At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: social media

Sharing a Photo a Day will Keep Your Frustrations Away

If you snap a great picture and nobody ever sees it, how does that make you feel? Now multiply that feeling across multiple buried photos. It’s really time to uncover and release them. Here’s how…

I’m unsettled and more than a tad frustrated. Over the years, I’ve snapped thousands of photos… and most of them just sit.

If I’m diligent, I’m just able to download and organize all of those photos into folders in Adobe Lightroom every week. Then, I’ve got to go through them to pick out the best ones and tweak them to make them ready for prime time.

But then they just sit again. There is no grand ‘unveiling.’

Maybe I take the time to share a few with family and friends. And of course, there’s the photo or two that follow the more regimented workflow of my blog and successfully get out the door on my weekly schedule.

But what’s the endgame for all of the rest?

The Challenge of Organizing Family Photos
My master plan used to be the creation of photo books that covered the prior year or perhaps a particular family event. And as much as I struggle and often fail to get to the finish line every year and consider that collection of photos ‘done,’ I’m no longer certain about just creating massive photo books that sit on a shelf.

So, I’ve also been posting best-of moments to a cloud folder and then pulling the photos down to display throughout my house via…

Sure, all of this effort supports properly documenting and displaying the life of a family. That’s certainly of value. But focusing all of your photographic efforts to essentially feed a family time capsule or restricting them to your four walls doesn’t nurture an important creative requirement for many of us.

The essential need to share.
Something more…

The Choice to Share on Social Media
Some folks like to visually share their lives in the moment… unfiltered. They snap and effortlessly share the photos of their day-to-day. They direct and star in their own version of “The Truman Show.”

Social media is, of course, made for that.

On the one hand, you’ve got people posting multiple photos daily. On the other, there are those who refuse to have any online presence.
(And I’ve made the argument that online seclusion will effectively erase them from existence.)

But if you’re like me, you fall somewhere in the middle. You share a few photos on social media, but you haven’t totally given access to the entire family photo collection to the public at large.

So that leaves the vast majority of the photos… still sitting on a couple hard drives.
(Yes, I back mine up, of course.)

The Photos that Look Beyond Your Own Life
And then there are those intrepid souls who share photos that fall outside of the simple structure of family photography. These pics offer a point of view… something more than what someone did today.

These photographers are sharing a specific narrative through a particular photo.

That’s satisfying, right?
And yes… a lot harder to do.

First, you’ve got to have something to say beyond “this is my life.” And then you need to capture the picture. For some, that is a career or perhaps a life’s pursuit.

You can quickly feel like an amateur playing in this sandbox populated by professionals, artists and journalists.

But hasn’t technology given us all the tools to enter this more advanced arena? Everyone has license to share a good photo with the world. There are really no rules.

(Light bulb moment)

Hey… Would any of my photos that have been sitting in the digital dark possibly fall into this more demanding arena of universal exposure?

Barrett’s Instagram Initiative
So, I began to go through all of my photos that fall outside of family moments. And I tried to identify a theme in creating a group to share… an organizing principal.

And of course, the answer was right in front of me….
It’s technology… all the tech around us that affects our lives.

Sure, I know I’m already sharing photos on Instagram that reflect the topics of my weekly posts. But I think I need to try for something more…

I’m going to share a photo a day on my Instagram account.

I don’t have enough inventory to feed that frequency for long. So, I’ll need to look for new imagery of technology that’s infused into our day to day.
(Look at me… I’m already making it hard for myself.)

And I’ll require some help with a daily output. The only viable strategy is to schedule the posts ahead of time….

For that, I’ve turned to Buffer to help me schedule my daily Instagram posts.
(I’m using the free plan.)

A Photo a Day
So, all of this is to say that I’ve launched a little photo-a-day project on my Instagram account where I’m sharing how I experience technology in the world around us.

Some pictures will be new… others from yesteryear.

But these orphaned photos that will never have a place in any family photo album will finally find a home.

A place where they will be seen.
(I hope.)

And that possibility… will make me happy.
Because I’ve shared.

And that feeds me.

Please take a peek.
I hope you like them…

Why You Don’t Exist If You Can’t Be Found Online

If someone Googles your name and you don’t show up, what does that say about you? Well, it says a lot more than nothing. Here’s why…

I was chatting with a friend recently about her online presence… specifically her lack of an online identity. And her choice was a conscious one:

  • No LinkedIn
  • No Facebook
  • No Twitter
  • No Instagram
  • Nothing!

With all of the concern lately about personal online security and enterprise password breaches, I know it’s become something of a trend recently to actually reduce your time online.

But what about having no online identity? As in… if someone Googles your name… and you’re not there… at all. Does that mean you don’t exist?

Well, I suppose the next question is whether you want to exist online.

I know some (including my friend) might put together a pretty compelling argument that there’s no ‘good’ reason to have an online identity and/or engage in social media.

But I think for most of us, there are still legitimate reasons that essentially demand that we play in our ever-growing virtual world.

Looking for a Job and LinkedIn
These days, if you’re looking for a new job and you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you’re putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage.

In fact, many companies’ job application portals require you to add your LinkedIn URL to scrape all of your key data.

Do people who might want to hire you also want to see a well-lit, professional-looking photo of you on LinkedIn?


I think the fundamental expectation today is anyone who’s looking for a job needs to properly package their professional brand and credentials online for others to browse through.

How you present yourself used to begin the moment you walked into the job interview or during your exploratory phone call.

Now that process begins days or weeks earlier when your name gets Googled.
That’s the point of first contact!

So, do make a point of posting a friendly photo of yourself on LinkedIn (unless looking angry is important to your personal brand).

And do write up a few authentic and relevant sentences at the top about your value proposition.

Think of it as your virtual self handing out business cards 24/7 to anyone in the world who might be interested in you…

It matters… a lot.
Otherwise, the default impression you give if you can’t be found is there’s something wrong…

Photo Sharing on Social Media
I know we can debate the wisdom of sharing personal photos with family and friends on our favorite social media sites, because we’re really giving up ownership of those pics to giant companies. And despite how many privacy guarantees are out there, we need to recognize that we’re handing over those photos to the universe… forever.

But at the end of the day, many of your connections are still going to share an ongoing photo stream of their lives. Why wouldn’t you want to see the pics?

This method of group communication has clearly become a standard way people stay in touch. So, you probably want access to view these important moments.
(Arguably some more important than others)

But to have that, you usually need to activate your own accounts on these social media platforms.

Keep Up!
If you’re hedging on the whole social media thing and believe you can still stay connected using old fashion methods, I say that’s much harder to do…

For example… If you’re waiting for photos from a family event that you missed to show up in the mail, I think you’re going to be left in the dark… forever. Those priceless pics got posted online hours after the event.

I know this is yesterday’s news, but if you still house any doubts, social media will absolutely help to keep you connected to what’s happening with family and friends.
(That’s the entire purpose!)

Do you need to see every pet pic or every dinner plate photo? Maybe not. But the totality of the visual experience will keep you informed on the lives of others who matter to you.

I know it’s odd that you end up knowing so much about friends without having to talk with them for months… or even years at a time. But how different is that from the old practice of keeping pen pals? Sharing photos and notes online is simply a more efficient method enabled by technology.

You Shouldn’t Be Surprised When You Google Your Name
Ultimately, feeding your online identity helps to more easily maintain your personal connections. Plus, it’s arguably your most important asset to projecting your professional brand to the rest of the world.
(And to be clear, zero professional identity online is not good for your career.)

If you don’t exist online today, in many ways… you don’t exist. From an existential perspective, I know that may sound troubling. But from a practical perspective, it’s not that hard to fix.

So, do you exist?

10 New Tech Terms to Learn

Prepare to be mystified… I don’t think you’ve heard of these words before. That’s because I’ve made them up. But before you immediately lunge to evaporate this web window, you might find something here you can use…

Prepare to be mystified… I don’t think you’ve heard of these words before. That’s because I’ve made them up. But before you immediately lunge to evaporate this web window, you might find something here you can use…

While writing this blog over the past few years, I’ve taken certain liberties with the English language. Along the way, I’ve manipulated, repurposed or fused together words, acronyms and phrases to boil down the essence of what I’m talking about as a user of technology.
(Or if these words already exist, I’ve warped their meaning for my own Frankensteinian delight.)

I’ve picked ten to offer up for your own use.

Clever, corny or worse?
You decide…

Analog folks who grew up without the Web, but have successfully made the digital transition to social media.
(Source: Laptop Time Machine)

Preapplenary Era
Our lives before Apple and the iPhone.
(Source: I Am a Road Warrior)

Quadrotriticale Paradox*
The more vacation pictures you bring home that clog up your computer, the smaller the chance is you’ll actually share your best photos.
(Source: Five Tips to Rescue your Best Summer Family Photos)

That dopamine high that comes from owning cutting-edge tech.
(Source: I Don’t Know Why I Want Ultra HD)

C.D.I. = Core Digital Integrity
Your moral code that limits how much you’ll touch up pictures with your photo-editing software. My bottom line: “Don’t mess with the core integrity of someone’s ongoing image.”
(Source: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility)

E.R.S. = Extreme-Reconnect Syndrome
Baby boomers’ unique experience of reconnecting with long lost childhood friends through Facebook.
(Source: Open Letter to My Generation – Social Media is Good)

B.T.B. = Beware the Blips
Consumers who feel frustrated and ignored when they want convenience and simplicity when watching purchased media on their home tech. My message to the media moguls: “There are a lot more of us ‘blips’ than you think…”
(Source: Blinded by the UltraViolet Promise in Your New Blu-ray Movie)

Tech Group Think
The search for informational conformity*** when researching new tech to purchase.
(Source: Please Rate This Product…or Else)

Your tech identity index… or how you self identify via different forms of technology.
(Source: My New Area Code Twists my Techdentity)

(Isn’t this self evident?****)
(Source: I Don’t Know How to Install my Wireless IP Camera, Part 1)

*If you’re not a “Star Trek” geek, it’s a reference to “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode.

**Yes, I’m referring to “Tron” or “Tron Legacy.”
***You’ll never find unanimous opinion on anything online.
****Perhaps ‘Techtastrophe’ is what I should have titled this blog post!

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