You Can Find Me Here: About.me

I’ve wanted for some time a place where I can link people to everything that I contribute to.

LismoreOne of the ways of doing this is to link everything to everything and to post updates in multiple places. This kind of works but is a bit clunky with current capabilities. When I post updates to this blog they are also posted onto Twitter and Facebook, but there are other things that I do that I don’t post either here, or on Twitter or Facebook. But how would anyone know what I do and don’t contribute to?

I’m currently using About.me for the purpose of linking people to the things that I am currently contributing to. At the top level it’s a really simple concept, I like to think of it as an online business card. What I mean by this is that it’s a single page that says something about who I am and gives information on how to get in contact. It doesn’t get a lot of visitors, but it gets enough for me to regard it as important, fortunately it barely takes any housekeeping.

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You Can Find Me Here: Twitter

The current darling of the traditional media desperate not to be left behind is undoubtedly twitter – but that’s not why I’m there.

A Trip to Hadrian's WallThe traditional media, especially television and radio needs to stay relevant to people’s day-to-day life. If you aren’t relevant then you don’t have people’s attention, and no attention means no advertising, and no advertising means redundancy. Irrelevance is not an option. Twitter provides a way for them to retain a level of relevance by providing another means of interaction. But as I said, that’s not why I’m on twitter.

For me twitter is primarily about low level network interaction. I have a set of connections who also use twitter. I rarely see most of these individuals, actually as I come to think about it, there are some that i have never met. Many of them are current and former work colleagues.

I find twitter intriguing from a number of perspectives. In many ways it’s a glorified gossip circle, but that’s not really a very good analogy for it. It’s not the place where you are going to get into some deep philosophical debate, but I’m not saying it’s trivial either.

This is how I use it, which demonstrates some of my philosophy for using it:

  • I try not to post the daily ‘I’m here today…’ post because that’s dull.
  • I try to be generally positive. Negative things can look very negative in print.
  • Further to that, I try to be respectful in replies. It’s the Internet after all and everything you say is visible forever.
  • I retweet a bit, but not a huge amount. It seems like a lazy way of communicating.
  • I post update notices from this blog into twitter because it tells people what I’m up to.
  • I post my twitter updates into facebook, (I’ll talk about that another time)
  • Twitter is also, generally, limited to working hours. I don’t post ‘Sat at home watching TV’. Again, I think it’s a bit dull, but also it’s taking me away from my time with the family. Also, though, my followers tend to be my work connections, with some exceptions.
  • I do use twitter on my BlackBerry, but still try and limit it to work hours, or things that people in that group of connection would be interested in.
  • I definitely don’t follow a principle of follow-back. I follow people, or robots I find interesting. If it’s not interesting I don’t follow.
  • I try to be interesting, why should people follow me if I’m not interesting. No-one wants to be the person at the party that everyone else is ignoring because they are dull.
  • I like to tweet quotes, but that’s because I like quotes. I’ll only do this once or twice in any day and it’s usually a quote that has struck me as interesting.

As it stands I’ve posted 5455 tweets and follow about 250.

Feel free to follow along. I’m here: twitter.com/grahamchastney.

(I’ve decided to run a bit of a Jimmy and Granddad’s retrospective too)

You Can Find Me Here: Flickr

I’ve decided to start another mini-series. It’s a bit like the My Tools series from a while ago, but this time I’m going to focus on the various locations where I project some of my social persona.

The first one is Flickr where I project the photographer Graham.

Jimmy and Granddad visit ButtermereI’ve used Flickr for a long while now, my first picture was posted on 9th December 2009, and it’s still one of my favourite pictures.

In my view it’s still the best photo social site.

Other social sites, like Facebook, do photos but they aren’t really focussed around the pictures, they are focussed on providing a photographic record of an event alongside other records of the event.

Flickr is focussed on the photo itself – where it was taken, when it was taken, what it’s showing, what it was taken with, how it was taken. With that in mind I tend to use Flickr for certain types of pictures.

I don’t, for instance, put pictures of the family on Flickr. Most pictures are of scenes or objects, Jimmy and Granddad are a particular favourite for many. I suppose that you might call them the arty photos.

I make most pictures quite open with Creative Commons licenses. Flickr is, in my view, there for sharing.

The Flickr Organiser is a work of genius which allow you to do all sorts of things with the pictures – adding them to groups, adding tags, adding maps, creating and manipulating sets; all in a rich graphical interface.

One of the elements I think needs a good deal of improvement are the maps and satellite images that are available for geotagging the photos. Many photogenic places aren’t near roads so a map isn’t much good, and the satellite images don’t allow you to zoom in close enough. Perhaps Yahoo should leverage it’s recent relationship with Bing to get their images.

That aside, I am a real fan of Flickr. It’s nicely social and I get some good feedback on pictures. People have contacted me to use pictures in professional material in line with the Creative Commons licensing, and I’ve granted it.

Buttermere SwimmingI like to interact with other people’s pictures, there are some inspirational photographers out there. There are also a set of photograph archives which I really enjoy too. The Preston Digital Archive is a great insight into the place where I live.

The Flickr statistics tell me some interesting things too, although I’d still regard myself as being in the long tail my pictures have been seen 165,000 times which is a reasonable number.

So that’s my photographic persona ready for social interaction.