A New Way to Explore the World
November 4, 2009 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Michael Surtees latest photo experiment is called #walkingtoworktoday. The rules are simple and open to anyone—while walking to work take a photo. From there the photo needs to be pushed to Twitter via Flickr while containing the hashtag #walkingtoworktoday somewhere in the tile. But there wasn’t one dedicated space outside of Flickr to see the photos, and even then it was only seeing it through one medium—you didn’t get to see the tweets. So that’s why he decided there needed to be a site. Surtees created #walkingtoworktoday using Daylife tools that contained Flickr and Twitter moduals. The main modual streams photos from Flickr while the right rail shows the tweets. It’s an interesting redundancy that works.
posted by netbros (35 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
#walkingtobusstoptoday #takingbustoworktoday #walkingfrombusstoptoworktoday #ridingelevatortoday #workingtoday #ridingelevatortoday #walkingfromworktobusstoptoday #takingbushometoday #walkingfrombusstoptohometoday
posted by blue_beetle at 11:25 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by brain_drain at 11:39 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Text and images on the same page is a) "modualar" and b) interesting?

Pepsi 1993
posted by DU at 11:47 AM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

I have no idea what any of that means.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:47 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

mo duals, mo problems. someone figured out how to put pointless photos and meaningless tweets on the same page.
posted by snofoam at 11:52 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by bondcliff at 11:57 AM on November 4, 2009

Sounds like you guys drove to work today.
posted by monospace at 11:58 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Tough crowd. I'm always taking photos while walking to work, so this seems pretty interesting to me. I'm not sure I understand how it works ... but I uploaded a photo to Flickr the old fashioned way, via the web, with the hashtag as the title; and I'll see if it appears on the site.
posted by carter at 12:01 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you like this you might also like noticings.
posted by robcorr at 12:11 PM on November 4, 2009

I'm confused. Why wasn't twitpic an option here, if what he wanted were pictures and Twitter messages together?
posted by Spatch at 12:11 PM on November 4, 2009

... Yes, it's there. That was quick!
posted by carter at 12:15 PM on November 4, 2009

posted by fixedgear at 12:30 PM on November 4, 2009

Also, scroll down to see 'people that walk' including luminaries like Jay-Z and Oprah.
posted by fixedgear at 12:32 PM on November 4, 2009

Jay-Z walks to work? Falcon Heene?
posted by Loser at 12:33 PM on November 4, 2009

I actually did photo-blog my walk home from work a few years ago. I didn't feel the need to put tweets on each one, though - I got home, uploaded, commented, and that was enough. Since I was using picasa, I could put the stops on google maps and link them to each block or so. I got some interesting comments on some of the photos.

Unless your walk is hours long, you have no concept of where it is and it's unmappable on google maps, and you have no way of recollecting, for example, the time you and a stranger lured a runaway dog away from the highway off-ramp, there's really no point.
posted by cobaltnine at 12:38 PM on November 4, 2009

I don't understand why this isn't just a flickr group pool. What function does the twitter aspect serve?
posted by secretseasons at 12:39 PM on November 4, 2009

What function does the twitter aspect serve?

Coz twitter is cool, y'all.

Actually twitter is pretty cool, but despite netbros' breathless hyping of how this works, I have to agree that this actually seems pretty awkward, not least for spreading hashtags to twitter titles. What the hell is that all about?
posted by Jimbob at 12:52 PM on November 4, 2009

Flickr titles, I mean. Hashtags on flickr. No no no.
posted by Jimbob at 12:57 PM on November 4, 2009

What it means is that every person commenting on twitter about the experiment, using the hashtag, shows up in the twitter list on the side. So, if the experiment was to show side-by-side both the tweets and the photos, it fails, because the tweets are drowned by the multitude of "me too" pingback-style tweets of people talking about the site.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:11 PM on November 4, 2009

you know those composting toilets that keep the poo and the pee separate, but right next to each other?
posted by snofoam at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2009

This is a really cool twitter hack.
posted by lalas at 1:34 PM on November 4, 2009

I walked to work today and didn't even take a picture! I just walked! I didn't know it was trendy! It was a mile! It was nice.
posted by jessamyn at 3:08 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]

That's a lot of work for such a boring concept.
posted by delmoi at 3:32 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I walked to work today and didn't even take a picture! I just walked! I didn't know it was trendy! It was a mile! It was nice.

Says the woman with the bicycle that automagically uploads a picture to Flickr and geotags it. kidding
posted by fixedgear at 3:52 PM on November 4, 2009

While Michael is just lovely, he consistently gets his code wrong. (Actually, being a lovely fellow who’s bad at code makes him the quintessential graphic designer.) The tag needed to be in the Flickr tags field, not the title, unless one is merely doing a primitive full-text scrape like a donkey typing at an IBM XT.

His eyes are his best feature.
posted by joeclark at 4:25 PM on November 4, 2009

Yeah, no joeclark. Hashtag goes in title, one photo has no tags at all.
posted by fixedgear at 4:37 PM on November 4, 2009

full-text scrape like a donkey typing at an IBM XT

someone put this on a t-shirt.
posted by heeeraldo at 5:30 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I comprehend the concept and I would like to participate in such a task, but just reading the link makes me want to start jamming blunt objects into my eyes. Is this what getting old feels like?
posted by Countess Elena at 6:41 PM on November 4, 2009

Wish it used tags rather than titles... I'm not about to go add that junk to my titles on Flickr. Noticings seems moar better, plus you gets points!
posted by pkingdesign at 9:52 PM on November 4, 2009

I hate to be a Negative Nancy and all, but 7 images and 1155 words to explain/justify making this, when the concept (and seemingly capability) has been around since forever, just seems like a bit of overkill. The photos are quite nice and yes it's interesting enough, but the bit where he says four people were editing tags and uploading photos manually just last year seems ridiculous.

If you've got an iPhone (which it looks like most of these people do) you might as well just have the apps that push to Flickr that push to Facebook that push to Twitter that push to MySpace that push to your blog that push to your mom's wall that push to your other, more secret blog that pushes a text back to you saying you pushed all these things and then continues to push each subsequent response they receive. Lack of tags is also troubling.

Am I missing something?
posted by june made him a gemini at 10:57 PM on November 4, 2009

Reading all the different pov's with the project is quite fascinating. There's a couple points that I'd like to offer up—the first one is that if a person's not into making their daily commute a bit more interesting or just don't like the idea of keeping their eyes open, no big deal—I like doing it but it's not for everyone.

The project is actually an exercise that I think has some fascinating implications for citizen journalism. If you swap out the #walkingtoworktoday photo for something else more newsworthy like #yankeeparade or #nycelectionriot or something that a large group of people accepts as a marker for a story, it creates glue that will bind all the media elements together (tweets, photos, headlines, blogposts etc.). Nothing new as I mention in my actual post about the project. All I've done is take a bunch of tools that are already out there and connected them together. It's not the first time that someone's done that. But to contrast how it can scale is worth noting. A previous photo project that I was a part of relied on manually uploading every pic and doing some hand copy + pasting. I'm not that technical so I'm sure there was an easy uploading tool that we could have used. The point being though is that at the end of the day the image and headline stayed in one place. Now that with a simple press of the button a photo can land on flickr, be mentioned on Twitter and be collected on a different site within a matter of seconds is pretty cool, especially for breaking news. Some people like finding their news from Twitter, others like reading stuff from their friend's wall on Facebook. The thing is, that one photo wrapped with a hashtag starts floating around from one place to another collecting interest, all the while with enough data that a person can track who the original person that took the photo is—or at least who's hosting the photo.

The actual site http://walkingtoworktoday.designnotes.info/ is essentially collecting all the elements in one place. Maybe you like Flickr but hate Twitter, yet there's some valuable info coming in from a different tweet—there's an opportunity to see it. There's a couple additional things I'd like to do with the moduals, but as a first version there's some interesting opportunities to collect a lot of elements tied to one event. It is debatable whether a hashtag is the best binding element, but for the time being it works decently because of how Twitter collects likeminded topics.
posted by michaelSurtees at 4:57 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Michael, thanks for joining MetaFilter to offer a further explanation; kind of you to do so. Hopefully, you will stick around and see what this remarkable community has to offer. If you do, you will see that it is generally a lot more than the snarky comments above about your latest project. Welcome.
posted by netbros at 5:57 AM on November 5, 2009

OK, but we’re trying to tell you your technical implementation is incorrect and the whole concept has been done a dozen times before (as at Jeremy Keith’s Adactio Elsewhere). You have #reinvented the #wheel and it’s oval, not round.

Please at least acknowledge our advice.
posted by joeclark at 7:28 AM on November 5, 2009

It's interesting, and I took a picture and all, but now folks are using the Twitter hashtag #walkingtoworktoday and then posting the picture to twitpic or lyfrog or other photo hosting sites instead of Flickr which sort of defeats the purpose. Unless I misunderstood.
posted by fixedgear at 8:36 AM on November 5, 2009

I wonder if Surtees is ever going to acknowledge what I’ve been telling him for years: You can’t expect much of a career as a cutting-edge Web developer if you don’t understand code. A-listers like Zeldman, Clarke, and Santa Maria code and design. What Surtees has here is an idea that equally-code-illiterate readers think is cool; misuse; and fail to recognize as a retread.

Unfortunately, there are code-illiterate bosses who are susceptible to the Don Draper effect Surtees exerts when he walks into a room, so despite what I wrote above, his future in the Web business is assured. It’s just that, at a technical level, he sucks, and is doing nothing I can see to improve his skills.

Meanwhile, he dismisses what we’re saying here as “a slightly different POV from the traditional DesignNotes visitor.” (It’s the POV of experienced, technically competent people who know what they’re doing and have long institutional memories.)
posted by joeclark at 11:45 AM on November 9, 2009

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