How to properly attribute photos in blog posts.

I have been struggling to find a quick and easy way, or a perferred format for crediting images that I use in my blog posts. After some searching, I stumbled upon these guidelines from +Creative Commons:

Examples of attribution

Here is a photo. Following it are some examples of how people might attribute it.
8256206923 c77e85319e n.jpg

This is an ideal attribution

Because:
Title? “Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco”
Author? “tvol” – linked to his profile page
Source? “Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco” – linked to original Flickr page
License? “CC BY 2.0” – linked to license deed

This is a pretty good attribution

Photo by tvol / CC BY
Because:
Title? Title is not noted (it should be) but at least the source is linked.
Author? “tvol”
Source? “Photo” – linked to original Flickr page
License? “CC BY” – linked to license deed

This is an incorrect attribution

Photo: Creative Commons
Because:
Title? Title is not noted.
Author? Creative Commons is not the author of this photo.
Source? No link to original photo.
License? There is no mention of the license, much less a link to the license. “Creative Commons” is an organization.

Best practices for attribution by Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 3.0

The Importance of Sharing

The hardest part about sharing is finding the courage to do it.

We spend so much time during our petty existence worrying about our image. Some of us worry about sharing too much, sharing things that are too personal, or sharing things that others may not like. We feel that we have a duty to ourselves to create and preserve a certain image from which others will perceive us.

Although creating boundaries and maintaining a positive image are admirable traits, by censoring yourself, you deny yourself the opportunity to share your most important thing, you perspective. As I said on a recent post, no one can see the world like you do.

Two of the most important books that I always keep on my bookshelf are Life’s Journeys and The World According to Mister Rogers. Now, I know it may sound childish to some of you, but the concepts that Mister Rogers taught me at such a young age will forever shape who I am as a person.

One of my favorite passages from The World According to Mister Rogers is this,

“Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.”

Each of us has a unique story to tell. Our perception of the world is shaped by the people with interact with, the situations we were born from the actions that we take throughout our life. As we continue to absorb more information, our decisions change over time. With the more knowledge that we accumulate, the better we are to reason, question and ponder issues that will shape the future for generations before us.

No matter what your opinion, whether it is left, right, or straight down the middle, you will never make an impact unless you share your thoughts and ideas. When we collaborate and exchanges these thoughts and ideas, we learn more about ourselves and apply the knowledge to making better decisions.

By sharing, you are giving someone else information that could completely change the way they see things. By sharing, you have the power to help people better understand themselves and the issues that we face in our overly complicated world today.

As you embark on the journey of sharing, you quickly learn things about yourself. You start to pay more attention to your inner dialog, you get a better understanding for the way that you think and process ideas. As you start to share these ideas, the transmission of them becomes much more fluent, and much more comfortable.

When you decide that censoring yourself, trying to preserve some artificial sense of anonymity or convince yourself that you can make an impact, it is finally time to tell your story.

Your story will develop over time. You will say things at one point that you will later disagree with. Each day, week, month, year and decade you will accumulate new information and a better understanding for the things you ponder every day. These experiences and this additional knowledge will shape your thoughts and perspective and allow you to paint a more complete picture later in your life.

However, as you learn and experience new things, it is incredibly important to challenge them, debate them and think about them. Expressing them openly is a great way to encourage others to discuss these matters with you. From those discussions you will form great relationships, some bonds which will last a lifetime, others which will whither away. However, from sharing your thoughts, your ideas, your arguments, your hypotheses and your experiences, you will allow someone else to see the world through your eyes.

The more perspectives that you are willing to view and the more shoes you are willing to try on, the greater understanding you will have of the world around you and the issues that matter to you most.

However, if no one shares their story, their thoughts, their opinions or their ideas, you will have nothing to think of other than your preconceived notions. Without additional information to change the way you think about things, you will be stuck in whatever mindset you already have.

By sharing, we enable each other to help make the world a better place, that’s why sharing is so important.

Special thanks to +Yonatan Zunger for providing the inspiration for this post. Had he not shared this earlier post (below), I would have been without the perspective I have today.


Don't Worry, Google+ Isn't Dead

Last night I was a bit puzzled when I came upon a breakdown of the interaction on my posts from 2013. The results weren’t in any way scientific and could possibly carry a certain margin of error (see the big gaping hole in my follower count?). Nonetheless, the folks at +CircleCount were kind enough to put together an immensely powerful tool that is second to none.

After reviewing my statistics, I started to review the statistics of others and realized that my numbers were down considerably compared to theirs. One of my favorite examples, +Paul Snedden, carried way more +1’s, comments and re-shares than I did (based on the number of followers). Paul’s raw engagement was only half of mine, but his follower count is less than 10% of mine. How could this be?

After being puzzled, I posted a thread on Google+ asking users if they were becoming bored of the network, or had noticed any recent in falloff in engagement. Plenty of people came armed with answers, suspicions and their two cents. There were some great analyses presented along with some profound comments (the post is embedded below).


The bottom line though is that there are plenty of people listening. In fact, there is so much more content being created that people have more to chose from. When the network looked like it was ebbing, it was actually flowing.

It turns out that Google+ is just following the footsteps of other social networks before it. The original “in crowd” gets grounded, sets up shop, brings the masses and then slowing recede away. In fact, I’m guilty of doing the same thing. I took a near 6-month hiatus earlier this year, only to come back more excited than I ever have been before.

Regardless of whether or not Google+ is or will continue to be successful, I want to make sure that I have a platform to catalog my ideas, my thoughts and my puzzles for you to put together. Posting them “in the stream” only creates the opportunity for them to get washed away and forgotten. Putting them on my blog where I can easily reference and organize them gives me hope that you will be able to come back, return and maybe even subscribe to these periodic rants.

Next year the game is going to change, though. I’m going to focus on sharing what’s important to me and how I think it can help you. One of those things, is usually Google’s free tools and services to make my life easier. It sounds hokey, and no I don’t get paid by Google to tell you any of this, but I have really found over the last year that by really adopting Google’s ecosystem and using the latest tools available (like my Android phone and Google Glass) I’m finding that everything is effortless, giving me more time to focus on the things that matter, like this blog.

I'm betting 2014 will be the year of long-form content.

Social media changed everything.

For a long time now, we have been conversing in short sentences. Curbing so many of our communications to under 140 characters, that some bloggers have taken to curbing their content as well, trying to hold onto whatever sliver of the American’s attention span that is left.

Do we all have ADD? Are we all incapable of reading a few paragraphs and getting through the entirety of one’s thoughts before forming our own opinions? Have we been reduced to exchanging memes and animated GIFs as each one of us tries to get wittier than the other?

At some point or another, it all needs to stop. We need to get back to what writers do best: sharing stories.

No, I’m not talking about the Cliff’s notes or the 15 second video. I’m talking about the 1,000 word essay, the 45-minute documentary, the high resolution portfolio that took months to perfect. I think it’s time for us to step away from the “quick and easy” and focus on investing some time an quality in the content we share.

The reason that so many of us create content isn’t because it feeds our family or keeps a roof over our head. The reason most of us create content to share freely is because we enjoy doing it. So what’s better than being the best at what you enjoy doing?

I think we are heading into a time where people focus less on the “idea of the moment” and start to hone in on the “concept that lasts.” Sure, we’ll still exchange puns and funny images that mock our popular culture, but those that are interested in creating things will focus less on the quick and easy, not so much on instant gratification but more on creating ideas and artwork worth spreading.

As everyone becomes an expert in “social media” the value of being a social media expert in cheapened. We have all figured out how to communicate with each other online. Some of us perhaps better than others, but we’ve all learned that creating an account, building a presence and carrying on a conversation isn’t all that hard. What’s really hard is creating a conversation that lasts.

I may be stepping out on a limb, but I really feel that this next year will be the year of carefully-curated, meticulously thought-of and passionately perceived long-form Internet content.

Getting all of the words in before…

Today I had some free time while we were out and about running errands. I spent the time listening to a few TED Talks hoping to gain some inspiration or learn something that I could apply towards something I am already doing. Although I didn’t come across anything earth shattering or mind bending, I did find a key takeaway from one of the talks about trying something different for 30 days.

In the talk, +Matt Cutts (a Google engineer) explains how easy and liberating it is to try something new for 30 days, but one of the ideas that he brought up was truly a novel concept: writing a book. According to Cutts, one of the hardest parts about this particular challenge was getting all of the words in every night (1,667, to be exact) before going to sleep.

Photo Courtesy Jeroen Bennink by Creative Commons 2.0

Now I won’t be hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro or biking 20 miles to work every day, but I think I want to take what I learned from this short talk and apply it towards my love for writing and sharing what I learn. Hopefully, if all goes well, every day for the next 30 days you should see a few paragraphs of ideas, suggestions and stories in my blog.

Keeping up with something (or anything) can be tedious. Our lives are already jam-packed with tasks, to dos and ever-increasing expectations from our employers and family. We need to be in 100 places at the same time getting 1000 things done before our heads hit the pillow. The problem with this lifestyle is that we don’t always get a chance to do what we love to do.

The 30 day challenge for me will be expanding by passion for writing by writing something new and engaging every day. It might not be the best collection of thoughts and ideas, but it will certainly be a consistent and thorough group of silly ideas, fun concepts and hard-learned lessons.

I hope you are looking forward to whats to come and help give me the encouragement I need to keep it going. Who knows? Maybe after 30 days I will find this is something I really love doing.