Report 2: Twitter Based tool: TWITPIC- the future of photojournalism but is it worth the hype?
Description: Twitpic is one of the several image hosts that allow 21C media professionals to upload images to share with other users via Twitter and other forms of social media. (http://www.crunchbase.com/company/twitpic). It is one of the most well-known third party image hosts with just a small team of 7 running the shop, so to speak. (http://thestartuplife.com/2012/02/how-we-work-at-twitpic/). The site have recently launched their own an Iphone app, with added editing options in an effort to make the upload process easier and, literally, at the touch of a button. (http://mashable.com/2012/05/07/twitpic-app/) On the other hand, Twitpic has had some negative coverage in the media as of late. Ever since Twitpic signed a deal with a celebrity photo agency WENN, there has been a lot discussion about the site’s licensing of photos. (http://www.popphoto.com/news/2011/05/twitpic-signs-deal-wenn-can-now-sell-your-photos-even-if-you-remove-them) Blogger Jonathan Boyes, one photographer who is not happy with Twitpic’s actions explains that: “Essentially they (Twitpic) now grant themselves a license to use or resell your images where and when they want with no recompense to you whatsoever.” (http://www.jonboyes.com/blog/comment/twitpic-twitter-lockerz-yfrog-mobypic-good-or-bad/) Since May 2012, the site has acknowledged that the user has copyright, however maintains that once the image is uploaded, the site has full control of the image. Nevertheless, the benefits the Twitpic tool has to media research and presentation for 21c media professionals continues to grow.
The control of images on the web has always been a problem, however the control of the images when uploaded to image hosts like Twitpic, is an even more significant issue.
Those who upload the photos might legally retain copyright of their images, however once the image has been uploaded, the image hosts are those who, ultimately, have full control. Twitpic reap the benefits of these photographs and are only warning users of this licensing in very fine print of the, usually ignored, Terms of Service.
Research has shown that photojournalists are taking a big risk when they use image host Twitpic to share their photographs. As Jonathan Bailey author of the article ‘The Twitpic Terms of Service Debacle” from Plagarism Today explains that even though this license is a “legal necessity, some companies abuse this necessity and the fact that very few read the terms of service to grab far more rights than they actually need.” (Bailey, 2011)
Olivier Laurent author of “Rights row follows Twitpic photo deal” from the British Journal of Photography alludes to this issue of image copyright and urges photographers to stop using social media tools to show their work.
“Photographers have been urged to stop using social-networking services such as Twitter and Twitpic to distribute their images after the latter signed a deal with a picture agency, highlighting copyright grabs in the terms of service of these platforms.” (Laurent, 2011)
With this issue of image control in mind, the tool’s affordances and constraints will be further analysed.
Due to the simplicity of the Twitpic tool, both the technical and purposive affordances are very straightforward. Some of the technical affordances include; the way in which one can upload an image or video through Twitpic so that it instantly updates their Facebook and Twitter accounts (see figure 14). Additionally when it comes to uploading the photo, the user has the choice to edit the photo, with a range of different filter effects to choose from.
In terms of the purposive affordances, the Twitpic tool provides users with the freedom to act as a photojournalist. Sure enough, for professional photojournalists, Twitpic has also proven to be a convenient tool for making their work known to the public and in order to be used by media outlets. Therefore the main pro of Twitpic is that it gives photojournalists a platform to receive the ultimate amount of coverage and accessibility.
In terms of the research tasks presented in the summary matrix below, the tasks of selecting a topic, presentation and publishing all work in Twitpic’s favour. The trending photos and video stream on the site’s homepage is a good method for media research. It enables the user to see the latest media uploaded and the popular topics (Hashtag search bar), as well as the ‘popular users’ (see figure 17 in appendix). The newsworthiness of the content shared via this tool is unprecedented thanks to today’s Twitter obsession. Major media outlets regularly use photos that are uploaded via Twitpic during significant events. The same goes for celebrities, albeit in a more superficial way of course. For example, Twitpic allows celebrities to show their fans exactly what they ate for lunch that day, what their latest haircut looks like and other personal photos (See figure 16 in appendix). Thus, it is safe to say celebrity culture has never been so well documented since the arrival of the Twitter tool Twitpic.
However, with these pros come a myriad of cons. The tool’s accessibility, which was also highlighted earlier as a ‘pro’, and the control of the images (once uploaded) both act as major constraints for users. Once the photo or video is uploaded to the service, it is more or less out of the users hands, instantly becoming a matter of the public. Even after deleting your image from the service, Twitpic still maintains the right to use the images for a “commercially reasonable” time afterward. (Laurent, 2011) Another constraint and con to the site is the fact that users do not have the option of making their photos private, nor do they have the option of limiting the content to a specific audience.
In view of these constraints, Sarah Marshall, author of “How to: know when to use photos from social media” from Journalism.co.uk highlights the strict legal and journalistic guidelines that must be followed when sharing photos on social media. She explains the issue of image control in reference to recent events that had significant coverage on these networks.
“The person who creates a photo posted on Twitter retains the copyright. But as in the examples of reporting from the Hudson River plane crash, the Norway Massacre and the UK riots, photos distributed via Twitter have been broadcast on TV and printed in newspapers breaching the copyright of the originator.” (Marshall, 2011)
Laurent substantiates this in his article as he explains that due to the heavy criticism Twitpic received when they claimed copyright on all content, CEO Noah Everett was forced to alter the sites terms of service. This came after the site signed a deal with celebrity photo agency WENN to distribute images posted by celebrities. (Laurent, 2011)
Twitpic’s terms of service state: “You retain all ownership right to Content uploaded to Twitpic. However, by submitting content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub licensable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the content in connection with the service and Twitpic’s business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service in any media formats and through any media channels.” (Twitpic 2012)
In conclusion the problem of image control has proven to be a somewhat major issue when using Twitpic. The affordances of the tool are abundant, however it comes down to the fact that Twitter users, in particular the 21c media professionals, are taking a risk when uploading their media to Twitpic. Even though Twitpic has made an effort to make their new terms and conditions known, the damage has already been done, so to speak. Photojournalists who wish to retain full ownership of their work, should keep in mind of Twitpic’s Terms of Service or opt for a more secure image host that does not make profit or use their photos without permission.
Summary Matrix Table:
|Selecting a topic|
|Media research (Ricketson 2004, pp.95-186; Spencer 2006, pp.25-122)Newsworthiness (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)
Angle (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)
Defining topic (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)
Choosing sources (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)
X- Twitpic’shomepage features trending photos and videos, hastag search tool, as well as popular users facilitating research.
X- Twitpic’s contribution to today’s media is unprecendented. Media outlets often use users Twitpic photos to report the news.
X- Users have the freedom to use photos to create any angle they like.
X- Hash tag the photo or video
|Facts and figures (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)Interviews (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)Anecdotes (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)Documents (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)Photographs (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)VideoAudio||
X- Twitpic is a tool to primarily share photos and videos
|Checking credibility (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)Selecting most important data (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)||
X- the source can be traced back to the Twitter user who publishes the media.
X- it is hard to tell if the photo or video is an original or not
|Writing the article|
|Pyramid structure (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)Flow/clearness (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)Spelling/Grammar/Punctuation||
|Designing layout (Ricketson 2004, pp95-186; Spencer 2006, pp25-122)||
X- users can edit and add effects
X- users are able to share with the whole Twitterverse
X- Everyone can access the photos, this is a pro for photojournalists who want their work seen
X- it is a con in the sense that there is no privacy
APA style reference List:
Bailey, J (2011) The TwitPic Terms of Service Debacle, Plagarism Today, retrieved from: http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2011/05/12/the-twitpic-terms-of-service-debacle/
Barribeau, T (2011) Twitpic signs deal with Wenn, Can now sell your photo even if you remove them, Pop photo, retreieved from: (http://www.popphoto.com/news/2011/05/twitpic-signs-deal-wenn-can-now-sell-your-photos-even-if-you-remove-them)
Boyes, J (2011) Twitpic, Twitter, Lockerz, YFrog, Mobypic- good or bad? Jon Boyes Photographer-blog retreieved from: (http://www.jonboyes.com/blog/comment/twitpic-twitter-lockerz-yfrog-mobypic-good-or-bad/)
Bonnington, C (2011) Hands on with Twitpic. The latest iOS App to Offer Photo Editing and Filters, Gdget Lab The Wired Retrieved from: (http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/05/twitpic-ios-app/)
Everett, N (2012) How We work at Twitpic, The Startup Life, retrieved from: (http://thestartuplife.com/2012/02/how-we-work-at-twitpic/)
Kessler, S (2012) 35 Million Users Later. TwitPIc launches its First App, Mashable, retrieved from: (http://mashable.com/2012/05/07/twitpic-app/)
Laurent, O (2011) Rights row follows Twitpic photo deal, The British Journal of Photography (Jun 2011) 158.77789: 14. Retrieved from: http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.uq.edu.au/docview/872388784
Marshall, S (17/08/2011) How to: know when to use photos from social media Journalism.co.uk, retrieved from:
Ricketson, M. (2004). Writing Feature Stories: How to Research and Write Newspaper and Magazine Articles. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.
Spencer, L. M. (2006). News Writing: The Gathering, Handling and Writing of News Stories. Boston: D.C. Heath & Co.
Social Media Examiner-Your guide to the social media jungle: Copyright and Fair use and how it works for online images. Sarah Hawking, Nov 23rd 2011. Retrieved from: (http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/copyright-fair-use-and-how-it-works-for-online-images/)
TwitPic, (2011), Terms of Service, retrieved from: http://twitpic.com/terms.do
Twitpic analysis, CrunchBase, Retrieved from: (http://www.crunchbase.com/company/twitpic)
How to Use Twitpic- a step by step guide of how to upload and share your images:
How to upload via a smartphone:
How to upload via computer:
|Figure 9: Enter (www.twitpic.com) into your search browser. Once you are on the page-click the blue tab on the right hand screen to either create or Login into your Twitter account.|
|Figure 10: Either sign into your Twitter account or click the orange “Sign Up” tab in the top right hand corner of the screen.|
|Figure 11: Click the upload photo or video tab at the top of the page|
|Figure 12: Click the select media tab on the pop up screen.|
|Figure 13: Select the media you wish to upload|
|Figure 14: Caption the photo, and tick the boxes ‘share location’ and ‘share to Twitter’. One can also share the photo the Facebook page by clicking the “Connect with Facebook” button. Once this is done-click the upload button at the bottom left hand corner of the pop-up window.|
|Figure 15: Your photo and Twitter update should look something similar to this.|
|Figure 16: Miley Cyrus is just one celebrity who uses Twitpic to share photos with her fans on Twitter|
|Sourced from: (http://coedmagazine.com/2011/06/30/miley-cyrus-braless-twitpic-and-her-22-raciest-mobile-uploads-photos/)|
|Figure 17: Twitpic’s homepage that features a trending photo and video stream as well as the popular users.|
|Sourced from (www.twitpic.com)|
The Despair of the Syrian Child Refugees
By Helen Douglas
It absolutely breaks my heart to see photos of Syrian children, most of who are under the age of 5, playing in the red dirt of the refugee camps, with an unfathomable sense of sadness in their eyes.
Why have these children already been subjected to such an extreme amount of terror, war and hardship? Thinking back on the, comparatively, very privileged upbringing I had, I can’t help but feel weak when I read story after story about how innocent Syrian children have been killed in attacks.
Yesterday as I was reading my Twitter feed, I came across a photo that made me shiver to the core in sadness. The photo was of a young boy standing outside the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. The sheer look of despair and helplessness that was wiped across his face made my heart wrench and I instantly asked myself; how can I help?
This photo was uploaded by Twitpic user @eafsooriyah- who desribes herself as an “Arabist. Feminist. Writer. Master’s in International Law & Diplomacy… Listen up–there’s no war that will end all wars. –HM. ” The caption below the photo reads: A young #Syrian boy. Having fled conflict in #Syria, he finds dust & misery in #Jordan‘s #Zaatari #refugee #camp. (http://twitpic.com/aqhh06)
For those of you who don’t know, the Zaatari camp was set up in July this year by the UN to house those who escaped Syria during the civil war. It was initially designed to accommodate 15,000, but by the end of August the camp already had 40, 000 refugees living there.
Australia’s Governor General, Quentin Bryce, visited the Zaatari camp yesterday and was reduced to tears and despair as she met brave families who had lost everything, but still maintained a sense of hope.
Ms Bryce told the ABC radio yesterday, “It’s enormously distressing for all of us to reflect on the huge numbers of little children who are here. Increasingly hundreds every day, who are under four, these tiny little children, whose health is very vulnerable in this dust.” (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-03/emotional-bryce-visits-syrian-refugees-in-jordan/4239064)
Governor General Quentin Bryce visits the Zaatari camp in the Jordanian City of Mafraq. Source from (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2012-09/03/c_131823244.htm)
Looking at photos of this camp distresses me enough, and I am only looking at it from half way across the world, albeit through a computer screen. It is safe to say I won’t ever only actually know the gravity of the situation until I visited the camp.
Even Andrew Harper, who is head of the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR (which features on a tent in the photo) admits that: “No-one would want to live in a tent here.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19042686)
The fact that these refugees have escaped a country full of violence to come to a camp, that may not be aesthetically pleasing, represents hope and proves to them that there is light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.
In addition to the UN, other aid organizations are also doing their part in helping out. Savethechildren.org, an independent ‘leading aid organization that seeks to create lasting change in the lives of children’, have done an admirable job providng aid to Syrian child refugees. Through their website, anyone is able to donate money or sponser a child/families in refugee camps.
The appeal for extra assistance doesn’t just stop there. According to a UNICEF media statement released on 27th August: “UNICEF is urgently appealing for additional funds to meet the emergency health, protection, and water and sanitation needs of the growing numbers of Syrian refugee children and their families arriving in Jordan.” (http://www.unicef.org/media/media_65612.html)
As war continues in Syria, the UN refugee agency is expecting to house another 55,000 people even though they are already at max capacity with 40,000 children being housed already.
With that said, I find myself asking- who is this upset little boy in this photograph? What will he be doing this time next year? Will he have found a home, be back in Syria, or will he still be playing in the red dirt of the Zaatari refugee camp? Whatever the answer is, I rest assured that with everyone’s goodwill and donations, organizations like SaveOurChildren, UNICEF and UNHCR, will do their best. We can’t stop the war in Syria, but we can do our part to put some smiles and happiness back on the faces of thousands of Syrians.