This post was published in November 2008 and may contain facts or opinion that are no longer current.

Other People's Data

Here’s a question I’d like to throw out to the crowd: what am I supposed to do if I want to keep track of things that other people have uploaded to the web - in short, how do I track other people’s data?

Let me give an example to help explain: I’m at the Future of Web Apps conference (as I was last month), and somebody I’ve never met before takes a picture of me and uploads it to Flickr. I’d quite like to keep an eye on all the photos of me that are on Flickr, maybe to read comments, maybe to show somebody else at some point in the future. What can I do to help me keep an eye on this photo?


Answer: tag it. You might think that tagging is perfect for this, and you’d be wrong. To continue with the Flickr example: some people have it set up so that nobody can tag their photos, some people let their friends tag photos, and I’ve got no guarantee that the owner won’t remove the tag in a week, two weeks, three weeks time.

I need a way to edit the photo so that nobody else can change it, basically. At the moment, the way I’m doing it (and the only way I can think of to achieve this) is to “favourite” the photo. That’s crap, as it’s obviously not what the favourite feature was meant to be used for.

You might think I’m being anal about stuff which at the end of the day is just “on the Internet”, but I think this example highlights a broader problem. I’m stuck for ideas.


By Michael Henley on 15 November 2008 at 21:02:

What you need it seems is a sort of personal delicious. I know the bookmarks bar exists, but that is not cloud based etc. In fact you may be able to use delicious in this capacity - i don’t know having not used it, but you could simply bookmark all the things which are important to you and tag with with FOWA for example. Does that solve the problem or did I miss something?

By Alex Muller on 16 November 2008 at 17:02:

I’ve been thinking about this - and I think you might be right, but for now this link is working quite nicely.

Had completely forgotten about Delicious - it might have regained a place in my heart though :)


By Will Morgan on 18 November 2008 at 21:21:

And how was FOWA this year? I left in 2007 feeling rather cheated.

But onto the actual topic, I find simply bookmarking the page/image with Firefox to be more than sufficient.

Maybe the scope of social bookmarking would need to be played with in order to find a solution to it, a sort of other-person-oriented Digg/reddit/delicious, if you will.

For the time being though, whenever I want to keep tabs on someone or something, right click -> new folder does the trick!

By Frankie Roberto on 05 December 2008 at 13:19:

This doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s interesting to note that Flickr have just started displaying who added each of a photo’s tags…

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From 02AM on Saturday November 15, 2008

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