Back to Flickr

Now that a big group of people I know have been energized by the resurgence of Flickr I am noticing something. Flickr was built well before the rise if the more “modern” social sites and lacks at least a few of the features that we’ve all come to expect. The one most glaring omission is the lack of a “like” button. Flickr asks us to not like a photo, but instead mark it as a favorite. I never really used that much, reserving it for truly favorite photos. It seemed like that was the case for a lot people. Now that we’ve bounced back to Flickr I am getting “favs” all the time. It seems to me that the feature sets of Instagram and Facebook has altered the way we use an older platform. It has made Flickr much more social and I like that.


Instagram’s About Face

I had a feeling this would happen … and I would love to see the usage logs for the instagram app over the last few days. I can say from an anecdotal perspective that my personal instagram dashboard was very lean. For the time being I am going to continue to focus my photo sharing energy on flickr and the new iOS app they released. If the folks at flickr really wanted to win they’d release something that is universal and works just as perfectly on the iPad as it does on my iPhone.

The concerns we heard about from you the most focused on advertising, and what our changes might mean for you and your photos. There was confusion and real concern about what our possible advertising products could look like and how they would work.Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising section to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October 2010.

via Instagram Blog.

Under Pressure

Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word and love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves. This is our last dance. This is our last dance. This is ourselves … Under pressure … Under pressure. Pressure.

From the Instagram Blog … We are Listening

I see this kind of language quite a bit in contracts and licenses I look at before passing it along to our legal team here at the university … essentially a company wants you to grant them the right to display your content on their site to avoid a copyright violation claim. In this instance, I am not sure that is the case, but I doubt Instagram is trying to steal and sell your photos. I do think it is worth watching for a week or so as people react and Instagram does some more explaining. For now I am going to post photos to flickr again … at least until I can figure out what is going on. The fact that Kevin Systrom (Instagram co-founder) is posting a note trying to explain what is going on and what they really mean is encouraging; but it still gives me renewed pause as I wrap my head around what we exchange for a free service instead of money.

Advertising on Instagram … From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.

via Thank you, and we’re listening – Instagram Blog.

See Ya, Instagram

See Ya Instagram by colecamp
See Ya Instagram, a photo by colecamp on Flickr.

I am bailing on Instagram … for now. Until I can better understand the terms and conditions of their new license agreement I’m just not going to use it. May be an overreaction, but only a week removed from saying I was done with flickr I’ve decided to stay. All of a sudden paying $25.00 to have some semblance of control seems like a great idea. When you add in the new flickr iOS app it is a no-brainer until I figure this out.

Why iPhone Only?


Seriously why is it that apps like the new YouTube capture app and the Instagram app don’t do iPad or universal versions? I do quite a bit on the iPad mini and it is an ideal device for photo and video creation, editing, and posting.

Is Curiosity Enough?

From an opinion piece in the Chronicle, Doug Guthrie, Dean of the Gearge Washington University business school writes,

In our haste to join the academic alphas, many of us are forgoing the reflection necessary to enter this new medium. Our resolve to act swiftly belies the serious nature of this next phase of higher education’s evolution. There are critical pedagogical issues at stake in the online market, and MOOC’s have not done nearly enough to deal with those concerns.

I’ll start by saying that I agree. But this wouldn’t be a post without something more. While I know that Coursera (and the others) aren’t living up to the standards set forth in our on campus online learning programs, they are breaking new ground that will transform the way we deliver, consume, accredit, design, and accept learning. My colleague, friend, and fellow co-director in the Penn State Center for Online Innovation in Learning, Kyle Peck told me, there is something important about embracing our natural sense of curiosity. He heard that while visiting Duke and listening to one of their executives talk about one of the reasons for participating in the MOOC run — that Duke itself embraces and promotes a culture of innovation and curiosity. I love that … and here is a real reason why — I know we do very innovative things here at Penn State, but I am not sure if we take risks based on natural curiosity that can push us beyond where we’ve been. Where have we been? We’ve built some of the best publishing tools in higher education, we’ve constructed some of the most interesting physical spaces in higher education, and we do it at a scale that is hard to ignore.

But with that said we don’t think about spaces that let us reach 100,000 …

Why should we be impressed that an online course can reach 100,000 students at once? By celebrating massification, advocates of Coursera elevate volume as the chief objective of online learning. Is that truly our goal in academe?

Why am I impressed? As an educational technologist I am impressed because Coursera and the others give me a chance to learn — not by taking one of their courses, but by having a sense of how they deliver to that many. Our course management system is getting pounded this week as students flock to it to take finals. As I write this, there are close to 85,000 students here at Penn State with at least one course in that system. It operates at scale, but could I add a single section of 50,000? No way. I am extremely curious about how that gets done.

I am also curious about how we can take what we know about designing learning for our online audiences and scale that. Without Coursera I couldn’t get a group of 20 highly placed people to gather around a table and engage in conversations that we all laughed about no more than six months ago. These environments can be real opportunities to engage ourselves in new conversations — to engage our creative spirits to really make a difference. If we can challenge the traditional delivery space of our institutions instead of propping it up we can fundamentally change the ways higher education is delivered, assessed, and viewed. My thought is if we aren’t joining these conversations we are in for a very bumpy future.

No doubt MOOC’s will lead to innovations in the online delivery of education, just as the Internet brought about innovations in delivering news content. Yet already institutions have started down the path of the print industry by not broadly envisioning how best to deliver and customize the material and leverage the power of real-time data.

And that is what is so damn exciting about where we are with this. We are being called on to lead a conversation on our campuses like never before! I’ve watched industries be disrupted by the Internet and technology — music, movies, news — and they all laughed at the movements even as they were being steamrolled. Is this our Napster moment? Perhaps. If it is I am going to act on my curiosity to figure out where the future is headed and build on the momentum Coursera and the others are providing.