I head off to PICNIC in Amsterdam tomorrow night, and I’m a slide-making machine. I’ve sketched out the four talks I’ve committed to giving, and am now working on developing the visual accompaniment to the three where I have the luxury of using a slide projector. (The fourth talk is at a conference called Mastermundo, which won’t involve a stage, but in which speakers and listeners will be wandering through the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam wearing headphones, then travelling to the Hague by train. I chose to give my talk on the train for the simple reason that I’ll have an easier time looking at my notes if I’m sitting down.)
I used to put lots of text on my slides. Then I spent a couple of years attending really good conferences and discovered that the speakers I really like rarely put any text on their slides. (Lessig is the exception that proves the rule.) Now my slides usually feature webpages I’m referring to or photos vaguely related to the topic I’m discussing.
My preference is to use Creative Commons licensed photos so I’m not violating anyone’s copyright or artistic rights. So developing a talk means coming up with a detailed outline of what I want to say, then coming up with the ideas for the images I’d like to illustrate each point, and then searching for those images on Flickr.
Sometimes this works better than others. I wanted photos of African shopping malls earlier today – “african mall” works very poorly as a search, while searching for “mall” and the name of African cities works wonders. And then there’s the occasional search that just is custom-made for this method.
One of the talks I’m giving is about publishing and filtering in a digital age, and I wanted to refer back to the bad old days before citizen media and talk about how hard it was to get your voice heard. So I figured an image from Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park would do nicely.
Photo by Rüdis Fotos
But which image?
Photoby ben hanbury
Photo by markandrew
By the way, if anyone’s figured out a way to customize search on Flickr, I’d love your tips on how to do it. I’ve saved this URL – http://www.flickr.com/search/?l=cc&ss=2&ct=0&mt=photos&w=all&s=int&q= – as a bookmark. It tells Flickr that I want only photos, only Creative Commons licensed, no concerns about Safe Search, and please search the text of image descriptions as well as tags, and search the results by “interestingness”. It works, most of the time. But what I’d really like is for the search box on Flickr to behave this way when I’m logged in, unless I override those settings. Any hints?
By the way, a congrats to my Creative Commons friends. This method used to give you pretty thin gruel on Flickr – now lots and lots of the images are CC-licensed, and it’s a very reasonable prospect to do a photo-rich talk using only other people’s cc images. Very cool.