This spring I got WAY behind with my online photo sharing. Generally I’m pretty consistent downloading photos from my iPhone4 to my computer and uploading them to Flickr, but for various reasons (mainly busyness) I had almost five hundred photos on my iPhone today dating back to Spring Break in March. I had to delete some movies from my iPhone this weekend to take some photos, so I knew it was WAY past time to transfer and delete photos from my smartphone.

Donuts for Dads

For most photos (not new ones including ‘certain’ family members, however) I am in the habit of both saving the photos to my computer hard drive and uploading them to my Flickr account. Some of the photos on my phone readily “fit” into event categories, which was nice, but LOTS did not. There were over 400 photos which I initially had in a “miscellaneous” category.

My temptation was to simply upload ALL the photos to Flickr either without an organizing “set” or into a “miscellaneous” set for the Spring. The problem with this would be a liklihood of future photographic irrelevancy: If I didn’t label, tag, organize, and otherwise assign “meta information” to these photographs NOW, it is very likely I’d be relegating those photographs to an irrelevancy shelf both for myself and for others.

Tagging media with “meta information” is important because those pieces of information can serve as virtual “card catalog entries” for ourselves as well as others who want to find those media files in the future. Kevin Honeycutt says uploading media online WITHOUT meta information is like throwing it into the ocean. It’s likely to get lost in the HUGE sea of content which continues to grow in size online.

Photograph of Card Catalog in Central Search Room, 1942photo © 1942 The U.S. National Archives | more info (via: Wylio)

I could have spent many hours today adding very detailed meta information to my photos, but I settled for about ten new photo sets which made sense along with some tags and titles on a few. My “Spring 2011 Signs” and “Technology Snapshots” sets are among my favorites, and ones I’ll be likely to go back to later and use in blog posts and for presentations.

It doesn’t happen every week, but sometimes other individuals and organizations utilize one of my photos for a blog post or website pic. Last week on May 17th, Mathew Ingram utilized a photo I took several years ago on his post for GIGAOM, “Shhh! Don’t Tell Google News You’re a Blog!” About a year ago, I heard a story about a college instructor in a course my cousin was taking in the Dallas area, who used the following photograph I took of my kids on a Saturday morning.

The replacement for Saturday morning cartoons

In an ideal world, I’d add titles and tags to ALL my shared photos on Flickr. At times I go back and add meta information later, but typically I find if I don’t add meta information when I upload photos it doesn’t get done. Remember the value of adding meta information to your photos! Especially if you share photos online with a Creative Commons license, it’s possible others will utilize your images down the road if you’ve labeled and tagged them!

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