17 April, 2011

Two Complaints (Re: Cosplay Photos)

If you haven't seen my addendum to my last post, I'm giving you a head's up here - it contains information about the DeathCom photos I appear in.

I just wanted to take a moment to voice two complaints I have re: searching through people's cosplay photos from the con (now two weeks past). And both of these things seem to be a casualty of modern internet culture. Now I don't want to sound like I'm whining about how young people are choosing to express themselves these days, it's just that there are a few practical matters that make my searching through con photos and looking for pics of myself a lot harder.

First of all, there's the concept of privacy settings. It doesn't make much sense to post a public link to a private photo gallery. Granted, this usually happens by mistake, but I see people trying to fix it, and the gallery still comes up as private. And no, friending random strangers to see their private pictures isn't the best solution. I know, Facebook (and no, I'm not afraid to name names) is trying to 'protect kids from themselves' (that is, protect them from others by preempting their own alleged 'stupidity') by setting recommended privacy defaults and making it really complicated to change them. The end result is a mess of confusion and a bunch of pictures I should be able to view, but can't.

The other complaint I have is that it seems like a very hip thing to post slideshows on YouTube featuring the pictures you took mixed in with the random videos you took, with a song of your choice (bound to agree with only a small percentage of your audience's tastes) playing over top. Okay, so it's really 'cool' and everything, but it's a pain in the ass for people who are there to see the pictures you took, and not to get to know you better by viewing your little creative montage (which I get the feeling is often created on the fly by some sort of automated program).

It takes me a matter of seconds to scan through a picture gallery, and spot the pictures I want to look at, or the pictures that have someone in them I know. I have to sit for a few minutes (or up to eight minutes and more) to watch your slideshow montage. And if I do see an image I like, it's prohibitively difficult for me to download it and save it in my archives. Now, in other cases, there are issues about creator rights and stealing and all that, but con photos are largely (being the rule rather than the exception) shared to be shared, and it's 1) excepted that people like to collect con photos they like, and 2) generally expected that people will want to keep a copy of any photos they themselves turn up in (and are therefore usually provided the opportunity without having to go out of their way to ask - and remember, this isn't professional photography we're talking about). So this isn't a case of me saying, "you should make it easier for me to steal your photos", it's a case of me lamenting that this particular venue of expression makes it extremely difficult to first locate and then save the pictures I'm looking for, that are there for me to find anyway.

I figure most people just go and do what they're used to, without thinking very long or hard about what level of user-friendliness their audiences will experience. And Facebook and YouTube are very popular. And yes, I guess a slideshow montage is more 'exciting' than a boring photo gallery. I'd like to see more people, however, take a little more time to consider their audiences when they share. You can have your slideshow montage and all that, but maybe provide some options, so people can make choices for their own convenience. Provide some kind of organization for the media you have, so people can find it and look through it more easily, and know what they can expect to find. And no, it's not any sort of requirement, but it's only polite (and responsible) to post a link to your media on the official con forum if you have any expectation of other con-goers being able to view/find that media.

1 comment:

  1. A very minor reply to a very minor aspect of your post but... For the record, as a man who spends most of his spare time conversing with youths on the internet, I can say I've never seen anyone as gullible as internet youths are supposed to be. I've seen nothing but resounding sense and caution from them, either they've been taught well or they're simply smart.

    In fact, everyone my age that I know is about 1/100th as mature as all the 13 year olds I know. With people my age you see all kinds of pissing contests, ego and drama.

    Children are supposed to be childish, and yet I never see that on twitter except for a couple people. And the biggest baby I know on twitter is 24. And a male. I try not to be sexist but when I know 8 women to every male, I have to wonder why it's the males who are the insecure sadsacks despite the ratio favoring them. Perhaps the women are all insecure and tortured on the inside, but at least you have to give them insane props for having the maturity and strength to act civilized despite it.