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!


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