Saturday, November 2, 2013

Making the photo blog more fun

One of the things I try to do is to make my photo blog more fun. Sure - I have pages where you can see photos. I put photos in the blog feed etc. Today though it's time to address an important issue. That issue is Twitter and Foursquare.

Twitter is fine - it's a micro-blogging service that allows me to post updates from wherever I am via a mobile phone. There comes a point though where it's possible to share too much, as this fellow points out. It is, of course, obvious not to post where you are at all times in case somebody realises you're not home and knows that it's safe to break in and rob you.

Foursquare is the major headache. It's really a geolocation service that tells everybody and their dog where you are located. That is, of course, a major way of telling the villains of this world that you're not home. It's like a 20 foot wide billboard beside the road that says "Hello, house 235 on road ABC is unoccupied as the owner is at establishment X, 200 miles away".  In other words, it's a please burgle me announcement.

This all leads to one of my main thrusts which is internet safety. Years ago, we used to hear "never put your real name, real address or photos online". There is and was a good reason for that. The good reasons are still:

  • So that nothing you post online can be traced back to you. The internet remembers everything forever. It's worse than a vindictive partner for remembering all the bad things and forgetting the good. That university photo of the guy wearing pantyhose, a skirt and a bra could come back to haunt him when he's working as a corporate banker. 
  • So that nobody can identify who you are to deal with any perceived insult personally. Not everybody lives in America and has access to firearms they can use to defend themselves against internet psychopaths. It's a good idea not to run the risk of that. Personally, even though I live in America where I can legally shoot a burglar/assailant dead, I would rather avoid having to because I'm sure there's a ton of paperwork I'd have to complete afterwards. 
  • So that nobody can work out where you live and set out to burgle your house when you publish your location online via Foursquare.

As a photographer, it would be perceived by most villains that you have expensive gear. They don't realise that the value of gear plummets like a lead brick if it's electronic. On the other hand, a villain reckons he's done a good day's work if his takings will buy him a couple of beers.

So, the problem is how to make the blog more fun and more interactive without adding to the dangers. Really and truly although I think my identity is reasonably well concealed, I do know there are probably pathways to find my real name, real identity and real locations. Thus, sadly, I have decided to take Foursquare out of my Twitter feed. I really quite enjoyed making my blog more interactive but the guy is right. It's all fun and games until the idiots come calling though as one of my friends said when they saw my place - any burglar would be more likely to leave a donation than to take anything away. I really don't have that much.
As somebody said - burglars are more likely to leave me a donation than anything else. Most people have a sofa and a TV in their living room. I have a folding table and chairs and a storage box that doubles as a bench for the rare occasion anybody visits. It is definitely a bachelor pad. Now you probably know why I have adsense on my blog - every click gets me one or two cents. Every time those clicks add up to $100 I get a payment. I get payments once every couple of years and it's always very welcome.

How did I arrive at this level of poverty? Probably partly by following extremely bad business advice on starting to run a photography business. What I should have done was instead of trying to run a photography business, I should have run away from the idea. It was more a case of I love photography, I love taking photos that please me. They please some others but not everybody. I ended up spending a ton on photography crap that didn't get me an income. In the end I sold most of it though the expensive camera that cost $1,000 is now worth maybe $30 on a good day on ebay. Of course, in the process I proved that nobody is likely to hire a photographer and found that most of the other photographers are going bankrupt or getting the vast majority of their income from things other than photography.

Now I concentrate solely on photography for my own pleasure. I don't generally get out much to do much in the way of photography these days due to low funds. It doesn't help that my workplace is closing in about 8 weeks which leads to interesting problems. On the other hand, that could end up propelling me to a more lucrative position elsewhere.

Am I unhappy? No - not really - I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and a mattress to sleep on (if not a bed). I have a job at the moment. I don't have all the fancy things that most people desire. I keep my bills low. My latest electricity bill was a shade over $28 for the month. I am comfortable even though I'm not living in luxury. On the other hand - I own everything that I have and have no debts. I think being debt free is far more important than anything else in these dark, depressing economic times.

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