This week’s reading was intriguing. As the author begins speaking about graffiti and the social group associated with it, I thought about my own experiences attempting to understand graffiti growing up. The graffiti artists were labeled delinquents and often associated with gangs. Most of the time charged with defacing private property. While I don’t agree with graffiti, it does create a visual network whether just for fun, the thrill, defining home turf, or art.
The author ties his experience with graffiti culture to Flickr. I have a Flickr account and although I don’t use it often, I have never really thought about it as a tool for creating visual networks. Instead, I’m practicing what is referred to as “networked individualism.” I have a photo album and I keep it private, sharing only occasionally with family and close friends. I’m now thinking of defining a photo album with a theme and making it public just to see what happens. Just over a year ago I took up photography as a hobby, I could use this as a method to network while displaying my photos. Until reading this, I was not aware that Flickr allowed for the creation of tags. This is something worth exploring, while working to become a more active and public participant within the Flickr world.
I appreciate the real examples of how other users interact with Flickr and create visual networks. These examples help support creating a Flickr Identity. While I’m not sold on establishing “friends” through Flickr because, similar to Facebook, people that follow you are not necessarily real friends. This is something that I find hollow about virtual relationships. Although there are meaningful interactions within the defined space, I doubt any “friends” would show up to help you out of a jam? A bit cynical, I know, but they likely would not.
I do agree that Flickr can be a learning resource. By utilizing Flickr we can engage in conversation and discover what could be new interests. As an amateur photographer it would be a great resource to see how others tackle the subjects I find interesting.