by Pete Ashton for Metapod Connect

Social Media is all about telling stories

My Flickr Story

2001: Gave up on film
Went on holiday Shot 15 rolls of film Cost £70 to develop 99% rubbish Photography not for me

2002: L'espion
Bought a teeny little camera Kept on belt Took random photos Put "best" in grid on my website

2003: Affordable digital camera
Cost under £150 Could preview shots Photos effectively free Could share online that day

2004: Joined Flickr

Found Birmingham Flickr Group
Set up by Andy...

...who them moved to Bristol

Group self-organises
Using discussion area of group members start suggesting projects Most fail to gain traction Some succeed

Meeting up offline

Three people turn up We walk around Digbeth and take photos together

May 2006: Flickrmeets take form
12 people turn up Nobody has met before offline Walk around Jewellery Quarter for 2 hours 250 photos uploaded and added to group

June 2006: Formalised Flickrmeets
Set up Birmingham Flickrmeets group Meets have occured every month since 7,300 photos of Birmingham in pool 381 members 5 - 40 people attend each meet

More self-organising
Someone suggests approaching Artsfest 17 people get passes Photograph whole festival 900 photos Tagged and mapped

Empowering the group
Anyone who contributed becomes an Admin This gives them the remit and motivation to contribute more They can also make new Admins No-one owns the group So everyone owns the group 2007, I step away Have been to two in last year

2006-7 Developing my art

Through the viewfinder
Stu brings strange camera to Flickrmeet His photos are in TTV group Instructions on how to make one are in group Also community to advice of taking better photos

Better photographer
Learning by comparison Learning by observation Hands-on experience with kit Feedback from peers Feedback from strangers (via search, etc) Motivation to shoot and share

Better person
Long-term friendships Out of social comfort zone Connected with my city Part of a bigger thing

Niche interest as conduit

Significant outcomes

Lowering barriers to entry. Personal journeys overlapping with others. Mechanism to experiment. High failure rate acceptable. Ownership of community by the community. Don't see themselves as "artists"

There is no Birmingham Flickr Community
It's a process, not a product. Also, it's not an organisation, nor does it see itself as an organisation. Just a part of people's lives.

Birmingham Flickr photos taken from:

Things that motivate fans - Sharing emotion - Building identities - Collecting intelligence - Sharing interpretations - Creating for each other Nancy Baym's Relating to Fans talk

How the Internet amplifies fandom - Transcends distance - Provides infrastructure - Supports archiving - Enables new forms of engagement - Reduces social distance between fan and artist

Online Communities

Online Communities

Nature of Online Communities

Nature of Online Communities
Not all negative actions are trolling. Often can be cured by dialogue.

If community has ownership, will defend and clean up. Messiness is part of the process.

Nature of Online Communities
Operating outside of time and space constraints.

Insignificant details are important.

Failure is Cheap and Good
Nothing to lose and everything to gain. If it works, develop it. If it fails, learn and try something else. Success is relative. 5 happy people is 5 happy people. Good enough is good enough.

World Beach Project
Sue Lawty - artist in residence Reluctant blogger Talked about work on blog Feedback from people inspired to copy her V&A created system to encourage this

Social Capital
Do good things and people remember. Give help and others more likely to help you back. Also a motivation to help strangers. Selfish? For the wider good?

The more you give away, the more you gain. Give away control and ownership as well as stuff.

This makes sense to small social groups. Doesn't always make sense to large organisations and brands. Challenge is finding middle ground. Tara Hunt - The Whuffie Factor

Power of Information Task Force

Power of Information Task Force
"A small group of mums can reach an audience of hundreds of thousands. They do not need a large organisation with an expensive IT support system or technological expertise. "If 30,000 parents were meeting in a park or football stadium to share information and tips about parenting, government would take notice. "Citizens are helping each other in online communities, and working towards the same goals as government on a range of issues, from parenting to health and financial management." Hilary Armstrong MP

Ambient Social Environments
No commitment No obligation No membership No requirements

Ambient Social Environments

Ambient Social Environments
Offhand comment on Twitter. Starts as a joke and a game. As more join in it begins to take shape. People offer their time, skills and equipment.

Ambient Social Environments
Why? Organisers had good social capital. Guided the project but didn't take ownership unless necessary Project belongs to everyone who contributes

The Internet routes around blockages

Traditionally a monopoly on provision
Lowered barriers to entry destroy this monopoly. Information and skills resources online. Media production tools on PCs. Online services to share them. cf Flickr

So how does it work?
or, what is Web 2.0 really?


Metadata is also Social
"There are lots of elements that make something 'interesting' (or not) on Flickr. "Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. "Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic content and stories are added to Flickr."

Activity online produces data. This data can be processed by computers.

In summary then...
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Or something like that.

Let's figure it out together.