ZZ Top, 1970 pic.twitter.com/YZJUvxlQah
— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPics) October 14, 2014
Everyone is writing a Steve Jobs tribute article. I’m not, but I will give you the formula to selecting an evocative photo for your tribute. It’s pretty easy.
Setting the appropriate tone for your tribute can be easily achieved by selecting the right photo.
I‘m grateful to Bree Carlson, a friend currently working on her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, for taking the photos above (they’re stitched together). They’re full of surprises, but to understand what’s happening you’ll need some context.
When thru-hikers get to the ceremonial halfway point — the Appalachian Trail Conference in Harper’s Ferry, WV — they take a photo. In the old days, like 1990 when I rolled through, Jean Cashin of the ATC used a Polaroid instant camera. Today it looks like they’re using a digital camera. A hiker’s pedigree is written on the photo: real name, trail name, residence, date of the photo, and the hiker number that season. The ATC counts of all the thru hikers that come to the office, every year. Unlike 1990, it looks like they’re also including the start date and email address of the thru-hiker.
First, if you didn’t notice, Bree had her photo taken 21 years to the day after mine, on June 14. Sitting here in Massachusetts, I think that’s a little trail magic. It’s a positive omen. Watching Bree from afar, it tells me Bree’s going to finish her thru-hike. It’s not just about coincidence. I had different kind of good omen the first week I was on the Trail, and I rode it all the way to Maine.
Surprise number two: look at how many people are thru-hiking! Bree is hiker 424. In 1990 I was 99. That’s a 328% increase in the number of hikers at the ATC by June 14. Walking in 1990 I met another thru-hiker every 4 or 5 days, but today it’s a crowd. It’s hard for me to believe the increased popularity in thru-hiking, because walking more than 2,000 miles, from Georgia to Maine, isn’t a stroll through the woods. It’s hard work. Why are so many people hiding out on the Trail?
And I bet the little businesses that grow-up along the Trail are probably doing well.
Update: The ATC recently went live with a new hiker photo archive — they’ve scanned all the photos from 1979 to the present, tagged them in a searchable database, and it works. Here’s my photo page with info about the other hikers in the photo. And below, the uncropped photo:
Top photos used with permission of Bree Carlson.
Don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, but yesterday I did a little experiment that’s going to change the way I write and publish blog posts. I learned that the more generous I am with crediting photographers who offer their photos with a Creative Commons license on Flickr, the more traffic my blog will get.
When I publish a post, often I’ll find an accompanying Creative Commons photo on Flickr; they’re easy to find using the advanced search. As long as I give credit to the photographer with a link back to the original photo, I’m not really obligated to do anything else. But yesterday I went back and contacted each photographer whose photo I used in a post, giving thanks and a link back to my post with their photo.
What most of the photographers did next was the great thing: not only did they visit my blog, but they also posted a link to the post on their Facebook pages, which drove more traffic to my blog. Moreover, it looks like some of those people subscribed to my RSS feed.
To recap: I spent about 30 seconds per photographer contacting them, and they were kind enough give a link back to my blog. I hope they feel as good about this “transaction” as I do. Thank you Creative Commons, and thank you photographers.
Photo (CC) micah.e (thanks!)
It’s Christmas Eve, but we’re still hard at work on the Photo Share Podcast (and we’ll be putting out a podcast on New Year’s eve too). In case you haven’t heard, Photo Share Podcast is the only Flickr related podcast currently being produced. This episode takes another leap forward: our first audio comment came in from our photo of the week winner, Paul Specht. For this alone you should check out the podcast; Paul gives us some great info and tips about working with medium format and cross processing film photography. And we started a new feature: highlighting Flickr mash ups. I hope you like it.
I live in a dinky little town: Sunderland, Massachusetts, though it’s weird sort of town. It’s a farm and bedroom community for a college town (Amherst and UMass). There’s still many farmers in town, and I live on a farm. You can check out some photos from Sunderland on my Flickr group. And for more old-time photos from around Western Massachusetts, you can check out the Digital Treasures project.
We finally went live with the Photo Share Podcast! Boy, if you have any intention of making a good podcast, with a nice site, good audio quality, and some compelling content, it takes a lot of work. Really, more than I ever thought, and I advise people about podcasting every day. But I wanted to do it right. For more than 6 months I worked on this podcast: looking for a host, thinking of a title, getting the website set-up, learning about audio production, working with my friend Ian Callahan on a graphic design, doing a demo show . . . all the time adds up.
Given that we have a podcast about sharing photos online, you should check out the Photo Share Podcast Flickr group. Thanks!
In preparation for launching my new Web sites/businesses, I’ve begun cranking up the amount of energy I spend on using the Web for networking. I guess that means going from no energy to some energy. I have never been very good at putting myself into circulation, so it’s not a big surprise that I struggle doing that online.
Currently I’m concentrating on 3 tools to help build more traffic to this site: my Flickr page, my Facebook profile, and soon I’ll start building an email list using Constant Contact to reach out to potential users of my sites. First I’ll ask people on billweye.com to subscribe then snowball that subscription list from there. As that traffic builds, I’ll introduce new projects to my growing readership, which will hopefull check-out what I’m doing.
The most experience I have so far is with Flickr, and that has been pretty good at driving traffic to this site. I’ve added some relatively popular photos, and with those alone embossed the photos with this website address. If you dig around my Flickr page it shouldn’t be that hard to discover what might be so popular.
Facebook I have just started using, but thus far I’m impressed with the ease of use. In terms of driving traffic, I don’t have any kind of data yet, but I’ll let you know when the numbers come in! Frankly, I’m not sure I would use Facebook if it weren’t the fact that I can post on both this blog and Facebook at the same time; Facebook has an application that hooks into this blog and grabs each post so that my “notes” mirror this site. Nice touch.
So, how have you worked to increase traffic to your websites?
Go take a look on Flickr and see what people think is evil. These are photos that people have tagged with “evil”. Some of the photos are kind of funny, like this one of “Evil Bert,” but there are also photos of land mines, clowns, dogs . . . well, at this point there are 20,244 photos of evil.