Week 3: Read and Respond to Ch 4 - Visual Networks

Visual networks: Learning and photosharing by Guy Merchant expounds upon the value of a visual social networks. His article focuses on the photo sharing network Flickr and how people have used this site to communicate idea and communities in far more interactive ways than we had in the past using just printed photos. His article opens with a story about a graffiti event that took place in his hometown and how this community of street illegal artists lead him into the world I flickr and a lager social network of like-minded individuals.

I feel that if this article were written today it would have focused on Instagram the largest social network of photos and videos. Instagram has taken this the idea of Flickr and photosharing as a social network to the mobile platform. Cell phone cameras have also improved to the point where average photographers can take beautiful in focus pictures with high resolution. Instragram has taken it even further by allowing average users access to photo editing software that was only available to the most skilled Photoshop users. The social aspect of visual content has transformed photos and video forever. We hashtag photos and build communities around like-minded people based solely on the images that were take with their cell phones.

One of my dreams is to walk the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail and I’m just not able to do that given my time constraints but through Instagram I was able to follow 5 hikers this summer as they made their way north in the though hike of the PCT. There as a community of people encouraging each other, and I even left water on the trail where I thought they might be helping in their 2000 mile trek and I only knew them though this photo sharing site.

I believe that visual media and networks will over take more traditional networks such as Facebook because it is far less offensive. Images can be interpreted in many ways. When I see post on Facebook supporting Trump and calling for Mexican immigrants to be kicked out of America I automatically recoil. Do we really need to know the political beliefs of our friends, I’m just there for the pictures for they tell a much happier story than the written words of our friends.