A critical mass of photograph swappers…

03/05/2004

Everyone at ETCon had a Mac. Or at least pretty much everyone at ETCon had a Mac. And pretty much everyone was using the wifi network in the conference rooms. And – much like last time – loads of people were using Rendezvous to instant message each other in iChat as well as to collaborate on documents using SubEthaEdit. Also this year, everyone was taking photos with their digital cameras. But one thing surprised me – no one was sharing their albums via iPhoto. When I was in Los Angeles I’d bought iLife because I wanted to play with Garageband, but when I started playing with the various applications I quickly realised that iPhoto’s rendezvous sharing could be really really interesting and cool in an environment like ETCon. I kept thinking that there would be a whole culture in photo swapping and distributing snaps of speakers, nicking pictures of yourself from other people’s computers, finding ways to annotate your own personal experience of the conference with the distributed materials of a few hundred attendees. But there was no such culture there.

There may be any number of reasons why it didn’t take off in that environment, of course. One possibility is that people feel different about photos than they do with playlists and music – more proprietorial, more nervous of sharing. Or there might have just been problems with the network. But I can’t help feeling that it’s a direct consequence of Apple charging for this particular update – and that the critical mass of people that you’d need to make an active subculture around that stuff will now not be reached…