Posts Tagged ‘Autoportraits’
December 29th, 2008 • 7 comments Moi Numérique, Moi-Je par soi-même, Pourquoi ça n'arrive qu'à moi?, Technologies sociales
Tags: Allaitement, Autoportraits, Breastfeeding, Digital self, Femmes, Flickr, Moi Numérique, Moi-Je, Nu, rhiz08, Social Network Services, Social Software
In the field of the Eduserv workshop on digital identities, the 8th January 2009 at the British Library, Steven Warburton and Yishay Mor invited us to share small stories in which we are the main character (or at least a first-hand witness), and which we believe illuminates an interesting aspect, or dilemma, of digital identity.
A few have been collected already : about disaggregated identities, about the pressure of existing within a Twitter community, about students hands-in-hands friends in FB with teachers, about the impact of an online identity in online job search, and also about the exposure of a teenager photo by a counsellor without a full understanding of of CC licences. Yishay also prepared a short presentation that provides guidance to the task with the STARR template.
Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres!
And because, I’m also a STARR, here is my story: Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres! This is a Spanish saying my mother repeated me to death when I was a teenager. Literally translated into English, it will be: Tell me whom you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are. But the saying translated into another form would be:
- Hunt with cats and you catch only rats
- Birds of a feather flock together
- A man is known by the company he keeps
I have a Flickr account, since 2004. I have always used for both personal and professional aspects of my real persona. I also have a Flickr account for my avatar, Paz Lorenz, since 2006. I use sets and collections to separate personal and professional content. But also to separate different parts of my personal life. I don’t want my self-portraits mixed with my kids. In this first account, I haven’t really engaged in rich conversations with other Flickr users. I didn’t feel the need to complete my profile, I have only 33 contacts, most of them real life friends and belong to a few groups, mainly related with spontaneous and brutal art. Opposite to Paz who maintains a richer social life and spends her time flickering.
My accounts are frequently aggregated by other users who make me their contact. Some of my photos are added as a favorite, and commented. As a consequence, a part of me is automatically added to other people’s profiles and photostreams: I appear in the list of contacts of a given user. My photos appear in the users’ favorite collection, associated, out of context, with other photos, according to a criteria I don’t necessarily perceive or understand.
My problems started with a photo that my older son, Sariel, took of me, while breastfeeding my newborn Forest. In one year, ‘Happy breastfeeding’ was seen 3,464 times. My photo started as a project against people who complain because of breastfeeding in public places, after two awful encounters where I’ve been told to ‘stop doing that there”, even though it was discrete and I had a scarf over the head of my one month old baby.
As an answer, I wanted to replicate a photo of another Flickr user that unfortunately isn’t public whose title is ‘For you pervs out there. . .’ In this photo a mother of a toddler is breastfeeding her child, while she gives ‘fuck you’ sign straight to the camera. The photo, as many other of the kind, is published in the Go fuck yourself Flickr group. So I wanted to do the same: nurse not so discreetly while looking straight into the eye of those people who condemn breastfeeding in public and be rude and angry. But this was impossible with my little clown taking the photo. We couldn’t be serious and didn’t help but laughing out loud. And the result was this:
Since, the photo has been marked as a favorite by many ‘pervs’ who maintain fake Flickr accounts where they do not post any photo, but where they collect other users photos showing nudity, partial nudity like mothers breastfeeding showing part of her breasts or children without Tshirts playing in the nature by a hot summer. Suddenly my photo and I appeared associated to pornography, among the contacts and in the collection of users who are also member of ‘Mature women nudes’ and ‘Delicious oral sex’, just to cite the less offensive groups.
When I realised that this was happening, I defined a personal rule regarding my content in Flickr: to block any contact or fan of my photos who is associated with pornography: publishes porn photos, belongs to porn groups, has porn favorites or invites one of my photos to a porn pool.
I systematically monitor accounts of people who establish any virtual relationships with me in Flickr, and if not compliant, I block.
As a consequence, and to remain those who do not know how blocking functions in Flickr, these users:
- Can’t comment on my photos (All comments on my photos made by them are deleted)
- Can’t comment on my sets (All comments on my sets made by them are deleted)
- I am removed as theirs (They can’t add me as a contact again)
- Can’t add my photos as favorites anymore (Any of my photos marked as their favorites are removed)
- Can’t blog my photos
- Can’t add notes or tags
- Can’t send me FlickrMail
This obliges me to follow up my social activity closely, as I don’t want to be associated or to have my 4 kids associated with these people. Naturally, I could have set my collection to private contacts or friends-only. But I don’t want this. I want a public collection of photos. And ‘Happy breastfeeding’ is my provocative public statement on breastfeeding.
Not directly related, I also don’t tag my children’s pics, so they are not overexposed. And the titles in general are name+date. I changed most of them to be only accessible by contacts and left only the portraits for the public eye.
The main realisation was that there is a time consumption issue associated with the management of private-public content on the Internet. Most of the mothers who put their children photo on Flickr are subject to this kind of problem, and yet one faces a dilemma between restricting photos to friends only or deploying strong policies for control of interaction around one’s images. Hence users develop their own strategy to control these issues, like:
- using FlickrMails in a chain between mothers to investigate the good intentions of a certain Flickr user. Followed by massive blocking and reporting abuse.
- using one’s profile to explain what type of interaction policy is suitable for one’s account. Like another of my contacts who states in her profile:
“my pics tells about love and sharing, proximity between parents and child, nothing sexual in it i precise!!! i DO NOT wish my pics to be added as favs on people’s account who are looking for erotic or porn aspect , neither be added as contact i am therefore very happy to share my pics with people respectful to that opinion, motherhood is pure… thanx!”
I became more aware of certain threats that have an impact on my digital reputation. The ENISA Position Paper No.1 Security Issues and Recommendations for Online Social Networks was an enlightning read that increased my understanding and awareness of these issues.