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Online Photo Journaling
Scrapbooks, photo albums, and journaling are finding new niches and combinations in blogging and vlogging.
By Stephen Lambeth
Whenever someone has a story to share about their travels, the birth of a new baby, or a dinner party with friends, stories abound online in blogs and vlogs. The blog (web log) originated as a forum and online community for people to editorialize their lives online. Blogging as a means of getting one’s stories out in the Internet ether has boomed over the last 5 to 10 years. People have more recently begun using their blogs as a means to distribute their photos along with stories―photo journaling online.
Vlogging is a form of blogging, but is based in video rather than written journaling. A vlog is a video log and provides a new, exciting form of online expression; there is, however, a much greater sense of preparation and production with vlogging in contrast to blogging. With the speed of the Internet and connectivity around the globe, vlogging is slowly becoming equally interesting and widespread as blogging alone.
Photo Journaling & Online Scrapbooks
Photo journaling, by definition, is documentation using photography. Many companies and organizations, including NASA, use photo journals to document new developments or progress. Photo journaling on its own is nothing new, but the blogosphere (the collective blogging community) is adding their online twist.
Most, if not all, blogging sites allow users to post digital photos to their blogs. There are also blogging sites that allow users to either select a canned layout for their blog, or design a unique custom layout themselves. When a blogger takes their simple blog to the level of photo journaling with a custom design, the blog can verge on becoming an online scrapbook.
Social Responsibility Awareness
Blogging carries its own set of rules for online etiquette, including disclaimers if it contains adult material. Caution is always warranted when posting sensitive material, such as work-related issues, and even work-based photos. Hiring companies more than ever are searching, finding, and reviewing personal blogs to discover more about potential candidates than exists on a resume or comes forth during an interview. A potential candidate would fair best not having compromising photos surfacing after a job-winning interview. Moreover, if a current employer finds an employee’s blog containing distinctly prohibited photos, employers can legally and without recourse fire the employee. It is vital for bloggers and vloggers to be aware of their social and work-related responsibilities before posting stories, videos, and photos online.
Outside, but also attached to the blogosphere, there is an increasing number of websites, dedicated to photography, which allow their users to add comments to the photos they post. Picasa, Flickr, and Kodak are a few of many such websites. These sites in particular also provide online security for photos and photo albums. Most of these sites allow users to keep their albums private or to open them to the public. By opening up album to the public, users expose themselves to a greater set of online etiquette rules. It is important to be aware of one’s rights to the photos as well as the rules of the site where one is posting pictures and photo journals.
Most photography sites provide free access, use, and storage of a certain amount of space for photos and albums. If a blogger or vlogger wants to maintain multiple larger albums for an extended period, they can opt to pay for the service, thereby increasing both the storage capacity for their albums, as well as the length of time the albums will remain available. It is always advisable to read the expectations of the photography site before signing up, even if the site says it is free. These sites are out there to make money after all.
It is amazing the technology that the online community has at its disposal, and the technology does not have to remain digital; it can become physical. Another aspect of online photography sites includes access to associated vendors for printing the photos a blogger posts. The great thing about these vendors is that some of them offer photo books or albums that can be custom-made. Instead of sending off all the photos to be printed (which can get expensive), select a few pictures for a book. Make storybook entries below the pictures and have the book printed. They can become great holiday gifts or one-off memory holders for the family.
Many online photography and blogging sites are beginning to incorporate video capability. Many a vacationer takes videos with their point-and-click cameras for short instances of memories, such as videos of birds singing in the trees, street performers, or panoramic videos of a landscape that includes a voiceover. Bloggers are slowly beginning to cross lines from simply text and photos to amateur vloggers without realizing it!
Benefits of Online Photo Journals
Though there are a few drawbacks to blogging, vlogging, and photo journaling online, the benefits often outweigh the drawbacks (as long as users maintain good online etiquette). Vacation photos can tell friends and family the chronological, fun story of the travels. The same is true for a new family addition, such as finding and bringing home a new pet. Photographing, videoing, and journaling the process might help another family member or friend find it easier to do themselves.
Some more interesting and creative photo-journalistic sets can simply be picture-specific stories. Once a photo journal has been completed online, distribution of the album and its stories is made easy at once to a greater audience in digital or physical.