Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

I used to post photos to Flickr back in 2005.  It was a novel activity at the time, but you’ll recognize the behavior still today: I’d post a photo, and my friends would comment on it.  There’d be a bunch of back and forth.  It was hilarious.  It felt like a virtual community and it became a real community here in Vancouver.  Conversations, friendships, relationships, events, learning, sharing and more, happened because of Flickr’s photo sharing and commenting.  Here’s one example, from 2006.

I posted photos of an event I was at, and shared them right away.  People liked that.  People kept track of what each other were doing via Flickr.  About 12 people commented on that photo.

Since then, a whole heck of a lot of services made it easy (easier, even) to share photos and information and thoughts with each other.  So you’d think, with all the new social media tools making it easy for people to pass along and comment about and respond to the things, we’d be having better and better conversations.  But today, honestly, there actually ends up being a lot less conversation, even as the volume of noise has increased.

Today, a photo might start life on (a) Flickr, and then be posted to (b) Twitter because I want to share it right away.  It’ll show up in my (c) FriendFeed, and also in (d) Google Buzz, and get sucked into (e) Facebook.  Someone will like it and do a (f) Stumble-Upon sharing thingy.  Before you know it, it’s part of a post on (g) digg.

On each of these services, people can respond to my photo—but I often don’t see the comments that other people made on the other services, and even on the services that are mine, other people don’t see those responses most of the time because they aren’t displayed in a collated way, so there’s no possibility of a conversation happening.

I might have to check five places to see if people have responded—or each of these services has to come up with a way to let me know a comment is there—and these days, RSS isn’t the one-tool-fits-all solution for that, either.  Twitter replies might become SMSes, Facebook comments might be iPhone notifications, Google Buzz shows up in my email, and FriendFeed, god-only-knows.  I don’t even know that my photo is in stumble-upon or digg.

Here’s a more recent shot by way of counter-example:

And sure, it’s not as good a shot, and I haven’t been on Flickr as much these days and neither have you, but still, this has but one lonely comment, and yet I know it got other responses in other services, like Buzz and Twitter.  On Twitter, two people @-replied me, but didn’t see each other’s tweets.  And the person on buzz never saw either.

And that, good sirs, is what’s wrong with the Internet today.

Post-script: Oh yeah, there’s Google Reader, too.  That’s another place people can interact with this post. Geez.

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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