Today was a first: I read a blog post which appeared attributed to me that I never wrote! This wasn’t a scrape blog or a post intentionally crafted to mislead. Instead it was a case of “tweetribution confusion” via image attribution. In this post I’ll try to explain.

Misleading Photo Attribution

Tannis Emann, a Canadien educator and @tmemann on Twitter, writes the blog “Aspiring to Higher Tech: My teaching journey in transformative times.” Her site is tannisteaches.wordpress.com. Earlier today, Tannis shared a post simply titled, “#authorspeak.” Tannis is using a WordPress theme which does NOT show the post author’s name or WordPress ID on each post. The About page of her blog clearly identifies the site as hers, but today’s post was confusing because of image attribution at the top of the post. As you can see in the laptop screenshot above and the iPhone screenshot below, since the attribution line does not say “Photo by Wesley Fryer” it appears the actual post was written by me. This was not the case and was both misleading and confusing.

Not a post by Wesley Fryer

Normally something like this might not get my attention, but Tannis’s post was tweeted with incorrect attribution to me by the person at the controls of the official @authorspeak2011 Twitter account. Since then it has been re-tweeted by at least 13 other Twitter users. These include edu-Twitterers Kyle Pace and Steven Anderson (@web20classroom) who have sizable educator followings.

Example of Tweetribution Confusion

I contacted Tannis via Twitter and she quickly made the change, using the text “Photo by Wesley Fryer” under the image.

2 Nov 2011: A Photo Attribution Fix!

Corrected Photo Attribution

This image attribution situation is something that can happen to anyone who is blogging, so it’s a good example to discuss and share with other digital writers. Here are a few lessons learned, please chime in with some of your own.

  1. Model Proper Image Attribution: Kudos to Tannis Emann for properly attributing my image shared originally on Flickr via Creative Commons. Not only did Tannis properly attribute the image per the Flickr Community Guidelines (linking the original photo back to its Flickr page) she also included a text link for me as the photographer. The only ‘missing piece’ was the phrase, ‘Photo by’ in front of my name. Despite this initial oversight (which was quickly remedied) Tannis did a GREAT job with image attribution and sets a good example for all bloggers.
  2. Twitter Can Amplify Conference Attendee Ideas Well: Kudos to Solution Tree and the organizers of the Author Speak conference for using Twitter. All educational conference events should use Twitter and a unique Twitter hashtag, and #authorspeak modeled that.
  3. A Variety of Image Attribution Tools are Available for Bloggers: Tannis tweeted me today she’s using the image tool imagecodr to obtain and attribute Flickr Creative Commons images. I hadn’t heard of that tool previously. It looks great, except they need to add “Photo by” in their attribution. I shared with Tannis I like using Wylio.com for CC image location and attribution. It’s not free, but it’s not much and I LOVE their formatting for image attribution. Another option for self-hosted WordPress bloggers is the free PhotoDropper plugin. All of these are great tools to know about as a blogger. Images in posts are important because they can help get a potential audience’s attention as well as communicate more of the author’s ideas. Tools like these help streamline the process of properly using and attributing images in blog posts. These and other image sites/tools are linked on the “Images” page of PlayingWithMedia.com.
  4. The Open Web is the best context for digital citizenship lessons: If Tannis had shared his post today on a closed website like Moodle or Blackboard, I wouldn’t be writing this post and we wouldn’t be having this opportunity to learn things about image attribution on blogs. I wrote an impassioned comment today on why “Moodle is not good enough” when it comes to digital writing and publishing student work. This situation shows how the OPEN WEB is a space where we need to writing and interacting as educators, and demonstrates why we need to publish on the open web with our students as well.
  5. Twitter is a great tool for solving problems fast: Since Tannis and I were both online and monitoring Twitter this afternoon, this situation on her blog post was fixed within about 15 minutes. It’s very unlikely we’d have been able to have the conversation we did via email in such a short timespan. Twitter is a great communication platform, and should be unblocked on school networks. I know it’s blocked for many students as well as teachers, but we should not accept that situation. Today was a concrete example of how Twitter is and can be used to solve real problems through rapid communication.

Are there some other lessons to learn from this image attribution / tweetribution situation?

Here’s one more I’ll suggest: Even though I’m a self-published author, I think Solution Tree should invite me to AuthorSpeak2012. 🙂

Who IS the tweeter behind @authorspeak2011 anyway?!

Here’s the original image Tannis used, attributed via Wylio.

'Speak Your Mind & ride a fast horse' photo (c) 2009, Wesley Fryer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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One Response to Lessons Learned from Image Attribution & Tweetribution Confusion

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey, Wes- I highly recommend using a tool like Xpert (http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/xpert/attribution/) to embed CC license attributions on images. When I find an image on Flickr that I want to use, I go immediately to Xpert and embed the image on the photo. It’s not the fastest tool, but I love the way it works.

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