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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Twitter and Flickr for citizen journalists

One of the neat things about blogging is being your own publisher. It is almost like putting out your own magazine. And just as no newspaper or magazine should go without images, your blog posts should not go begging for pictures.

Wikimedia Commons is one excellent place to look for copyright free images. Lot's of folk sharing lots of pictures are to be found there. Another good site is Flickr. Both sites make the copyright restrictions which apply to each image very clear. The restrictions vary from image to image, so stay alert as you search for pictures. Twitpic can also be a source of images but I have questions about using pictures found on Twitpic. More on this later.

Rally to Restore Sanity (and/or Fear!) was so reasonable. Bes... on TwitpicReady to restore sanity!  on TwitpicStephen Colbert is my favourite superhero (at the "Rally... on Twitpic

The above images are from Twitpic. I simply added the embedding code into the HTML of the Blogger page. The code is right there for the taking on the Twitpic page. Clicking on the glorified thumbnail image, above, will bring up the original Twitpic page.

Twitpic Photo: Yaman09
You can take larger images from Twitpic but you must view the full sized image and then right-click to Copy Image or Save Image As... You can also point, click and drag the image onto the desktop.

If you Copy Image, you can paste it directly into a photo enhancement program, like Photoshop, for cropping and tweaking.


If you copy, drag or save the image, this will break the link to the Twitpic's originating page. You must add a link under the picture to restore the connection. This is demanded by Twitpic:
"Remember! Twitpic Community Guidelines specify that if you post a Twitpic photo on an external website, the photo must link back to its photo page."
This all sounds good and sounds safe. No copyright infringement here, right? Since the embedding code was supplied, putting these pictures on one's page must be O.K., right? I don't know.

The first image may have been shot by the person twittering, making them the copyright holder, but I am suspicious of the middle image of Colbert and Stewart and the next one of Colbert alone. Were these images really taken by the person twittering? I have my doubts. A lot of stolen images are to be found in the Twitpic mix.

Flickr Photo: Jeff Gates
Flickr Photo: Bridgette Blair
The two large images above were taken from Flickr. The first big image was removed from Flickr using a download function found on the Flickr site. It is a big file. The second was taken by right clicking the largest posted image available and using the "Copy Image" function. Afterwards, I resized the second image so that it would load faster. This resulted in a little loss of quality. (I can live with the loss; I, and my readers, like the speed.)

Flickr Photo: Joe Newman
Both these images appear to be safe to use on a blog but the Creative Commons licence seems to put them off limits for newspapers and others who would use these image to generate income. Click on the photographer's name in the credit line under the image, the name is linked to the originating Flickr page.

Flickr Photo: Bridgette Blair














The Flickr image, above left, has been cropped to accent the subject of the photo. It has also been brightened using Levels and Curves in Photoshop. I believe this is allowed.

The "Palin" picture and the crowd images were fitted onto the page using Blogger supplied tools with a little tweaking. When the second image, the horizontal one, was placed and sized, it was too large for the space. This forced the horizontal image to appear below the image of "Sarah Palin." By finding the size of the image in the HTML code, this is very easy, and subtracting ten percent from both the height and the width, the image was made to fit. (Use the Preview function in blogger to check your layout before posting. Be warned that your Blogger page may format differently on different computers.)

So, if you are blogging and need images, Flickr seems to offer the safest images for placing on your site. Flickr users are photographers while Twitpic users are posters of pictures --- pictures which may or may not be owned by the poster.

Be aware that Getty Images uses Flickr. You can see these images but you cannot use them without paying Getty. Pay close attention to the info found under the heading License. Make sure that you scroll the Flickr page so that you can see all the license info. Sometimes the Getty copyright warning may not be shown without scrolling. Watch for the black Getty Images symbol; If you see it, don't use the image.

Links: Flickr, Twitpic search

If you are writing a blog on a news event, remember to google the event itself or the event's sponsors.

The Government of Chile posted excellent shots from the recent rescue of the Chilean miners.

See: Government of Chile, Flickr page.


From the Democratic Party Facebook page.

The Democratic Party in the States have a Facebook page where they often post pictures. There were a lot of excellent pictures posted there from Obama's recent four-day tour of the west.




It is not always possible, but when it is, the safest pictures to use to illustrate your blog and other posts are the pictures you shoot yourself.

The American West, popular with tourists the world over, shown in my shot.
Cheers!
Rockinon

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