Photos Are For Looking At

Photo Sharing

Years ago the saying was “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Today, with the ease of sharing photos I’m not sure that saying holds true. Tech is making it so easy to take photos and share them. Almost every social network has some interface that will take you from click to share in just a few steps. The time from taking a photo to handing it off to grandma has gone from weeks (or months) to something more like 2 minutes.

I look back at photos from just 10 years ago and while I do have a few I took and had developed from my “real camera”, it was so much easier to use the digital photos. Only problem is that compared to today their resolution is so low. We’ve been conditioned to need a 14 megapixel photos, despite doing nothing more than sharing it on social network.

For the first years of BabyGirl’s life I made photobooks. One of my favorite ways to remember our experiences is to create a photobook. I spent hours saving, uploading, arranging, and adding text to these little books. I was already uploading the photos to print them out, may as well make a book. But those days seem long past.

In their place are hard drives filled with tens of thousands of photos. I have multiple photo libraries because I try to limit them to 25,000 items. You know, “just incase”. Many of which are random food shots, the sky, feet, and who knows what all else. Gone are the days of thinking twice about taking a photo and in its place we have twice as many photos. Heck, who am I kidding, for every one photo we used to snap on our film camera we have 50 we take on our phone or digital camera. And instead of being excited to develop the film when we heard it rewind, we … Well, I can’t speak for everyone but I know I don’t order prints any more as a routine.

Every once in awhile I upload a few photos and order prints. A few photos of my grandma and her brother and sister-in-law. A photo I just happened to snap of the orchestra conductor. But even those, while I want the prints, often seem like such a hassle.

Now, with my Samsung Galaxy S4 (which I received as part of the Verizon Insider program), I easily shoot videos that look better than my traditional video camera. Again, recording life but doing nothing with it. So what’s the point?

I don’t have many photos from my childhood. But those I have are so precious and important. BabyGirl will end up with few tangible photos, but have terabytes or maybe even petabytes or exabytes. Sounds great to have hundreds of thousands of photos, but we’re not archiving them. Even though many of the photo software programs we have add tags based on GPS data or facial recognition, we don’t do anything with the photos. We take them, share some, save all. It’s like we’re photo hoarders.

What should we really be doing with these photos?

  1. Share – sharing them with our social networks is great. But what about with people who aren’t on line?
  2. Delete – at the end of any given day we may have taken 20 or 30 photos. Most of which are not worth keeping for our lifetime. We really need to just delete the ones we know we won’t ever use or share and maybe come back to them periodically to cull them again.
  3. Organize – Saving digital photos in files by date is great. But the days and weeks run together. Even months and years tend to become a blur. If we only have a manageable collection to organize, it’s easy to change the default file name to something we’d actually search for if we went looking.
  4. Print – whether it’s taking an SD card (or Memory Stick) to the local store to print off a few photos, uploading them to a site that will print them for pick up at a store you’re going to, or creating something more elaborate like a photo book we really need to consider having a tangible way to enjoy the photos and share them with new friends.

I remember being a teen and sitting on the couch with my grandpa going through photo albums and listening to the stories behind the photos or learning about the people in them. As I’ve moved my grandmother from her home, I’ve had to consider what to do with her multitude of photo albums. As my grandmother ages, I miss out on the stories and history the photos hold. And while there are a number of photo albums, there really aren’t many photos that cover her 93 years. I have 2 photo albums that belonged to my mother. Together they may have 50 photos. It’s my only visual connection to her. And there is no one to tell me the stories. Still, I cherish them.

But I wonder how much my daughter is missing out on because looking at photos isn’t as easy as pulling out a photo album, snuggling together on the couch, and reliving this wonderful experience. Instead, there is no looking at old photos because it means booting up the external hard drive, finding the photos, waiting for them to load, and balancing a laptop.  And even if I can pull them up on the home network, it’s not the same looking at them on the TV.

“A picture’s worth likes and shares” just doesn’t have that same feel. We really need the thousand words.

Disclosure: As stated above, Verizon Wireless provided me with a Samsung Galaxy S4. This is not a sponsored post and no compensation was provided for this post. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third-party. I do, however, have a business relationship with Verizon Wireless and thus I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


If You Give A Girl An Android Phone …

GS4 Image

You should have seen the look on my face when I received (free of cost to me from Verizon Wireless) the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. It was probably pretty obvious from my stunned look I had no clue what I was really holding. I’m an iPhone user. Look around me and you will find I’m surrounded by Apple tech. CycleGuy had a Blackberry for work but somehow convinced the IT team to test out their wireless security system by giving him an iPhone5, that’s how much of an iOS family we are.

VZWBuzzI was among a group of bloggers invited to the Verizon Wireless headquarters in southern California, and we were all given a Galaxy S4. I sat there holding the Samsung Galaxy box like it was a newborn baby. Several at the table had already exchanged their SIM cards before I could even get “WOW” out of my mouth. As one of the newest members of the Verizon Insider team, I was unaware we’d get anything. I was secretly hoping to get an upgrade to my Verizon MiFi (which I have had for over 10 years), and never imagined I’d walk away with one of the hottest phones on the market.

Mention Android and my mind immediately thinks of those commercials a few years ago where the phone was turned on and said “Droid” in a very robotish voice, and I laughed because they made me think of R2D2 and C3PO.

When I got the phone I knew nothing about Android phones. I had to read the manual to figure out how to turn the thing on (the button is on the right side of the phone compared to the top for iPhones. In my mind they should all be in the same place). If I had been on a deserted island and came across this phone I’d probably still be on the island trying to figure out how to do some of the most basic things.

At dinner I was speaking with one of the women who works at Verizon Wireless and she mentioned I should take a class at the Verizon Wireless store near my house, which happens to be the first new concept store in the western part of the US. Having been in it now, it is pretty cool.

Anyway, she convinced me I should take a Verizon Wireless Workshop. They’re free to the public (and who doesn’t like that?), regardless of your carrier. Sure, they’d like you to be a Verizon Wireless customer but if you’re not they’ll still help you. My iPhone is with a different carrier, but my carrier was not willing to help me figure out my new phone because I did not buy it from them. So I went to the workshop website and found a class.

Signing up for the workshop was easy. I just went online, entered my zip code and chose the workshop that was most convenient for me. I chose the “Getting Started” with Android class. By time I went to the workshop I had been using the phone for about 2 weeks. And by using I mean taking photos and videos, using Instagram and HootSuite, and admiring the large, colorful screen.

Admittedly, I knew very little about my phone. Justin taught the class, and there were 4 of us there at that time. One of the ladies had a phone Verizon does not carry and she said she is with another carrier but her son signed her up. Justin helped her just like he did the rest of us. The class was about the basics, most of which I figured out from reading the manual. However, by the end of the class I knew how to do much more than I when I arrived. Basic things like removing an app, reconfiguring my home screen, and deleting (turning off) apps that are running in the background eating up my battery.

Having figured out the basics, I now had more questions, so I signed up for the “Doing More” with Android workshop for the next day. This time there were only 2 of us and rather than following a set script, Justin (a different one, how confusing is that?) focused on helping us with learning how to use the device the best way to benefit us.

I consider myself tech savvy. I’m often an early adopter of new technology. But when smartphones came out, I went with Apple’s iPhone and never imagined switching. I did envy my friends with the Galaxy S3 because their phones had bigger screens (ugh, being 40-something had sure done a number on my vision), but for the most part I figured the phones were pretty much the same. I’ve learned they are not. And for someone whose only smartphone experience has been an iPhone, I didn’t want to have this super cool phone that everyone oooh’d and ahhhh’d over and only be able to take photos and post them to Instagram.

I often believe I can just watch a few tutorials online and I’ll figure out what I need. With the Verizon Wireless Workshop, I didn’t have to sit through a lot of extraneous talking. In a matter of 3 hours I was able to figure out most things I would use on my new phone. Between the two classes I have learned how to:

1. Use the gestures feature (but I don’t because I look like a dork waving my hand over my phone)

2. Add apps and widgets and configure pages the way I want

3. Use the Notifications pull down screen (which doesn’t exist on iPhone) for easy access to settings and notifications

4. Use the type swype feature. This is very cool but I’m still trying to get used to it since I switch between the GS4 and iPhone.

5. Not get freaked out by Google Now since it’s like stalking yourself.

6. Use the picture-in-picture feature as well as the side by side image capture of using the front and rear cameras at the same time.

Sure, these are all pretty basic things. But for this iPhone gal none of these were very intuitive. The face-to-face learning worked well for me. I was able to ask questions and have someone show me and let me try it. I’ve watched a lot of tutorials and videos about the S4 features but for an Android newbie it’s just not the same.

If you get a new mobile device, sign up for a free workshop at a Verizon Wireless store near you. It will prevent frustration and you’ll feel more comfortable using it to its full potential. There are things I miss from my iPhone (like touching the time at the top of the screen and it automatically scrolling all the way back to the top), but I’m learning it’s not a bad thing. Just different. And different can be good.

Have you taken a workshop to learn how to use your device? Was it helpful? 

Disclosure: As stated above, Verizon Wireless provided me with a Samsung Galaxy S4. I was also provided travel and accommodations to attend a workshop at the Verizon Wireless offices in California. This is not a sponsored post and no compensation was provided for this post. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I do, however, have a business relationship with Verizon Wireless and thus I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.