timothy falconer's semantic weblog
Big Fractal Tangle

realness day

*teefal wakes as from a long dream, picks up pen and paper, and begins again*

Four months ago, we finished the fruits of our work, Tidepool and Storymill, our self-named “Project Realize.” The plan after finishing was to engage the blogerati and publicize ourselves with links across the blogosphere. Instead, as such things in the web world usually do, someone stole our thunder: Flickr got bought by Yahoo a week after our launch. They soon snapped up the mindshare we were after; Flickr’s become quite the phenonemena, in an area we were aimed directly at.

For a while there, it made me sick to think of it. Seemed every day I’d type something into Google and see someone’s tagged Flickr photos pop on the page. Nevermind features, nevermind business models, nevermind niche markets … I felt personally defeated before I’d even caught my breath from the product launch. Truth is, the way I felt had more to do with other things, but whatever the cause, I didn’t have the strength to summon the publicist within me, and so Tidepool and Storymil sat mostly unnoticed.

Recently I remembered our initial vision, which had less to do with blogs and power laws, and more to do with real people and their memories:

Cherishing our shared heritage helps create and sustain real community, real meaningfulness, which many of us hunger for as an alternative to the soulless singularity of corporate branding and rubber stamp franchises that are slowly erasing the color and character of our towns and families.

Whereas Flickr proudly proclaims that they’re “Not your Grandfather’s Photo Sharing Site”, our aim has always been exactly the opposite. We’re about *realness*, not web views.

The ease with which they can explore and share this shared memory space will encourage them to further tell the stories of their lives and communities.

So today, with this post, I’ll start climbing that mountain once again.
No longer “realize”, today’s *realness* day, at least for me.

And being real, I’ll admit: I’m not sure I’m up to it.

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