Service Integration and Mashups

As we move forward in our world of technological inspiration and development I’ve seen the explosion of not only social networks, but of internet services, open source software, and powerful content sharing and distribution mechanisms. Services like Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Smug Mug and the Suite of Free Google Services and so on are growing at a mind boggling rate. I still remember sitting in a cubicle about two years ago in the Winona State University tech department at my first job trying to design websites to be fast and optimizing each image and layout to be as small as possible so that they would download quickly on a modem. I remember how small my view of the vast amount information and the petty prejudices I would have against various ones, not seeing ahead to the measures that would be taken to distribute and organize that information. I believe the information age is no more and that the information itself has become expected and transparent but the networking and organization of that information has and will continue to surpass it as the primary commodity in the world today. As I’ve moved out of my little world, gone to college Utah, and am now five weeks away from graduation I’ve seen Google go from a small beta company to the biggest and most well known company on the planet, I’ve seen Facebook go from a little personal networking site to one of THE leading social network today in the US (Not sure how the foreign market for social networks is going).

What does it all mean?

I spent most of today re-evaluating MANY of my online priorities and ways of doing things. These last two months has seen me extensively pick up my networking and social skills and apply them in ways I never have before. I’ve spent more time updating, writing, and networking than I ever have in the past, the simple fact that you’ve been seeing blog posts here that are over 200 words on a regular basis is something that I’ve never done before. I’ve moved into the world of Twitter, a micro-blogging and status service and took the leap of getting a pro account at Flickr so that I could integrate large versions of the photos here on this site.

But why?

As you look at the conglomeration of things I’ve mashed together, there are several things that I’ve begun to be able to do. The problem is that I have hundreds of people spread over an entire spectrum of networks, locations, and mediums. I have a friends on Flickr, different friends that watch my blog feed, personal friends on Facebook, random followers on Twitter. The trend that I have begun to noticed is the integration of one service with another. With a twitter update I also update my status on Facebook and my blog, with a new post on my blog a new note gets automatically written on Facebook and anyone who watches my feed also gets updated. A new image on Flickr now shows up in my Facebook story feed and is now accessible for me to use on my blog with a link to the Flickr photo for comments and discussion. Not only do I now have all these services at my finger tips, but common users have created links between these applications with whole markets sprouting up around these links because of the efforts of the developers to create easy to use interfaces allowing others to link the services.

I’ve spent the last few days experimenting and working out the kinks in many of these network linkages. About a month ago my twitter account became linked to my Facebook status, about that same time the RSS importer for Facebook allowed me to import my blog posts as notes in Facebook, even pulling thumbnails of the images that are in the posts in. About two weeks ago when I went live with a new design to this site I added my twitter status to the top of my blog. Today I went through, tested out and have begun using even more service links, I redirected all my RSS feeds to FeedBurner for tracking and analytics, I added an application to Facebook to show any new photos in Flickr on my Facebook story feed, I even added a plugin for WordPress (The blogging engine this site runs on) that allows me to now insert photos directly from Flickr into my blog, because the photos are displayed full size by default on my blog they now will link directly to the Flickr photo page allowing for much more commenting and discussion on the images outside of the scope of this blog. Something else I may do is add a Flickr album importer into Facebook so that I will no longer have to upload photos to both Flickr and Facebook simultaneously.

The point is, this environment is changing at a rapidly and exponentially increasing rate, as I’ve grown in my networking savvy I have no longer been turning to the network with the most people or services, but I rather look to see what best allows me to integrate these services with each other and access them simultaneously. I don’t have time to go and browse each location, or to update every place separately. This mix and mash of services is allowing to do one thing once, across multiple platforms simultaneously and update everyone quickly and without hassle. Personally, it’s cool when you realize the sheer scale of things, almost to the point of being scary as to how efficient I can mash up an entire system of services together in a way that suits exactly what I need to do and that allows me to reach hundreds of people, each in their own preferred medium.

With that being said, good luck to you all in your social-network-service-mashup-mix-and-match endeavors and I look forward to hearing the thoughts of others on this.

– Paul Rohde

Its your turn

As I’ve spent a lot of time learning and practicing my photography there have always been people along the way to give advice, provide mentorship and vision for me to reach for. Some never even know how much they’ve helped me along this little personal journey of mine; so today I’m going to be taking the time to recognize some of the people who have both served as mentors and peers to me and to those who have provided encouragement.

However, As I step into the ‘real world’ out of college I also want to take time to give back to the community as best I can. Without that, without many of the resources that people have put together, I really do not think I would be anywhere near the photographer I am today. One of the things I’m going to start doing is taking the time to answer photography related questions here on my blog and to begin writing down much of what I know in the form of tutorial posts. Its YOUR TURN to let me know what you want.

I personally wanted to thank each and every one of the following people (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them):


My Mom & Dad

Meet my parents, they got me my first camera body and lens and have always supported and encouraged me to become better, that camera still rarely leaves my side :) They’ve always been a blessing in so many ways and supported me in the many interests and hobbies I’ve had throughout my life. Thanks you both!


Jordan Ogren

Jordan is one of my best friends and also got me my first interview and job at WSU (Winona State University). As fellow photographer he and I were always competing and critiquing each others work as we both started out at around the same time. He also appears likes the taste of plastic V8 Splash bottles ^_^


Rich Legg

Another fellow photographer that I met through my Church here in Utah he started getting back into photography, stock photography in specific, helps run the Photowalking Utah group and is an amazing photographer and networker, in addition to being a good friend. He’s one of those people you look up to and try to model your work after, many thanks Rich for all the critique and encouragement!

(Rich is the photographer on the left)


Dani Jae

Dani is one of those people that you first meet and wonder if they ever get tired, sleep, stop going… or stop talking. I still haven’t figured it out :) Over the time I’ve known her she’s introduced and recommended me to more people than anyone else I know, and is an amazing friend to boot. If your reading this Dani, many MANY thanks for the friendship, the shoots, and the crazy conversations over pie :)


David Figge

Though not a photographer this guy has helped and encouraged me in my photography and been a great resource to me as I’m working to start my own Photography business. Many thanks for the time and input you’ve put into me Dave!


Peter Boysen

Another photographer that’s both a friend of mine and Jordan’s; he has a good set of work and I’ve often wished I had the skill he does. Thanks for all the inspiration, direction and criticism Peter!


Jared Anderson

A former Disney performer come to life Jared is another photographer whom I met at Neumont and have since kept up and done occasional shoots together. Many thanks for the time, critique, and the Nikon vs Canon rivalry!


Nathan Sweet

A photographer that I met through Ute-Nighted up at the University of Utah we’ve been collaborating (him borrowing my lights) *ahem* and occasionally critiquing each others work, bouncing ideas back and fourth, and so on.

Many thanks to each and every one of you, and I hope to be hearing from those of you who have something they would like to hear me write about here on my blog!

– Paul Rohde