Social Networks

Entries related to social networks, group psychology, anthropology, and really any of the social sciences.

Exploring Images from Flickr through Empire Avenue to Instagram, Streamzoo and Gimp

People have often told me, I need more images on my blog. Images get people to stop and look, and, if you're lucky, read a little bit. Yet, mostly, I haven't gotten around to it. You see, I love words. I love text. Putting words together has always been easy.

I typically tell people I'm not really a visual sort of person. Yet that's not exactly right. I was in the photography club in junior high school. I had an early fifties vintage Exacta SLR. I would roll my own canisters of black and white film, shoot roll after roll, and then spend hours in the darkroom developing the film and making prints.

Morgan at Amanda's Wedding
I learned some of the tricks back then of over exposing, under exposing, burning in clouds, and so on, but while ability to craft words made it over to the Internet, my photography never has. Now, recently developments online are causing me to consider ramping up my digital image making.

One thing that has gotten me thinking about this is Pinterest. People 'pin' articles on their boards at Pintrest, and this seems to be very image driven. Perhaps, if I want to keep building audience here, I need to have more images with my stories to encourage more pinning.

Then, there is a discussion going on over at Empire Avenue. People have found that being active in photo sharing sites can really boost your performance on Empire Avenue. A key focus has been on InstraGram. The problem with InstaGram is that it is limited to iPhone users. So, some people have become more active on Flickr.

One person who has some very interesting images on Flickr is Liz Strauss. I commented that it looked like one of her photographs had been put through and Edward Hopper filter and another through a Soviet Realism filter. It made me think about different filters for different famous painting styles. Can I create a Chiaroscuro filter? How about a Pointillism filter? Perhaps something emulating Picasso's blue period? Maybe I could even create some sort of palimpsest.

InstaGram, Hipstamatic, and the Flickr app for Android have some sort of filters like that, and another site I recently discovered thanks to a friend on Empire Avenue, StreamZoo, has a bunch of interesting filters. Unfortunately, StreamZoo does not seem to have an easy way of posting to Flickr. I couldn't even find a way to do it with IFTTT. So, I'm mostly cross posting my StreamZoo pictures to .

Beyond this, sites like InstaGram have their set of filters you can apply. With something like StreamZoo, you can really do an awful lot, but what if I want to create my own filters?

I've always been an open source sort of guy, so I started looking around for articles that talk about how to do some of this via Gimp. A good starting point is Create Instagram Style Photo Effects with GIMP or Photoshop.

I read through that and started experimenting. It took me a little while to get comfortable with layers, and color curves, but slowly it started to take shape. There is a lot more that can be explored, as well as how to relate this to semiotics. So, who else is doing interesting thing with modifying images? Got any suggestions?

Triberr - Curation or Promotion?

Yesterday, a fellow member of a tribe I'm part of on Triberr posted a message on Twitter saying, "@ahynes1 I notice that you don't approve any of my posts on triberr. Is there a reason for that?" They had sent a similar message to several people in the tribe as well as started a discussion about it on Triberr.

I responded, "The few posts I've seen by you on Triberr did not seem interesting to my audience", to which he replied, "OK I understand. I approve all your stuff whether my audience find it interesting or not. I'll apply the same stadards from now on."

I thanked him for the reply and for changing his approach to tweeting about my blog posts. I don't want people on Triberr tweeting out my posts on a quid pro quo basis. I want them tweeting about my blog posts because they found the blog post interesting and they hope their readers will also find it interesting.

Be a bit of a geek, I like to look at some of the underlying numbers. The person who started this discussion has tweeted about my blog posts several times, but the amount of traffic his tweets have generated have been less than the number of tweets he's posted.

On the other hand, there are some people that have tweeted about my blog posts only about as third as often, but have generated ten times the traffic. Those are the important tweets.

At the same time, if I am more careful about my tweets, my followers on Twitter are more likely to visit the articles I've tweeted about. Even more important, at least to me, is when people Retweet these tweets, or, like them over on Facebook.

When I first joined Triberr, I was very concerned about driving away followers, but by judiciously selecting which posts I highlight, I believe I've done a service to my followers as well as to my fellow tribe members.

When it comes to curation, one of my fellow tribe members is mostly posting indirect links to mainstream stories. Many of them are good links, and I have taken to not approving her posts on Triberr, but instead posting a link to the original story on Twitter and giving her a shout out. In doing this, the Triberr analytics get lost, but it seems like I get a lot of likes on the stories of hers that I've highlighted, so I think everyone is benefiting.

Bottom line: I like Triberr as a tool for finding good articles and curating them. However, I have little use for them in terms of promoting whatever comes across the transom.

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#pcwm Debrief

It is Saturday evening. I am home from Podcamp Western Mass. I have had a nice dinner with my family, and before I crash, I want to share a few different thoughts from Podcamp.

1) Carpool! It was an hour an a half drive up to Podcamp. So, I got in touch with Jack Nork, who lives the next town over. We drove up together, and, in many ways, had the first Podcamp session of the day on the way up. We also had a great Podcamp Wrap up session on the way back.

2) One of the rules of Podcamp is that everyone is a rockstar. As always, there were a lot of interesting people at Podcamp. As the number of people I am connected with online grows, I'm finding that events like Podcamp don't fill up my rolodex as much as they used to. I was interested to see that besides a bunch of new Twitter connections, this time, I made some new LinkedIn connections as well.

3) Some of the best discussions are in unexpected places, and there are always new things to learn about. I met with one person who is doing a lot with Evernote and ifttt.com. I've started playing with ifttt and have looked at doing more with Evernote. I'm also taking a new look at Quora, especially in terms of locations and companies. I'm making upgrades to my Quora account. Another tool that I looked at once briefly, and it just didn't click, but this time it did, was Yelp's Monocle.

ifttt is If This Then That. If I post a Foursquare checkin with a photo attached, then send that photo to Flickr as well. If it is 6 PM, send me a text message. If it is going to rain tomorrow, give me a phone call. Looks like there are a lot of things to be done with that and I just need to figure out the best way of configuring things.

As to Monocle, I showed it to Kim as we looked around to see what was available near where we are for bars and restaurants. Looks like a nice upgrade. I'll have to play with it more later when I'm really looking for a place to eat.

Oh, and as a person that has used Tweetchat to follow discussions on Twitter, I have to say that TwitterFountain looks really cool. That's probably enough for right now, with one final note:

4) Keep your eyes open for Podcamp Connecticut. May 12th in New Haven.

Oh, and I didn't go to any sessions that had PowerPoint presentations!

#ff #pcwm @redheadeddivak @tgalanis @mmpartee @ChristinePilch @cparizo @AlSantaniello @ron_miller @JulianneKrutka @jcnork @paulb

Tomorrow morning is the fourth Podcamp Western Mass. I made it to the first two, missed the third, and will be heading up to the fourth tomorrow. So, I thought it would be good to highlight some of the people I've met through Podcamp and/or will be going tomorrow.

I'll start from the back of the list. I'll be driving up from Connecticut tomorrow with @jcnork. He lives in the next town over and we run into each other a lot. We're currently working on plans for Podcamp Connecticut, which should take place May 12th. Coming from the same town as @jcnork is @paulbogush. I've run into Paul online and at various events, and I'm glad he'll be heading up to Podcamp Western Mass.

The other eight people are shakers and movers in the Podcamp Western Mass circle. @mmpartee really carries the Podcamp spirit and has been a great help with planning Podcamps in Connecticut as well.

I don't know who will be tweeting what tomorrow, but you can probably catch most of the action on the #pcwm hash tag.

Flickr and Beyond

Today, Mashable reports that Flickr is getting a makeover to make it look more like Pinterest. This caught my attention, because recently there has been an upsurge of interest in photo sharing sites over on Empire Avenue.

It started off with a discussion about how to maximize people's Instagram scores on Empire Avenue. However, Instagram is currently only available for iPhone users, and this left out a bunch of people, so some of the discussion shifted over to Flickr.

With that, I've picked up about a dozen new contacts in the past couple days. (If you're interested, please connect with me at http://www.flickr.com/photos/aldon.) I've received and place more comments in the past couple of days than I have probably over the years on Flickr.

I'm also spending a lot more time looking at other people's photos. There are some really good ones, and I'm trying to figure out how best to tie together what I am seeing and talking about there with my other social media presences without becoming duplicative.

I often comment about being much more of a textual person than an image oriented person. It will be interesting to how this shifts.

So, are you doing new and exciting things with images? How do you decide whether to share the images on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, or other sites?

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