Last month I was honored honored to be able to convene a Net Squared session on how to do community building using Flickr. My interest is in how people can build community and passion for their cause using the photo sharing site with or without integrating Flickr image feeds into an external site. The smart people in the room during the Flickr session had plenty of interesting challenges, questions and suggestions. It was fun and totally impressive.
To recap my own primary simple suggestion: If you want to get quality attention to your images (for their subject matter or their artistry or out of loyalty) try to give quality attention to other relevant image makers within Flickr. If you don’t you can stiil use the powerful toolset as an image (and short video) presentation platform, but you miss out on the even more amazing community-building aspects of Flickr, which is designed to be one of the great online social settings.
Net Squared is a project of the long-running CompuMentor organization, which originally got me online in 1990 when I was doing community outreach and donor relations work for a non-profit theater company that needed database help. CompuMentor got me a volunteer consultant who gave me a modem to make assisting me easier, and an email address back in that pre-web, all-dialup era. I became fascinated with the richness of the culture of The WELL which led me into a new world as well as a new career. They are responsible for Net Squared and Tech Soup, an ongoing support system thousands of non-profit organizations turn to for advice, free or inexpensive software and networking.
Check out the amazing projects — not just the winners of the grant prizes, but the whole array of finalists.
Watch for next year’s mashup challenge — the entries are getting better and better: http://www.netsquared.org/
The eyes of the blogosphere are on Burma… will this mean anything?
I recommend this site: http://burmamyanmargenocide.blogspot.com/
Their use of a simple webpage opinion pole about what the international response should be is brilliant, naive or a bit of both. Some of the eyewitness accounts there have been stunning.
Please come to our party Thursday September 20th. Thanks to the encouragement of talented friends in the Flickr Community and to WELL pals arto & kayo, we’re hangin’ in the public sector.
Art Siegel (artolog) and I are proud that our photos were selected for display at the California Public Utilities Commission as part of their Art on the Walls program. Kay Hardy (yuzu) encouraged us to apply, and we were accepted. Kay has been amazingly supportive of getting out there.
Please come to the reception:
Art on the Walls
California Public Utilities Commission HQ, at
505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, near city hall.
Thursday September 20, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
PS… There will be a little after-gathering from about 8:00pm at Olive Bar and restaurant up the hill a bit at 743 Larkin, near O Farrell Street, since there are no libations in the halls of the CPUC building.
Here are all the photos in their original form and full dimensions:
Another very good friend from the Flickr community, Bruce Grant, was responsible for me having printed water images from last year’s “Haunted By Waters” show, which made this easier. Bruce is a great inspiration to me in my flickr and vimeo aspirations.
Thanks Kay and Bruce!
I’ve commented on Civilty Smackdown 2007 (starring Kathy Sierra, Chris Locke, Tim O’Reilly and scores of other thoughtful people) in discussions within The WELL itself, so it’s time to summarize here for anybody to read. (Fellow members of The WELL, see in the Blog Conference, topic 113 — entitled “a blog code of conduct?” for that continuing conversation.)
Yesterday I took some time and responded at length on O’Reilly Radar, saying:
Tim, I respect and understand the idea behind this. Because of my experience and background in dealing with non-anon expression and accountability, this brings up a flood of concerns and suggestions.
After 15 years in management at The WELL, in a context where there is close to no anonymity, paid participation, and twenty two years of debate about what Stewart Brand’s famous WELL aphorism, “You Own Your Own Words” or YOYOW really means to participants and volunteer conference hosts, some things that seem simple turn out to be more complex.
At The WELL we see an astonishing range of civility and bluntness among our conferences, where the same people play rougher in different arenas. We also see teasing that doesn’t bother the participants who are pals but looks rude to strangers. You probably would not find any hosts willing to put up a sheriff badge. If you go back to the model of hosting a dinner party, the range of styles and behaviors are almost infinite.
Your proposed “sheriff badge” icon is pretty much asking for rebellion and mockery.
Aside from that, it’s a cold image to present in terms of our wanting to welcome guest contributors, friends and community. Obviously that varies depending on blog popularity, and of course the graphic can be changed.
Perhaps a slightly more flexible and thoughtful commitment to moderation along wth a more inviting badge of hostship would help as an addition, or even a replacement, to this wild-west sheriff stance.
Requiring an email address in the world of free and disposable addesses is a little hurdle, but we all know it is not an identity guarantor. Getting a credit card, payment, mailing address, etc. adds a little more hurdle, but at some level pseudonimity is still in the mix. If the hurdle and the peer scrutiny are at a good level, people will still bother to join and behave with accountability, but some will still be assholes. My feedback: don’t over-idealize the beneficial effects of non-anonymity, though they can be powerful, and don’t define anybody with an email address as non-anonymous, either. Too much potential confusion!
Taking responsibility for the comments of others is very interesting. This is where it makes sense to look at the legal context. I don’t think all bloggers can be expected to understand defamation law, frankly. Is it fair to ask them to say they will behave with the liability of a publisher or editor? (I’m looking forward to discussing with some legal experts!) Not wanting to make new laws doesn’t make existing real world laws go away, and we can’t forget that.
Also, there is the question of time. Does the sheriff badge mean comments must be pre-moderated, or is there an assumption that spammy trollish crap could go up and and may be looked at or decided on later?
Backchannel private communications can be helpful, but it’s a judgment call when to do them, and promising to always do them can set you up for being gamed by a group who demand more backchannel attention than you can give, for example. Maybe unconsciously, maybe not.
Finally — because this has gotten long and I have got to get some work done — check this out, from http://www.well.com/confteam/hosting.html (Adapted from some great advice from former WELL host John Hoag and others, and intended for application within a non-anon environment):
Whatever rule you make, someone will eventually question it — even if it is “no rules at all.” The most casual glance at human history shows that humans love making rules and arguing over them…
There are, however, ways to avoid some of the more common rule pitfalls. If you feel your place needs a special rule, take care to consider its fairness before implementing it and try to imagine how it might be circumvented. Words are a malleable medium, and they can be made to say things by inference, innuendo, and ambiguity which are very hard to pinpoint. Suppose you set up a place in which you wanted everyone to be nice to each other, and you made a rule saying just that. You might have a difficult time enforcing it because language can be made to imply something unkind even while saying something ostensibly respectful. Excessive niceness, through hyperbole, can even convey an insult. Rather than creating a rule, you may want to depend on the direct yet respectful approach, calmly asking people to clarify whether an insult was actually meant, and making it possible to save face …
Sorry for blurting out a mini-tome. I feel like I have been stewing in these issues for eons now. Thanks for your thoughtfulness, and best luck.
It would have been all too easy to go on… what happens if you display a blog badge and say you will moderte, but somebody feels you didn’t live up to it? Is that false advertising? Etc, etc.
This is a very old argument, online and through history. The discussion of how civility and kindness can be cultivated is valuable even if cut and dried answers are awfully elusive. Human interaction is messy. The main thing is to to try to elevate the quality a little bit, as a moderator or as a participant, whenever and wherever you can.