I recently attended a conference and traded part of my conference registration fee for photographic services during the event. It was a great way to attend the conference at a reduced rate, get a close-up look at the proceedings of the event, and spend some time behind the lens of a camera – a place I’m usually pretty happy to be. I met with the conference organizers before the event to talk about their goals for the documentation of the week’s program. One of their primary goals was to allow all conference participants to take and upload their own photos to a collaboratively authored collection that would reflect the diversity of the community. I loved the idea of seeing photos taken by participants from across the globe on a single site, but what would be the easiest way to collect these photos in one central, shared spot. We kicked around a few ideas, and eventually settled on the use of posterous.com as a central repository.
Posterous is a site designed to make the sharing of digital materials “simpler, more fun, and just plain awesome”, and based on my experience, they’ve done just that. Posterous allows users to create a free online space to share media (text, photos, videos) with networks you create. They can be private groups, small or large, for your family, neighborhood, high school graduating class or squash club. They can be private – only visible to invited participants, or wide open to the public for viewing or collective posting. In our case, it was important to have a space that anyone could post to and anyone could view.
After creating a Posterous space, we received an email address which was given to all conference participants, who could upload text, photo collections, or videos, simply by sending an email with this content. Below is a screenshot examples of a photo gallery post from the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) 2011 Conference on posterous.com.
The site is extremely easy to set up. Simply sign up for a free account, select the name of your site and decide if it will be open, in which case anyone can post, but submissions still wait for moderator permission before being posted to the live site, or closed, in which case you invite specific users. The posterous site receives a url based on the site title you choose, as well as a simple email address you can share with users for mobile posting. Then, simply send in text, still images or videos for posting. The subject line of the email message becomes the title of the post and the body of the message will be the body of the post. Sound easy? That’s because it is.
But it’s not the only easy way. At a recent event for the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Digital Union student staff manager and culture team representative, Queenie Chow, devised a similar collective photo authoring approach through flickr. Below are her quick and easy steps for creating a flickr account for shared posting of images.
- Sign up for a Flickr account http://www.flickr.com/.
- Visit http://www.flickr.com/account/uploadbyemail/ to set up a unique email address for contributions.
- Distribute this unique email address to the group. Any photos sent to this address via email or text will be automatically posted onto your Flickr account.
Also easy! Participants don’t need to sign up, create an account or click any user agreements, just send your photo(s) to the email listed, and collective photo posting begins.
In a world where citizen journalists outnumber professional journalists, and where programs and events are being documented by participants of all ages and backgrounds, it’s a great idea to find a way to capture and share the documentary processes that surround us and the work that we do. Let us know if you use one of these methods or have another approach that’s worked for you. We’d love to share your story!