Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service(KRT)
Issue date: 3/13/06
For college students with parents who need convincing to give a few extra dollars for the month, a picture of an empty yet moldy refrigerator may just do the trick.
That adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is being embraced en masse. Thanks to today’s digital technology, one of the hottest trends among co-eds is snapping pictures and sharing them with the world in an extension of the blogosphere known as photoblogging.
“I love taking pictures with my camera phone, so why not let other people see,” said Shuntia Walker, a sophomore at Georgia State University.
For busy students like Walker, who are not able to write lengthy details of their day each night, a picture-posting shortcut is ideal.
As the numbers of amateur photographers continues to grow, so has the number of photo blogging outlets. Among the Web sites that offer free picture blogging is Fotolog.com. Founded in 2002, the popular site is home to the world’s largest photoblogging community, with more than two million members representing at least 200 countries.
“Photoblogs like Fotolog are really applicable to college students because they tend to keep up with the new trends, like camera phones, spend more time on the Internet and quickly spread things from friend to friend,” said Adam Seifer, Fotolog co-founder and chief executive officer.
Seifer knows all too well that if you snap it, people will come. Since fall 2005 he has posted pictures of every meal he has eaten in a photoblog called “Get in My Belly,” which receives up to 20,000 visitors a week.
Though technology has allowed anyone with a digital camera and a computer to easily become an amateur photographer, others have funneled photography into a profession. Maya Gilliam, a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C., is only 21 years old, but has already perfected her craft in photography, captured numerous prominent faces on film and is the CEO of her own photography and graphics firm, iiieyedigital, LLC.
“Anybody with the smallest interest in photography should keep a blog with your best photographs,” said Gilliam, “My pictures have led to many opportunities for me and I get paid to do what I would probably do for free because I love it.”
Photoblogging also creates the opportunity for students to get even more personal with their friends and enemies by taking a good look, literally, at their daily lives.
“I especially like looking at my friend’s (pictures) because I get to keep up with what’s going on in their life and laugh at some of the pictures they put up from way back,” Walker said. “We all went through some rough spots and it’s funny to see those old pictures.”
Digital cameras and picture phones may have created a new hobby, but some students don’t see the fun posting such personal visuals.
“I’m usually private with my pictures so I don’t really share them,” said Letrice Gholson, a junior history major at the University of Chicago.
But whether students view photoblogging as the next big thing or as sharing too much information, photoblogging appears to be around for the long haul. With that, being cautious of who takes pictures may be advantageous to students as photos are likely to pop up in a photoblog nearby.