Friday, February 14, 2014

23 Mobile Things - Thing 10 - Sharing Photos

Funny!  I had just posted this Throw Back Thursday photo to Facebook just prior to opening Thing 10.  Photography has become one of my favorite hobbies and I love sharing photos.

Throw Back Thursday: Family photo at our surprise 25th wedding anniversary. (February 2011)
I am already an Instagram user, so I did not have to register for Thing 10.  The video provided a good reminder about using hashtags (#) and the @ symbol to tag people.

My Instagram Profile
For this Thing, I took a photo in the Media Center using Instagram and then enhanced it with the Walden (of course!) effect, adding a focal point on the yellow poster and choosing the HDR option.  I did not choose to add a frame for this photo.

Instagram Photo of ERHS Media Center
I then proceeded to make my very first Instagram movie!  This is kind of like the Twitter of videos.  With only 15 seconds, the movie has to be short and sweet!

The article 10 Interesting Ways to Use Instagram for Your Library has got me thinking of ways we could use Instagram to help promote the Media Center. 

Of the optional apps listed that play nicely with Instagram, I already use Pic Collage.  However, I really like using the Fuzel app.  This app has lots of really fun and unique collage options.

Fuzel Collage of ERHS Media Center using Instagram Photos
Before I leave Instagram, here are a couple of favorite Instagram photos that I have taken in the past.

Duluth Harbor
Minnesota State Fair


Oh, snap! Working in a high school, I have heard about Snapchat, but have never been interested enough to check it out.  Thing 10 provided me the opportunity to learn more about this app.

In the Should Public Libraries Use Snapchat for Marketing? article, according to a Pew Research Center report, 26% of 18-29 year olds, 5% of 30-49 year olds, and 3% of 50-64 year olds use Snapchat.  This indicates that I am now part of the 3% for my age group, but my 26 year-old daughter does not use the app.  I would venture a guess that the 26% group includes users far younger than 18 years of age.  This article also stated that the appeal of Snapchat for teenagers and young adults is that "there's no record left behind for parents or potential employers to find."

After adding Snapchat to my iPhone, it searched for my contacts that are using the app.  Only five of my friends showed up as current users.  And, the one friend, of that five, that I chose to help me test out Snapchat didn't remember how to log-in, since she had used the app only one time at the insistence of a friend.

Since 23 Mobile Things is promoting the use of various apps in the library setting, and since I work in a high school library, I read, with interest, the articles in Thing 10 and checked out both libraries that are using Snapchat.  But, in the back of my mind, visions of horror stories kept dancing in my head.  Our district must be leery about Snapchat, as well, since it has been blocked at the highest level.  Not even an administrative password override will unblock the site.  This makes me nervous, and it is not very likely that Snapchat will be an app our Media Center will use, since it is so strictly blocked.  What would be the point?  Other hindrances in using Snapchat in our Media Center are our district's cell phone use policy and the very real concern about bullying and sexting.

My wary feelings about Snapchat may be an indicator of my age.  My concern is the teens and pre-teens that are using Snapchat may not have the wisdom to make good judgments about the appropriate use of this type of app, since what they post supposedly vanishes without a trace in 10 seconds or less.  Don't get me wrong, there are very responsible young people out there, and adults use poor judgment at times too, for example, Anthony Weiner and his sexting escapades.

I wanted to learn more about what others are saying about Snapchat, so I did a little internet research.  In his article, Snapchat, Another Example of the Hubris of Privilege, Samiur Rahman makes some interesting observations.

  • Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion and Google offered $4 billion (yes, that's a "b" in from of "illion"), and Snapchat turned both of these offers down.  Mr. Rahman sees this as arrogant on the part of Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel.  He further states that, "I would be hard-pressed to find someone who thought Snapchat was actually useful to the world.  Popular, yes, and fun too, but not particularly useful.  Certainly not $4 billion useful."
  • Rahman goes on to speculate that Mr. Spiegel is a spoiled, little rich kid, and he doesn't seem too far off.
  • Shortly after Snapchat turned down billion dollar offers to sell, it was hacked...big time.  For a company who promotes itself as a vehicle for ultimate user privacy by deleting snaps from the Snapchat servers in seconds, this is a pretty big issue.  According to his article, Rahman points out that Snapchat had been warned about the hack months before it came to light and that they ignored the risk to their users and did not fix the app.  Furthermore, the owners have never apologized for the hack.  In the age of stolen identity and cyber-security threats, this is a very real concern.
  • Rahman also has some interesting things to say about the current state of tech entrepreneurship.  It is worth a read.
Another article I found interesting is, Snapchat Sexting Scandal Could Scare Off Investors by Kaja Whitehouse, published in the New York Post.  Again, shortly after Snapchat turned down billion dollar offers to sell, it was caught up in a sexting scandal when Montreal police arrested 10 teenage boys on child-pornography charges for passing pictures around of girls ages 13 to 15 in sexually explicit poses.  Whitehouse states that, "This seems to underscore the danger of this app, especially for its young users." I agree.

In the article, Ten Things You Need to Know about Snapchat by Stuart Dredge for The Guardian, many of the same concerns were expressed as in the two articles above.  The topic of bullying on Snapchat is addressed, which is another very real concern for every school district.  Mr. Dredge links to an article which tells the story of a young girl's experience with cyber-bullying, in part, thanks to SnapChat.  I found the article chilling.

Even though sexting and cyber-bullying are not the biggest draw for teens to use Snapchat, these are very real issues and simply cannot, and should not, be ignored.

In conclusion, I see the appeal and fun of Snapchat.  I do, however, see a very real dark side that I am sure our school district will want to avoid.  I am a very liberal user of Web 2.0 and iPhone apps and have never been nervous about trying new technology.  Snapchat is the first app I am unsure about using.

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