NaBloPoMo. Gesundheit.

Perhaps lack of sugar is affecting my brain. (Did I mention, I’m doing this two week experiment of not eating sugar? Or refined flour. Basically, if it’s a yummy snack, then it’s out. I have not actually thrown a tantrum or had a seizure yet, but I’m only halfway through.) But I just could not resist the pull of this goofy kitten and the idea of posting here every day next month.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted every day for a month, and this blog is nearly 6 years old. So it will be a challenge. I figure it will be good for me: I’ll write more, I’ll post more, I’ll feel less guilty about not posting, I might even bring back the posts about odd animals. There could be thoughtful analysis of current web activity. I could blog about my cats every Friday. Or not… we’ll see.

So if this sounds like goofy fun to you (or at least an activity compatible with your mental health issues) head over NaBloPoMo and sign yourself up. NaBloPoMo is for you if you are not quite deranged enough for NaNoWriMo, or need to avail yourself of InaDWriMo. No, I’m not kidding, I signed up. If nothing else, the web geek in me wanted an excuse to play with Ning, that build your own social site for anything platform I keep not bothering to play with. I should’ve known it would suck me in eventually.

Also, and possibly unfairly, I blame my involvement in this on Thinkery, because I learned about it from reading her blog.

If you make it possible to build, they will come

Photography nerds + some web geekery = inspiring photography project

My favorite flickr group is Utata. Yes, 365 days is important to me, but Utata is my peeps — it’s my home on flickr. It also happens to be a great example of the kind of community projects that are possible with an open social software ecosystem.

See, every member of Utata has a flickr account. (I don’t know the number, but my sense is that the vast majority of the now 11,000+ strong group have paid accounts.) Utata has its own website, but flickr hosts all the photos displayed on it. Thanks to flickr’s API and tagging capabilities (including machine tags) pretty amazing feats are possible. Think for a minute what might be possible if, say, facebook were this open… but I digress. This post is really about kickass photos.

Most of the folks in Utata aren’t professional photographers, though you might not realize it browsing through the tribe’s most recent project, The Utatan. It has six different sections, and this is just a taste based on my clicking around earlier today. I’ve just started exploring it — I have a feeling I could write this post again tomorrow, and pick a whole new set of examples. It’s that good.

The Utatan

Projects

Stock

Portraits

Landscapes

Photo Journalism

  • Tim Mitchard’s the sea forts is irresistible if abandoned structures, the sea, or hulking bits of rust intrigue you
  • Malcolm Matthews’s powerful hurt, grief, and flickr will probably make most people who read it cry; I did

Portfolios

  • Greg Wolkins’s portfolio contains six images that, in some way that I can’t quite put my finger on now, relate to each other and caught my eye
  • You might not expect members of an online photo group to shoot film, but you’d be wrong — Sara Eigen shoots film

Writing an artist’s statement wasn’t a project requirement, but it was something we were encouraged to do — and I’ve been waiting to read what folks came up with. I love the way Gwen E. Sprague includes the sentence, “Since I can find interest in the most mundane of items, it leads to an eclectic collection of photographs, currently not adhering to any definitive style, all of which could probably be titled ‘Something Cool I Saw Today'” in hers. Lori Hale Williams (aka getthebubbles) talks about her day job as marine biologist and where she’d like to go next with her photography. Pam Ullman left the business world to write, and tells us how when she lost her creative edge, photography gave it back her.

It makes something in me sing, knowing that these women — none of ’em “professional” photographers — took the time to write artist’s statements. The reason I decided to participate in the big project was the challenge of writing one: I didn’t think I could do it. Okay, fine, my real debate I was whether or not I should write one. Being a bit mean, it’s flaky, you don’t need to, you aren’t an artist are the kinds of things I told myself when I thought about writing my statement in the beginning. Eventually the fuck that, you love doing this so talk about it side of my brain won out.

It’s worth spending a lot of time looking at the photographs in The Utatan — you probably can’t go wrong if you start anywhere and just click on the next or random links on each page. If you are curious to see what I did (and what I wrote), here’s my project page.

And that equation again? Really, all the buzz-worthy and not-so-worthy web 2.0 stuff boils down to is folks having the means to find, inspire, and connect with each other. Pretty simple, really — and Utata manages to do it with or without a thousand words.

Time to update your personal bog, you slut!

Will companies, networks, and yes, even websites ever get over themselves and realize it isn’t about them?

Okay, it is The Register, so they put it like this: “Social networking users tend to get around, as they say, and not stay faithful to one network, according to a new study.” Hmm… so I’m a slut because I’m on facebook, flickr, and twitter? (Sorry if you are reading this, Dad.) Now, I think this is pretty funny, so I went looking for the original report… I was curious if the report is what suggested the loyalty angle, or if it was The Register tweaking everyone.

That’s when I found out that Parks Associates thinks people will pay three thousand dollars for “Web 2.0 & the New Net”.

I don’t want to ruin it for you — cause I know you are just dying to whip out your credit card and download that PDF — but the best part might be from their U.S.: Social Media Activities (Q1/07) graph:

personal bog posting

When such a stunning graphic is combined with equally stunning prose (“…cutting through the hype and probing into the heart of the key questions it presents to the industry: Is there money to be made in the Web 2.0 space? How should established players react?”) and a $3,000 price tag… Well, of course The Register is poking fun.

How could you not? I mean, you almost have to feel sorry for companies that purchase this report. Almost. Here’s some free advice for folks who even think of going down that path:

  • Don’t just read about what everyone else says about them, actually visit facebook, flickr, MySpace, Wikipedia, and YouTube yourself
  • Visit Techmeme and follow some links
  • Get a feedreader and subscribe to a few blogs — click through and read some comments, too
  • Go to Technorati, search for your company name and on keywords that are important in your industry, and subscribe to a few of the blogs you find as a result
  • If you need reports, hop on over to the Pew Internet & American Life Project and download their reports for free

Yep, free advice from a social software hussy. I’m so bad.