Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thing 6: Picasa Web Albums (and, as it turns out, Thing 7 as well)

From Zimmermania

I am a flickr user for the most part, so I was interested to look at Picasa Web Albums. Right away, I was shocked to find that I already had three albums of my own! It turns out that, because Google owns both Blogger and Picasa, it has integrated them in such a way that any photos posted to a Blogger blog are automagically saved in Picasa albums.

I was excited by this, and immediately set about playing with the photos I have. I worked on doing some face tagging as noted in Thing 5, and I geotagged a couple of photos. As I was doing so, though, I noticed something odd. Many of the photos in my main blog don't appear on Picasa at all. In fact, they seem to have stopped abruptly right about the time of last winter's ice storm. As I looked into things more closely, I discovered the reason.

As I mentioned before, I use a service called Utterli to do my blog posting. It cleverly allows me to make my post in one place and have it populated all over (in my case, that means my blog, twitter, and flickr). The downside appears to be that the Picasa/Google/Blogger collective does not recognize my photo as "a photo" and copy it over to Picasa. "Okay," I thought, "I'll just have Utterli send my posts to Picasa, too." Unfortunately, no can do. Grr.

So now I have to decide what I want to do. As it currently stands, if I want my photos to go to Picasa when I blog, I either have to copy Picasa on the e-mail I send to Utterli (not a huge problem, but a bit annoying) or figure out how to get one of my other destinations to cross-post there. Another possibility would be to drop Utterli and go back to posting direct to Blogger. It would then send my photos to Picasa, but I'd lose the connection to Twitter and Flickr and would have to figure out other ways to get them in the loop.

Here's where this morphs into Thing #7: Blog About Technology. The more time I spend with Web 2.0, the more it starts to feel like quicksand. Or maybe Br'er Rabbit's Tar Baby. I see something interesting, get immersed in it, and it leads me to something else. These two work together, and also work with this other cool thing, and before I know it, I'm in the situation I have now. It's hard to even say how my blog posting currently works without resorting to an image, so I'm going to go ahead and just make one...
From 23 Things

As you can see, a basic post to my blog goes immediately to three different places. This doesn't count anything that uses my RSS feed. If I posted from Utterli, that adds two more right away, and my Facebook friends start getting annoyed, because they see the post in my Notes, they see my flickr photostream update with the same photo, and they see my Twitter app updated with a message about the same post.

In a way, it's like that picture. In order to make it, I created the diagram using Publisher, because that's the tool we have on the library computers that I'm most comfortable with. I took a screenshot, then pasted it into Paint and saved it as a .jpg. I used three different kinds of software (plus the browser to upload it) to get that image.

But here's the difference. There are programs designed for making screenshots that would replace them all in one fell swoop, but if I started using one of them, Publisher wouldn't get offended. MS Paint wouldn't say, "Hey, I wonder why Karl doesn't use us any more." With social networks, once you've spent a certain amount of time on one, you are obligated to keep updating it. I have friends on LJ who don't read my blog and aren't on facebook. If I drop the LJ feed, they will miss me. Or maybe not. Maybe it's just ego. Or neediness.

I've wandered pretty far afield, partly because I've written this post on three different computers (using two different operating systems) over a period of about six hours. I'm not sure I even have a point any more, unless it's this: technology is amazing, it's useful, and it opens up new possibilities in the world every day, but it can be dangerous (or at least distracting) and addictive. It's deceptively easy to spend a lot of time doing things that appear productive, but are not. In an effort to save time, you can easily waste hours searching for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.


  1. Here's a bit of serendipity. I received a regular weekly e-mail from American Libraries this morning, and there was a link to an article called "100 web tools to help you get organized". See it at It includes 11 different "mind-mapping" tools that would have allowed me to create that blogging diagram. Technology wins again!

  2. I am very impressed by this post and by how delightfully you move between technologies with little seeming trouble at all. That's the part that gets me - I can do a lot of different things - just need to figure out how to combine them in interesting ways.

  3. Why, thank you! That's quite a compliment.

  4. Is it just the conspiracy-loving socialist in me or is anyone else wondering what Google DOESN'T own?