Thomas Hawk (psyeodonym of a San Fransisco investment guy) is the most consistently interesting photographer I keep track of on the Flickr photo sharing site.
His eye for colour, composition and compelling subjects is amazing. If I didn't have confirmation from other sources that he really exists, I'd think he was one of those photo thieves who steals the best they can find and posts them as their own.
Update: I should have clarified that the photo I highlighted is from Hawk's list of how to find great photos on Flickr, and isn't one of his own. This image is by Lawrie M. The image shows the DM Gallery on Flickr. For people too lazy to follow the links (I know exactly how you feel) I'll find a Thomas Hawk image that can be reproduced and post it in a separate post.
Update II: Of course, I should have also credited the original artist whose artwork is in the photo - Terry Summers - Fox Galleries, Brisbane, Australia. I'll get this attribution thing right some day...
The rule about objects in motion tending to remain in motion applies in this case. Web development has momentum. It's taking place across borders, across platforms, across languages. When a new tool gains traction, it's only a matter of time before another one, with better features and bigger groups of users or visitors will come along.
I won't spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what the next Big Thing will be. I'll just keep my eyes and ears open, and my mind as unfettered by assumptions as I can manage. And if I come across the next hot trend before you do, I'll be sure to mention it on my blog, or whatever tool I'm using at the time.
A knowledge management community of practice that got punted by its online landlord, Yahoo Groups, successfully lobbied to get the information sharing group reinstated on Yahoo's servers.
The fact the group has been active since 1999 and has
1,569 members didn't slow Yahoo down when it got wind of possible
Moral of the story: When you build an online community using someone else's servers and usage agreements, you run the risk that your group's use of the online space can be cut off or prescribed by the company that is hosting you. The thousands of hours spent posting content is also in danger, unless you have back-ups of everything.
The use of GPS location information continues to be applied to web tools that identify where in the world someone or something is.
Steve Rubel points toKMaps, a service that allows you to provide and receive location information from a home computer, a PDA cell phone, or a Palm PDA. KMaps can host various directories of services, points of interest or what-have-you. And the ability to use the service while you're on the go makes it that much more flexible.
The potential uses cited are restaurant reviews (see screen detail, right), celebrity sightings, stores, and local events.
Celebrity sightings, as in people clicking their Treos every time they see Paris Hilton trying to catch a quiet latte at a coffee bar. For celebs, who barely have any privacy anyway, this could mark a new low point in celebrity stalking. It's the end of privacy as we know it.
Now, show me how this new technology can be used to make people's lives better, and I'm all for it.
Put it in the hands of bird watchers, and let them share sightings of a rare bird, and I can see how this could save time, make a lot of people really happy, and not cause some minor movie star grief when his wife gets an instant update on who he's been seen with, and where.
Allow prostitutes to keep an eye on each other, and warn others of the presence of a dangerous John, and I can see the real value of a mobile service like this.
Regular readers have seen me post to Lee Lefever's Common Craft blog from time to time. Lee is a consultant helping organizations use social networking tools to accomplish things in a virtual environment that normally would only be possible in person.
Lee recently announced he and wife Sachi are taking a year off their work for a trip around the world. In true blogger fashion, they plan to record their experiences online, and invite others to share their travel stories.
I've learned to trust Lee's advice about online communities, so I look forward to what he has to say about travel and connecting with other cultures along the way. They don't leave for a few more weeks, but already they are describing their preparations and enlisting others into the conversation.
"In the best situations," he says in a posting this week, "businesses are able to create an online home
for their customers to feel connected to one another and the company.
Often, this might include product support discussions, user-to-user
discussion, polls, etc. These communities can and do yield significant
value. But, there is often value that is not realized because the
community is separated from the business."
How true. Lee shows how aligning the community with the organization's goals creates a situation where the community enriches the organization and vice versa. He offers some examples, but I have one of my own.
I regularly visit an online computer store out of Vancouver that does just that with their online discussion forums. NCIX.com has great selection and great prices, but what brings people back again and again is the depth of product information, advice and entertaining commentary in their forums.
I haven't been on much lately (not doing as much computer building and troubleshooting these days), but as Prairie Eric, I've been part of the community there for over a year.
What the customers get out of the forum is a place to chat, a place to learn about computers, and a place to get quick advice about the best way to approach a technical problem. NCIX for their part, gets a devoted following that offer immediate feedback (positive and negative) about the products, prices and service. Everyone benefits.
One of the most active, interesting and sociable of the users of Flickr.com is Striatic, a Toronto photographer who has embarked on a tour of the U.S., with a final leg in B.C. and Alberta.
The express purpose of the trip is to meet in person some of the people he has gotten to know online, and to share some time photographing their parts of the world.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who know Striatic as a funny, picky participant in the online community that revolves around people's photographs and their comments about everything that has any relation (and some things that have no relation) to photography.
Known as the Striatic Does America tour, his photographic/social odyssey started June 15, and will take him and his partner Erin on a circuitous route down the Eastern Seaboard, through Texas and up the West Coast.
Happy trails, Striatic, and may the light be good for you on your way.
Techies and near-techies have always been early on the uptake with new software and hardware, but the difference today is the speed and influence of the digerati. Seth Godin points out in a post called The New Digital Divide that weblogs and other tools have given geeks immediacy and clout that they didn't have before.
Based on my experience with a few online commmunities, I have to agree. The Flickrites I know who ran Yahoo 360 thorough its paces during its first 48 hours of beta used the new tool the way a golf pro tries out a new five iron. Overnight they had created new blogs, populated the photo album, and tested its limits. These folks are adept at exploring the new opportunities for sharing information. They are experts at things before the mainstream even knows they exist.
"Today . . . the Net is far more robust and far more ubiquitous
than it used to be. And it's bloggers who are setting the agenda on
everything from politics to culture. It's bloggers that journalists and
politicians look to as the first and the loudest.
"As a result, your most-connected, most influential customers are
part of the digerati. They can make or break your product, your service
or even your religion's new policies. Because the Net is now a
broadcast (and a narrowcast) medium, the digerati can spread ideas.
"The second thing to keep in mind is that the digerati are using the
learning tools built into the Net to get smarter, faster. A new Net
tool can propogate to millions in just a week or two. Unlike the old
digital divide, this means that the divide between the digerati and the
rest of the world is accelerating.
"So, it's choice time. Several of my colleagues (tompeters!
being a notable example) are jumping in with both feet. Others take a
look at the headstart and decide that it's just too much work."
I don't have the time or energy to try every nifty new gadget that gets added to the digital arsenal. But when I take a pass on something, it's with the understanding that I may be just a bit less in tune with the zeitgeist than I would be otherwise.
Lee Lefever makes a case for using wikis (definition) as a permanent record for the information sharing that takes place in a blog or a message board.
Anyone who has tried to sift through a year's worth of entries on a chronological web site understand what Lefever is getting at. He says:
"Blogs and message boards both suffer from the same problem- they are
great for presenting emerging information, but poor at organizing it
for future reference. The “good stuff” that people often need and
companies often want to capture quickly gets buried among all the
comments and messages."
He reasons that if you make it easy to capture pertinent information as it's being shared, you can build a valuable repository that makes it easier to access the timeless items among all the postings that lose their value over time.