It is with great pleasure and hopefully an aura of humility that I write Week Twenty Five’s SOTW. It’s as much a SOTW “Shot of the Week” as it is a “Statement of the Web”. As one researching IG, brands and user-generated content I am finding some interesting things happening. One of those is a hunch that our speed is changing. The speed we digest images, the depth in terms of time we drill down into IGr’s feed, and the speed in which we move from conversation to conversation in our time in between the many positions we play on each of our own devices. It’s left me question if the finger is developing and serving as an antenna, trained by persuasive technology (UX and UI) making us more adept at reading the mobile terrain, making judgements quicker, making patience more sensitive and tuning into the frequencies we need before we move on to the next. And through all the trawling and the flickering, the jumping and the twitching we no longer move through imagery nor roll through it but now “flash” through it. It’s a slippery slope.
Focusing a lens beyond the IG ecosystem and onto #thehashtagofman and its minutiae we have here a tiny yet expanding corner, attracting a diversity of picture making folk, using images and IG to expand voice, give document, and share in developing a story of the human spirit. I like to think that between these weekly updates and the amazing conversations that develop and motivate we somehow, are collectively slowing things down… even if for a minute or two. Maybe?
While his work is fabulous in it’s own right, and was used to announce The Summer Soulstice shoot, it was this announcement and the speed of which we travel now which caught my eye and my attention. Tom Bolduc (@tom_bolduc) tagged a series of photos to #thehashtagofman and I realised that in this series we were offered something the original The Family of Man was not – a story as it was unfolding. But with this immediacy there is also a danger – that in the sheer amount and speed of our contributions such a story can get missed, such a precious moment dropping down, down.down as all our pictures pile on the top of others – freshest first. Here The Family of Man did not fail – for years and years the same images are there as record, as reflexion. Maybe, and I am not sure about this yet, we have traded in slowness and contemplation for speed and accumulation. Maybe this makes things exciting and always in the new. And maybe we like that too. But what I got caught in this week, and has been niggling away at me, is that this event shared came and went within the current of imagery and almost – just – was lost.
And yet I felt that in the rush of imagery @tom_bolduc did something else… through the use of the medium and this hashtag he connected the past and present spirit of The Family of Man. It was in this sharing of his daughter’s birth with us that I felt he edified the concept behind #thehashtagofman. And with that I realised that what we have here is absolutely incredible. Yes, we can rush, we can flash through, but we also can absorb, respond, communicate, share, converse, support, engage, cheer, empathise, cry and laugh at the images, yet it is through the images as they present their glow on our pocket size screens we can visit whenever and wherever we wish. I just think we need to make sure that we don’t lose the connection of one while connecting to many.
Congratulations to Tom and family. And thank you for the lesson.