Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures?

Since its introduction in October 2010, Instagram has turned our mobile iOS and Android devices into a photo sharing dream tool and has become the fastest growing social network since Facebook and Twitter. Instagram allows users to take amazing photographs in a Polaroid format by applying filters and then share with the world, but I fear many users have now become misguided in how to “appropriately” use the application. In “Here’s How to Use Instagram,” (http://www.businessinsider.com/instagram-2010-11) an article written in Novemebr 2010 shortly after the launch of the photo sharing application, Dan Frommer of Business Insider describes the application as being 2 things: “First, Instagram is for taking pictures, adding filters to make them look retro, and then for sharing them with sites like Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook. And second, it's a simple social network of other people's photos.” Instagram on its website describes the application as “a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures.” In neither of these descriptions is the application described as an outlet to “transform your thoughts into wonderful images...” as many of the users on the social network have begun to do using applications like Tweegram.

This has been something that has been confusing me since Tweegram was introduced back in June 2011. With a social network already designed to allow us to share our thoughts in 140 characters or less and another which allows us to share our world in text, photo and video; why would we want to pollute a social network designed strictly for photos with text thoughts dressed up in one of several illustrative styles that by now we have all seen at least 10 times?

The name of the application Tweegram itself lends the idea that you are convoluting Instagram with Twitter. What baffles me even further is that after users post these “Tweegrams” on Instagram they will then share the photo on Twitter… Why didn’t you just post the text to Twitter?!? Or even better than that… Instagram allows users to caption the photos that they have posted on their timeline and I have seen on multiple occasion users who will caption the photos of the text that they have “Tweegram’d.” This leads me to only one conclusion: you “Tweegram’d” and incomplete thought and were too lazy to go back and create another “Tweegram” with the missing text to your complete thought.

Why is it that this phenomenon has been limited only to Instagram? Why is it that Facebook, with over 900 million users and 7+ years of photo sharing, has seen limited appearance of text based images used to convey users thoughts. Is it a lack of an application specifically designed to allow users to do so? Or is it because the social network already has an outlet for users to share their thoughts via status updates?

I suppose when I think back, this is no different than the introduction of TwitPic. Pictures were introduced to a social network designed strictly for users to succinctly share their thoughts using text years ago in 2008, but the major difference is that Twitter did not provide an outlet for users to share photos prior to the introduction of TwitPic… Instagram has allowed users to caption photos and share thoughts via text since its inception. With that I ask, why not simply find a photo that reflects your thoughts and then caption it with the text you would have previously “Tweegram’d?” Also notice that since the introduction of Instagram to the two most popular mobile platforms today, the use of TwitPic has severely diminished almost to the point where it is never used.From the decline in the use of TwitPic and other derivations of it we can begin to conclude that with a social network for each of the social mediums currently used today, users are gravitating to using the appropriately designated social network designed for that medium. So why have we made an exception for the photo medium? I do not log on to Instagram in hopes of reading the thoughts of users. I log on to Instagram to view a story told by images and stunning photos of the world as seen by others. Let us respect the design of Instagram and leave the tweets for Twitter... 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

the Pine vs. the Sequoia

If you are anywhere near me in age then you too are a product of what I will call the “Instant” generation. As a generation we have grown up with everything ready and at our disposal in an instant; instant messaging, instant meals, instant delivery… everything ready at the moment we want it, and because of this as a generation we suffer from “Instant Gratification”. 

Symptoms of “Instant Gratification” include, but are not limited to:

· Lack of patience
· Lack of foresight
· Lack of loyalty
· Easily frustrated, etc.

And although instant gratification feels wonderful in that moment, we continue on in our ways much to the future detriment of ourselves. We have lost the joy of sewing the seeds and watching a small sapling grow into a giant Sequoia. No one wants to dig in the dirt and get their hands dirty to even plant the seed and rather than waiting years for what will eventually become the marvelous Sequoia, we would rather have an everyday backyard Pine instantly instead. Some aren’t even aware that they could grow a Sequoia – the everyday Pine is all they know.

It isn’t until that moment where we plant that seed and give up on it thinking it was never going to grow only to return later in our travels to that spot to find General Sherman (Worlds Largest Sequoia Tree) before us where we forgot we had planted the seed, that we realize the beauty of long-term investment. We have become so accustomed to putting in little work and having things immediately that many of us don’t know the worth of putting in work on the “ground level” in hopes to reap the benefits of our labor further down the line. Those who put in little work for immediate return are stuck continuing that never-ending cycle of little work, little return. Accomplishing great things takes great time, but once you have reached that goal your return will be far greater than you could imagine and now for that same little work you put in your return will be tri-fold, all because of initial hard work and patience.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Idiot Gear

They always say if you go looking for something you will find it… and promise if you test the theory it will continue hold true for you. But the true test is to fight your human nature and the curiosity that is innate and be strong enough to leave things as they are without ever wondering what it is you would have found had you not gone looking; and if you’re not strong enough to fight your instinct then pray your strong enough to deal with your findings.

Dr. Walter Bishop*

Dr. Walter Bishop* (a character from Fringe – not a real doctor) was explaining to a group of children a similar theory. He stated that imagine as a child you believe that there is something hiding beneath your bed. Now as long as you remain in your bed grasping your covers as a security blanket you remain safe from what ever lies underneath. It is not until that crucial moment where you must know what lies hidden that danger begins to present itself. Up until that moment you were safe, in bed, under your blanket with only the day ahead to worry about, but instead of settling for this peace, you allow yourself to worry about what is hiding under the bed. Now of course you could look and find that you were imagining everything and there was truly nothing hidden, but if this were the stronger possibility you would have never been concerned in the first place. The greater likelihood is that you look underneath to reveal a Monster that then leaps from under the bed and consumes you whole. Now you lie in the belly of a beast wishing that you had just remained in the bed under your security blanket, because had you not gone looking for monsters, you wouldn’t have found monsters.

Monster under the Bed 

Thanks to incredible storyteller and hip-hop artist Louis Logic, I affectionately call this symptom “The Idiot Gear.” The idiot gear is when you don’t want to know something, but you just have to know, even though you are aware that acquiring the knowledge will probably be to the detriment of you. Now having been consumed by a monster before, you think I would have learned to not go looking for monsters again, but that idiot gear always tends to get the best of me. Now in my years I have found a solution to the idiot gear, but its easier said than done – the simple solution is to have faith and trust… but if your anyone who has been through anything ever, you know that having faith and trust is a lot easier said than done, but if you can… I encourage everyone to do so – if not have a weapon when you go hunting for monsters so that when you do find them you can at least battle it to the death!