield" on Flickr and see it on the maysfield.org site. It's a movement!
We're back at Oxygen, for a photo show on May 5th!
Through May 26 from 6:00 pm on, Tuesdays through Sundays. Oxygen Sushi, 795 Valencia Street @ 19th, S.F. Opening 5/5 with dj ExtraLars providing a party atmosphere from 8:00p til at least midnight.
Here's the original tale of our first accidental oxygen photo show as I posted it in the Flickr discussion area at The WELL last September:
Back in May some of us put together an informal Mission Photo Walk. WELL members Art, Kay & i met up in San Francisco's Mission District with some other Flickrers (and old Fotologgers), took pictures, then went to have sushi.
(this is Kay, aka yuzu at Flickr)
One of the other participants had reserved a table for us at Oxygen at 19th on Valencia Street.
So we went over and ordered piles of sushi. this is where the story begins.
We passed around platters of sushi and unfiltered saki, and at one point
I remember suggesting each person shooting digital find their best shot and
we pass the cameras around and show what we saw, so we were doing this,
with ooohs and aaahs. The waiter came by and I said we were a digital
photography group and look at our stuff from today.
He was of course wowed, since each image he was passed was little, bright,
one of the best of the day. Quite arresting.
So I said "we'd like to have a show here." I fear I was guilty of making an
assumption about "we" since we'd never mentioned it, but it was out of my
He gestured towards the bar, and said that the boss was here.
So I got the boss and we repeated our display of our lcd screens.
The owner too was all positive and we swapped email addresses.
I wrote the first of a series of pitches and sent it off, and was not
totally blown off. I got a "we'll be working on our schedule later on and
might be interested" sort of reply.
When i saw some of the members of the group that had been out for that
stroll, they would ask about our show.
Eventually I said "look, we hadn't paid or tipped yet. Of course they were
positive about us having a show."
Get over it.
Then of course I got the email offering us a date! November 2005, at Oxygen!
And not only was it fun, but we're invited back, and open all over again with a new show there on 5/5/2006. DJ ExtraLars will spin something latin for us.
Here's the Flickr page we are using for a website for the show. Some of the images that were up last time are posted there:
A year and a half ago I gave up on Fotolog and followed friends in an exodus to Flickr. Wow, what a journey.
It was a traumatic, desperate time for many people who were heavily invested in visual socializing and improving their photo technique at Fotolog, but the system performance had become impossible, and something had to be done, no matter how much I or others liked the founders of Fotolog.
Because I have worked for 15 years in online communities (both The WELL and later Salon Table Talk), I've been on the management team when people were threatening to leave, and I've seen refugee groups arrive from elsewhere.
However, I had never been part of an exodus. I have to say that once I decided to go, our relocation was intensely emotional and exciting. People went out of their way to help one another figure out a different toolset, and some of the Flickr folks who were particularly helpful by nature worked to include and assist the newbies. We were in shock, and confused about whether the change was temporary or permanent. Some (such as Bruce Grant and Art Siegel) kept posting on both sites. Some toughed it out due to loyalty or inertia. A large number set up camp at Flickr and never looked back.
From the beginning, the Flickr emigres tried to request the features they'd left behind. Strangely enough, it was hard to describe what we missed from the simpler Fotolog site. And yet we knew that it was easier to find new photographers via their work alone there.
Since then Flickr has added feature innovations such as Interestingness, and those who transferred have figured out how to use some combination of group pools, group discussion threads, sets and tags to approximate the community-building tools they'd known previously.
Fotolog has beefed up their servers, and added a few features of their own, too.
Recently people on Flickr have celebrated the publication of the book about the Fotolog community where many of them met.
All of this has me thinking again about platform and/or community provider loyalty versus clusters of people who know one another via assorted platforms. I wonder if it's a requirement of communities that participants would be able to connect via assorted tools and still be a group. This mulit-platform remote continuity has probably been practiced since the invention of first writing and later telephones. The group is all about the people connecting in it, not merely defined by how they network. And yet, we all know that tool sets, platforms and other manifestations of "neighborhood" can still make a great deal of difference, and become too comfortable to change. Inthe hardest of times this makes for tension for users who don't want to "swarm" with their hive, so to speak. All this can be baffling for the people who are trying to be good managers.
Recently I re-read this exploration of discontent from the then relatively recent arrivals at Flickr. It captured a feeling but is sadly vague about what was missing:
More thoughts to come on that mysterious discontent!