Since January 2012 I’ve been a member of Blipfoto. If you haven’t come across this site before, Blipfoto is a simple concept. You set up a journal on the site, where you post a maximum of one photo a day. There is no obligation to post daily, but many blippers (yes, this is what they are called) do so, myself included. When they share their pictures, blippers also have the option of sharing text, such as stories, commentary and metadata to go with the picture of the day. As well as contributing their photographs and narrative, blippers enjoy looking at the postings of others, regardless as to whether or not they know these contributors beyond the online environment.
There are many reasons why I am a huge fan of Blipfoto. I have discussed some of these elsewhere, for example, in a professorial lecture in 2012 when, in the words of Blipfoto’s founder and CEO Joe Tree, I “reverse engineered” his engineering. For those working in library and information services, Blipfoto’s potential value as an information source on everyday life is enormous. Earlier this year, Blipfoto was chosen by the British Library as one of the 100 websites that would provide “essential reading” for future generations of researchers interested in how we live in the early twenty-first century. It’s easy to appreciate why. Here on the site are thousands and thousands of authentic pictures (and stories) of people getting on with their lives. One picture at a time, Blipfoto is assembling a collective record of human history, which the British Library recognises will form an essential resource for social historians in the future.
Joe Tree is a keynote speaker at this year’s Internet Librarian International (ILI) conference in London on Wednesday 16th October. In the past I’ve thoroughly enjoyed attending ILI. Indeed, I gave a keynote there myself in 2010. The conference attracts delegates from around the world to share real-life experiences of innovation and technology in libraries. Unfortunately, I’m not able to attend this year, and will miss Joe speaking about how he created the Bafta-winning web site. However, I’ll be looking forward to following the event over social media, and I hope that Joe might chose to share a blip from the conference on Wednesday 16th October when he updates his journal that day. I’ll also be interested to see whether a new intake of LIS blippers joins in the blip fun around the time of the conference the week after next. I confidently predict that this will be the case.