The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
It’s Christmas morning, and you and the family have gathered around the tree to open presents.
Your youngest gets that certain something they have been dying for, and embraces it with the perfect “squeeeee!” expression.
And you got the shot with your smartphone. Excited, you want to share it with all your friends and family.
But you might want to think twice about sharing it on Instagram.
In the latest social media privacy and intellectual property kerfuffle, Instagram released new terms of service that have users up in arms because they effectively give it and parent company Facebook the right to use any images posted on the service in any way they please, including advertising.
The terms of service, set to be effective Jan. 16, say, “You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”
The professional photography world has been particularly outraged by this as photographers are used to being compensated for their images, particularly when working with commercial interests. The idea that a major company could just grab their picture, even one shot with a cellphone camera, and sell with no remuneration it is anathema to them.
The move even drew the ire of Facebook founder and owner Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding photographer, Noah Kalina, who tweeted, “pro or not if a company wants to use your photos for advertising they need to TELL you and PAY you.”But even a lot of casual shooters would expect some compensation if their picture was out there making money for someone else. And then there’s the privacy issue. You snapped that picture for your private use, and to show to your friends — though yes, we have been told over and over that nothing on the Internet is truly private. To have it show up in an ad would feel creepy at best.
Since this firestorm broke, there has been a calm-yourself crowd making points from Instagram’s policy may not hold up in court, though presumably it has been crafted by lawyers, to “no one’s going to buy pictures of your food.”
Just five years ago, if you were sitting at your campsite at the Ichthus Festival wondering, “What’s going on over there?” at the festival site, you’d have to get up and go see.
Now, you can whip out your smartphone or tablet, or just check your texts.
The annual Wilmore Christian music event’s social media strategy has been evolving continuously; it now incorporates Facebook and Twitter, apps for Apple and Android devices, a text messaging network and even an old-fashioned radio station.
Ichthus also has created more wireless Internet zones at the festival site and strengthened its cellular signal to keep the data flowing.
“The most exciting thing about social media is it gives us a direct connection to the people we serve in a public forum,” Ichthus director Mark Vermilion said.
Tim Gerst, the festival’s I-media coordinator, says, “We want social media to be our No. 1 marketing tool because, for the most part, it’s free.”
It is a network that has been building over time.
Yet another evening of kvetching about the health care debate was winding to a close Tuesday night on The Rachel Maddow Show when guest Bill Maher made a great point about President Barack Obama’s inability to get his message across.
“Where are all Obama’s people to help him with this, by the way?” Maher asked. “You know, I mean, he is Michael Jordan on a very, very, very bad team. Where are all the people who were so enthused during the campaign? You know, that was the fun part, the election.
“Now comes the hard part. You know, where’s Oprah? Where are all of the people who were out there on the campaign trail? We need them now. This is the actual hard work of government.”
It’s a valid point.
Could it be the Obama administration just hasn’t stayed in touch?
Remember the summer of 2008? That was the campaign summer, when candidate Obama was the king of all media, particularly new media.
One of his flashiest tricks, though, fizzled: the attempt to alert supporters and anyone else who was interested of his choice for running mate via text message, before traditional media broke the news.
It was surprising to get word through — egads! — this newspaper in my driveway. The traditional media broke the story right before it was time to put the papers to bed and about three hours before the text announcing the choice of Joe Biden.
But it soon became clear what that ploy was all about: mobilizing supporters.
The Obama campaign had succeeded in getting scores of text and e-mail addresses, and they were going to use them.
During the Democratic National Convention, there were messages to make sure to tune in for speeches by Obama’s wife Michelle; Biden; and the man himself speaking in a football stadium. As the campaign went into the fall, there were more text and e-mail appeals to watch, to campaign and, of course, for money. In the final weeks, there were even geographically targeted appeals to get to our neighboring swing states, Indiana and Ohio, to help on the ground.
If you had signed up, whenever your text chime went off, you almost expected it to be the Obama campaign, and it was a safe bet there was something in the in-box, too.
When the campaign was over and Obama won, we were told that the e-mail and text addresses would be kept to help relay information and mobilize people to help support the administration’s initiatives.
But Barack and Joe don’t seem to write anymore.
The campaign that was built on a mastery of new media has taken a traditional approach to getting the message out.
Since signing up for Facebook and Twitter last year, it’s been fascinating to watch how events can unfold across status updates, like this ice storm, which now appears to be giving Lexington the same treatment counties just south of here were getting earlier. How do I know? Lexington status updates like these:
. . . watching a gigantic pine tree tip towards her neighbor’s house. The neighbor is not concerned.
. . . neighbor a few streets away has lost power. Oh no!
. . . is trying not to feel wimpy about skipping the Alejandro Escovedo concert tonight.
. . . watching the lights flicker.
. . . If anyone knows my intern . . . tell her the LPO office is closed Wednesday! I can’t find her email.
. . . is listening to the first of the trees fall – this ain’t good.
. . . electricity just went out. Of course this happens on a good tv night!
. . . 32.4º! But still hearing limbs fall outside. And sirens.
and my favorite:
. . . started out with a block of ice and chisled it into a working automobile! OK, it was my car to begin with.
Sounds like we could have a long night, Lexington. I’ll be interested to read about it on Twitter and Facebook in the morning.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich