Saturday 17 November 2012

My Online Journey

From Panoramio to Flickr to Google+

I haven't always been big on using the internet. When I really get into anything I tend to become obsessed with it. I have an internet track record of breaking things, tripping wires, and grabbing people's attention not always in the best way. I've also had some problems with interacting with people in real life. Below are the main networks I've used over the time I've been actively producing content online.

The Pamoramio Days:
My family has traditionally been behind the curve of technology and we didn't even have a computer in the house until 2003 and we started out with dial up. I mainly used it to play a few games and type things up. Eventually my mother saved up to buy a laptop that I began using when she wasn't using it. It wasn't until 2007 on a laptop passed down to me by my mother that I started to contribute content to the internet. For a little while I had been obsessed with the desktop version of Google Earth. I loved using it to explore areas around my city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. I had an obsession with finding new waterfalls and brook trout fishing spots and I'd ride my pedal bike out into the forest down old bush roads and bull my way through thick forest to find these places and take pictures. I discovered that on Google Earth you could embed photos as a layer through a site called Panoramio, so I signed up and started to put my photos up on there.

A screenshot of Google Earth overlooking the upper reaches of the Little Carp River with descriptions. The following photos correspond to the numbered locations.

1. These beaver ponds were up on the flat height of land. This was early in the spring and finding such ponds excites trout fishermen, at least me anyway. 

2. Further downstream just above the waterfalls the river looks nice and peaceful. 

3. Then BAM! it goes over a plunge into a gorge full of waterfalls. 

4. And along these journeys I'd come across the Salvelinus fontinalis better known as brook trout or speckled trout. These guys are prized fish for eating and carry a kind of prestige and air about them for being a fish that needs an extremely high quality habitat, hence they are an indicator species

The Flickr Days:
I soon became bored with Panoramio, I was getting a lot of views but there just wasn't a community to be found on the site at the time. So I went looking for a new site to display my photos so I researched which site was the world's most used photo sharing site and I found Flickr. I started posting on Flickr in 2008 and I started to get some interaction with people, I discovered groups, and made some new contacts. I found it to be a great place to see other people's work and I soon started to fave a lot of images. I became obsessed with faving, I liked looking at people's photos and it was a way for me to escape chemistry and biology that I was studying in university. Through all of my time faving, seeing photos, and shooting I quickly developed my skills in taking photos. I soon became renowned for faving images and I showed no sign of slowing down. On Flickr Thomas Hawk claimed to have the most faves of anyone and I soon passed him and hit a quarter of a million before Flickr stopped me thinking I was an automated script and suspended my account in 2010. Flickr's freezing of my account caused a lot of commotion and soon threads and blog posts started popping up about it and I disputed Flickr's claim and they unfroze my account. Since that time I slowed down on Flickr in fear of tripping another spam wire.

Above is Thomas Hawk's blog post about my Flickr account being suspended. 

The Google+ Days:
A few months after I had finished my university degree in Biology and Chemistry Thomas Hawk invited me to Google+ on August 19th of 2011. At first I was afraid of joining and being active on something referred to as a "social network" since I hadn't done well interacting with people in real life. I gave it a try and I felt like there was an accepting community on there. Within 5 days I had 1,416 followers, within 36 days I had more than 6,000 followers which is around what I had amassed on Flickr. By June 15th of 2012 I had hit 50,000 followers and now by November 30th I estimate I'll hit 1 million followers. The massive amount of followers means nothing though in comparison to the meaningful relationships I've made with people on G+. I had met Thomas Hawk on Flickr years ago, but it wasn't until G+ that I really felt like I knew him through G+ hangouts which are a live video chat of up to 10 people. Google+ helped me further open up and overcome some of my social problems to the point where I actually felt confident enough to host an on air variety show using G+ Hangouts On Air. The show has gone on to become one of the longest running shows on G+. Producing shows meant that I was producing video content so now I'm more active on Youtube, a site where I was too afraid to comment on for years. Making a lot of new great connections on G+ spilled over to Facebook where I've gone from only having a handful of school friends to having hundreds of friends and many subscribers. During this time I've also gotten interested in Pinterest where I'm enjoying collecting images related to my interests.

A screenshot from the 33rd episode of my on air G+ variety show "That Show with Billy Wilson (TSBW)".

This now brings me to this place, this blog, that I've just started mostly based on the buzz and recommendations I've heard from people on G+. So far I'm enjoying this and I'm excited to see where it will go. Let me know what you guys think!


about Billy


  1. It's wonderful to see how you've faced challenges, grown, learned, and rocked out your awesomeness ;) I very much look forward to seeing what wonderfilled things you continue to do next!

    1. Thank you Jordan! You've helped me overcome many things in being around to help me.

  2. Nice trout! Enjoying reading this, keep writing Billy! :)

    1. Thank you Claire! I will continue to write these!

  3. I for one am really glad that you are on Google+ and giving a lot to the community, thanks for that Billy.

  4. Well written and super interesting. The Flickr story really caught my attention.. crazy! Thanks for sharing Billy. :-) I'm new to blogging this month.. totally different subject area. Documenting life. If we all had the same hobby it would take the fun out of it, right?

  5. I am new here in this kind of industry but I am struggling being immersed in this information technology world. I do sell E-Books in my website (that is still being developed and the 6 amazing books will be launched in a few days time).

    Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions on how I will be able to improve. Yes, I do have wisdom but it all comes from past experiences from almost all parts of the world. To live with people on all walks of life, to experience what they also are experiencing. I have sum it all up with the books that I have written.

    Thank you and hoping to hear something from all of you. If you do this blogging thing. I have a lot of things to share with some shocking things I have encountered living from almost all places in the world.

    Keep in touch.

    J. K. Tallis
    Tallis Love Site

  6. I want to start by saying I think you are a truly interesting person and I love you photo's. It was sort of weird to me how I was allowed into a circle of photographer' and that is how I've come to learn all these worthy things about you. I feel I connect with you on a lot of levels especially when you are talking about technology in general.

    I could honestly write quite a lengthy post on my strange path to becoming a blogger. Cutting to the chase, I basically was pulled out of my own shyness and into using computers directly from my job that simply required that I get with it or get out. It was a stretch for me at first to even have a Email address but I found myself getting into facebook to basically be a nosy mom. I had teenager and I was hearing different things and I wanted to know what it was all about. It was a little addictive like a new toy but after the initial fixation with it; I dubbed it as a good tool and that it is. A tool can be used for good or bad that all depends on the one using the tool.

    In the past few months I too have become not only a person who reads other peoples blogs but I have one of my own. I think it is probably more theraputic than anything else. I am not a photographer. I just take pictures of things I like. I am not a writer I just write about things I like. I'm not technical. I've just figured a few things out along the way. Through the blogging community I have met a lot of folks that I think are amazing. I learn from them and share what I can with them in return.

    You are obviously talented and educated. The blogging community should serve you very well. I'm positive you will reap joys from it and also be able to give joy through the things you share. Don't be discouraged, only be encouraged and above all be yourself and do what is comfortable for you.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with me.

    1. Great to hear about your journey online Lynn. I'm looking forward to what the future will have for me concerning blogging.

  7. Hi, nice article, sorry to hear about "your flikr".

    Billy the title of your blog go over your header banner!


    1. Thanks Michael, I'm just trying to get the title and the image to work, there doesn't seem to be an option to put the title above the image. I'll fix it one way or another soon.

  8. Great pics and looks like you have a great blog. You now have a Picaso account which is a great photo editing software and online sharing place. You might hop over and download the free software. All blogspot photos are hosted there. You can share there much like you do at Flikr. Pinterest would also be a great way to share your photos and bring traffic to your blog.

    1. Thank you Debbie, I've been using Picasa for a while now since it's also connected to my Google+ account. Are the photos that are posted to Picasa from Blogger public? Or are they unlisted or private?

  9. Nice! your blob looking good!

  10. Really great getting to read your history Billy!
    Really nice to see you're linking to your favorite people too.
    Its probably more beneficial to them to be linked to their websites [if they have sites that is] than their G+ pages. But really great to see you do that. I link to a few choice people as well on my Blog/site.

    Always great reading your work. Nice to see it evolve.

    P.S, there is a letter 'a' on both sides of your blog background and the number 1 trailing along the top of the page... not sure if thats intentional or not... but thought Id let ya know. Also you may want to check out the new blogger templates, they are very easy to implement and offer some great features.. including the ability to link your G+ Bio! And share posts directly to G+! Very nice!
    Also there is a great tool called Disqus for comments.. it allows people to log in with a variety of accounts.. and it kills spam! And.. makes for a very seamless integration with the rest of the web, and offers some other major advantages.
    Let me know if you ever need a hand with anything at all, Id be glad to help!

    Great job! Love the trout!

    Be well

    1. Thanks Jason, the background is intentional and becoming part of all of my webpages.