Friday, December 16, 2011

Of Photos and Facebook...

Image Credit: Me (really probably my mom)
As a teen and in my college days, I loved taking pictures with my sucession of inexpensive Instamatic cameras. The whole family would see them, or all my college friends. I can remember sitting with my mom and looking through family albums and hearing stories, or just looking at my own album every so often. There was a period when I didn't take many pictures, but when I moved to Oregon with my job at Project Vote Smart, I started again, and then took even more when Mark and I got together. We had a wedding album, and an everything-else album, but after a while the pictures would be viewed and then put in a shoe box. Eventually our camera broke, and we talked about getting a digital camera, but somehow my enthusiasm for taking pictures had gone away. Mark and I rarely saw our family, and we didn't have kids - all I could think of was putting more pictures in that shoebox that would be thrown away when we were dead and gone. Sure, we scanned a picture every now and then and emailed it to family, but it was clunky. I ended up getting a free Sony camera through credit card points, and played with it a bit while I was couch-bound after Broken Ankles '05 - even posting a few pictures on Flickr that no one I knew ever saw.

Then came Facebook and Twitter. All of a sudden it was a very different story, especially after the introduction of FB's streaming updates. Now I had somewhere to post my pictures and people would see them and comment on them. I started taking pictures again, and eventually got a feature phone that enabled me to automatically send picture to my Wall - replaced with a smartphone in 2010. I put my pictures on Facebook, and also collect them for use in teaching and presentations. Which brings me to Facebook's new Timeline. My prediction...lots of people are going to be looking at (and scannng) old pictures over the next few weeks as they fill out their Facebook Timeline. Here's hoping for some fun bonding time during the holidays as families and friends gather around old photo albums (and shoeboxes!) sharing stories in the process! I know some people are concerned about privacy implications, but the way I figure it it is an opt-in service. Social media gave me back something I really value, and I'm looking forward to filling in my own Timeline...eventually!

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