Dec 06

Of widgets and collaborations

The light is still dim, but it is dawning on me that blogs are about acting in public. In this age of collaboration, acting in public is pretty complex: it is possible to do a great deal, with a great many partners, and thus have a great many stories to tell. Blogging, as far as I can tell, seems to involve a change of mindset, so that others–your readers–become somehow present with you in your experience of daily activity: an element of your awareness is that others will want to experience what you are experiencing, too. So you become an agent of experience for others. You become a storyteller, by habit, and a public storyteller: almost a publicist. This cuts against the grain of a lot of folks, and I’m one of them. But I’m determined to make the transition, if I can: that’s the way the wind is blowing. Or to put the matter in the language of Plato’s Republic, this change is both possible, and good: it is possible, because the lowered cost of collaboration and communication makes it relatively easy to bring others into your world, your experience; it is good, for the same reason that friendship is good. (Let’s leave that as an exercise for later:)

All that is a preamble to an experiment: I need to learn to upload and share images not just generically, but in collaboration bins, so to speak. Tagging photos (or anything else) is one way to put them into bins, and it allows readers to sort them as they like. But if that were enough, we’d need just a single blog, with lots of authors and tagged messages. That would take too much of a reader’s time. So we have other methods: blog titles, for example, help convey information to interested groups. The Notre Dame extended Research Community (NDeRC) is organized by interest groups, which we call collaborations. So I need to figure out how to take and quickly upload images–worth a thousand words apiece–so that they are dropped into collaboration bins. Flickr makes it possible to “bin” your images into sets, and to embed just that set. So here’s an Astrophysics image set. As soon as I figure out how to send images to that set directly, I’ll be able to more efficiently tell astronomy stories to people interested in astronomy: my astronomy collaborators.  A work in progress….