I’m not sure how to respond to this, other than to observe openly sharing digital media can have unexpected disadvantages. That’s a lot of retweets and favorites.

I shared the original photo under a CC-BY license on Flickr in October 2008. No attribution was used in this remix using the photo.

Addition 1/11/2014: See Dean Shareski‘s post about this, “When Sharing Goes Bad, Pithy Quote Fetish and Kids These Days” and comment thread. 


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On this day..

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  • http://ideasandthoughts.org Dean Shareski

    Certainly this is unfortunate and is obviously the down side of open sharing.

    I think there are three issues that come to mind for me:

    1. It’s important we understand and accept the trade offs with technology. Too often we in the ed tech community have to oversell technology in order to make in roads. We’re not naive, I don’t think to the downsides, but perhaps if we prepare folks for deeper understanding, these kinds of things won’t be seen as a reason to discontinue. I’m sure knowing you, you won’t share any less and yet for many folks this would mark the end of any open sharing

    2. The triteness of social media is starting to get stupid. Twitter is the epitome of this as the 140 characters is not being acknowledged for its limitations. It’s a great medium that does certainly things well. But we often we try and craft to many ideas inside those few characters and it comes off like this. Personally, I’ve been careful to engage in much meaningful discourse there because I can’t do the things I’m doing here…explaining myself in detail. Even the use of quotes and pithy sayings is getting problematic. Not that I’m immune to it and don’t share those too, but I’m trying to ask myself and others questions like, “What exactly are you saying?” and “Wait a minute, I’m not so sure that’s true” but often if the words seem to flow and fit and if you add a compelling image, you can get away with a frivolous idea and seem wise.

    3. With regards to the content or idea shared here. I’ve been sharing a series of staged photos with audiences that show my family all sitting around reading a book, then one of them on their devices and finally one of them looking at their devices together. The point I make is that we somehow have a negative reaction to the image like the one shown of your kids but swap those devices for books and suddenly we have beautiful children engaging in an intellectual pursuit vs the word they used in their collage. I extend the argument further and suggest that I find the image of them sharing their devices the more social. My point as well is that books have been promoting isolation and anti-social behaviour long before computers came along.

    At any rate, thanks for sharing and I am sorry that someone decided to try and be cute at your expense. Stay well.

  • Dean Mattson

    Yeah, that is a lot of retweets and favorites. Too bad there’s also not a button for “Cheap Shot” and “Misleading.” I’m sure the owner of the Incredible Pics is unaware of your history of as an education-focused blogger who has tried for years to come to terms with the changes brought by technology with a thoughtful, balanced and realistic perspective. Maybe if he knew about the point of that picture and knew just a little bit about the individuals displayed, he may have realized that although he makes a (rather obvious) point with his juxtaposition of the two photos, it’s also a bit of a lie – the reality is much more complicated.

    But you’re right, that is unfortunately one of the realities of social media – you have to be ready for some backlash, no matter how unfair. Although I bet that realization doesn’t totally take away the sting.

  • Andy Rush

    Sorry about this. I hope your kids aren’t taking this too seriously. Horse out of the barn – it’s why I don’t share recognizable photos of my family. However, you and I (and I hope your kids) know that it’s not S**t. It can be as powerful and meaningful as playing outside. Change the caption to “solving the world’s problems” and you get closer to the truth – and from what I’ve seen, your kids are world changers! Maybe writing the folks who tweeted this asking them to delete it is a possible next step, but I don’t envy you. Good luck!

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  • jamie camp

    Wow. I too am sorry to see that someone did this. Shockingly ironic that they chose a picture of your children–who consistently use technology in effective, creative and authentic ways. I’ll just follow that up by thanking you for your thoughtful and outspoken leadership in the field of education and technology. You are a “yoda” to so many of us! You and your family clearly make your communities better. Thank you!

  • http://cogdogblog.com/ Alan Levine

    It’s not a bad thing they did not provide attribution, as you said in twitter, since it’s not then associated with you. But it would be obvious, if one followed the trail to your pic, that they used it to generate a different message than your original.

    It’s funny since I had remembered the image from a presentation (where it was attributed of course ) I did maybe 5 years ago — it was funny to search Flickr for images of kids, computers and finding one a friend shared.

    That’s how it should work in sharing, you can give license for reuses you may not agree with the message.

    But civility and good taste should apply. We should pass it by the mom of @incrediblepics and see what she says.

    Attribution may be for old folks, but IMHO it’s always The Right Thing to do.

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