I was a little surprised yesterday to receive an email requesting permission to use one of my photos for a “news” article! This request came via Flickr’s messaging system from another Flickr user claiming to represent a crowdsourced news organization that creates its stories from user generated content. I was a little skeptical because the link to the article sent me to a form that both requested an authorization for permission AND required I sign up to be a member of this site. It seemed like a strange way to recruit people to join their site, and I became even more skeptical when I got a second request from a different user! Was this some strange new spam mechanism? What am I getting myself into if I sign up? Well I did a little research and NowPublic seems to be a legit organization using Web 2.0 to create crowdsourced stories outside of the mainstream media process. Or maybe it’s just a way for would be writers to showcase their material. In any case these were real people, not spammers, and they really wanted to use some of my photos of Mt. Everest to add context to the story that Sir Edmund Hillary, the first to summit the mountain, died at the age of 88 yesterday (or today depending on which side of the international date line you’re on). I couldn’t help but recall the awe we felt standing at the foot of the mountain and think about how amazing it must have been to be the first person to reach the top and look down on the world as nobody ever had. It’s also pretty amazing, thinking about the effects of elevation we felt at a paltry 5,200 meters, that Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were able to accomplish the task without the modern equipment that climbers now rely on.
So now I am member of yet another user generated/social networking/blogging/web 2.0 thingamagig… somebody needs to create a site that helps you keep track of all your flickr/wordpress/myspace/facebook/linkedin/etc accounts!