Monday, January 31, 2022

On Photo Sharing

Mike Rockwell:

I’ve since deleted the Instagram app from my iPhone and have only jumped back into my timeline once or twice through a web browser. Each time I came out of it feeling worse than when I went in. I don’t want to do that anymore.

But it got me thinking about photo sharing in general. And more specifically about how we’ve created this efficient system for sharing to a mass audience. The personal aspect of photos is lost in the sharing process. When I would post a photo, I wouldn’t receive any comments, it never sparked any conversations. I would just get a handful of likes and that was that. What’s the point? It’s become a game of vanity where the number of likes you receive is the only feedback mechanism. It stinks.

As an experiment, I started sharing photos with individual people, privately, over iMessage. I wouldn’t send them a whole collection of photos, just one at a time here and there. And what I found is that when you send an individual person a photo privately, you actually spark a conversation.

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One of the more telling questions to ask about the web we've built is who likes are for. What purpose do they serve?

They're a signal for the algorithm.

Watch a nature documentary of great apes grooming one another by picking nits off their fur. Likes serve a similar purpose among modern Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

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