Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Originally uploaded by WayneMethod.

Sweet, huh?

Lots of people on Flckr think it is great to post pictures of their babies and children on Flickr.

Like here, here and here. These are all very cute babies and I like to look at them. I have quite a few contacts who show baby pictures and I love to see their children grow through the photos. Even though I have never met these people in REAL life I feel lucky and priveleged to have this tiny share in their world.

The links to Flickr pictures I put in this post (above) were simply found by selecting 'baby' from the tag cloud here. The fact that the word 'baby' appears in the cloud shows that 'baby' is one of the most common tags.

So, it seems that people are unafraid of showing images of their babies, their treasured family. The fact that they have chosen to tag the photo so that it will be found in this way reflects a desire for the picture to be seen by people beyond a known group. Beyond friends and family. Beyond 'contacts'. It invites a wider audience to look.

So there are some people who have lost their fear, or who never had a fear, of showing images on the web.

I learn here that there is at least one family nervous of sharing baby images. And there are plenty of people to tell us that paedophiles are interested in such images.

Quite a number of people at my workspace have recently asked to have their photographs removed from the University website, because of worries about others misusing these images in some way.

As Guy identifies there are many reasons why people fear the Internet. As time goes on we may become MORE or LESS worried about putting our images on the net. When I first had a blog I did not have my photo on it; now I do. I have loads of pix of me on my Flickr stream and Trois Tetes has put lots of them on his Flickr stream (some of which are HATEFUL.)

I feel like the more that pictures of individuals are uploaded to the Internet, the less potent it is; if you go down a dark alley on your own it is dangerous. If you go in a crowd, it is less so.

Thinking about a different kind of technology, when telephone directories were first published, they were huge fat books and every telephone user was listed. At that time, one had to pay to go 'ex-directory'. Gradually oit has become the norm not to be listed and we do not have to pay to be excluded from the accessible list. This was a process where people took control and denied access to their telephone numbers. Reasons were many, such as to avoid the intruisive nature of 'cold calling'; or to escape the way some kids used to make 'joke calls'; or to deny access to weirdoes who made sex calls or threatening calls etc.

Maybe we will see a similar kind of withdrawal of access to identifying factors on the Internet. We will have to watch and see.


Kate said...

I actually like images of real people on the web and was pleased when a student (and a Rotherham taxi driver) said sure go ahead and blog me.
I agree there is this wonderful opening up of images through Flickr.
I wonder why people are so afriad.
Is it because of this notion of the gaze being bound up with problematic images?
THat we assoicate photography with some forms of representation which we don't like?
let's reclaim the space
just like the old reclaim the night marches.

Chris Best said...

My sister in law is about to have the first child of our next generation any day now... very exciting for the soon-to-be Uncle Chris!

guy said...

Yeah, go on blog me! (Famous for a nano-second)

Fascinating post DrJ. Don't you think the ex-directory effect already exists - except now it's corporate and institutional. I'm sure you lot have an intranet that's password protected - so do businesses and local authorities.

Joolz said...

You are already really famous DrGuy. And you are right as usual; that intranet and passwording thing is the equivalent of ex directory ... and existed from the word go. I am silly to forget that the internet ws initialy a way of tranmitting secret information.

Chris Best said...

My sister in law had her baby this morning (UK time). Mikayla Grace - cute huh?

About Me

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Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.