It’s been quite an experience. My two principal clients Iltalehti and Aamulehti jumped on the opportunity of using the Livefeed from here and it has so far generated an audience of several thousand people. Commenting has been really scarce – but then again that’s Finland, it’s just not part of the culture to comment (unless you are complaining on something ;-)).
Also, Twitter is not so widely used – the majority of colleagues and journalists I work with do not use it. There is some irony to this as it has been the largest growing phenomenon in the net for the past year (no, it is not Facebook) and it holds huge potential for interactive information exchange.
I’ve had some technical issues over the past couple of days (such as networks having small but significant interruptions in the signal, WIFi and HSUPA not establishing a link, etc.) – like yesterday two of my three transmission channels went dead. I did get pretty nervous, as I knew both IL and AL were advertizing this on their webpages, but everything went smoothly eventually.
Somebody sent an email asking for technical explanation of how this is done, but this is not the time to do that. Let me just say that in anything like this it not actually about the technological solutions but three other factors which are of crucial importance: KISS, workflow and robustness. Keep it simple, establish a solid workflow (practise and stick to it) and make the whole so that it is not dependent on one tiny piece going wrong somewhere and ruining the whole (this means fresh batteries and multiple empty cards, it might mean multiple computers, cameras with transmitters, routers etc. as a backup system).
Sometimes the difficulties one experiences are very simple yet have a huge impact. For instance, I use reading glasses. When I upload a comment on Twitter using iPhone, I have to dig them out. Takes a moment and more importantly, takes my attention away from the action (- and I’ve broken nice pair of glasses both in Beijing and Vancouver Olympics). Yesterday, I tried to manage without glasses – results were loads of typos in the twitter-feed plus two or three not so sharp images I let go to the Livefeed.
As this is not WC or Olympics, I have not established a daily routine of blogging and galleries and stuff. But I refer you to the Livefeed, there is sort of “Best of” -page and a simple panorama from the stadium as well.
On a more personal level, it’s been an experience as well. Two nights ago when I was shooting something on the track, a guy sitting next to me took a look at my accreditation and asked: “ Are you Kari? Really? I’m your big fan, I just loved the stuff you did in Beijing, how the hell did you shoot it? You know, you are really famous among my friends in Netherlands…” and then he introduced himself. A dutch sports fan who had followed all the competitions through my work (and countless other photographers, I’m sure…)
No, it’s not the vanity, it’s not that I’d feel flattered but it is the human aspect of this. That I actually meet somebody who looks up my work on a more or less regular basis. Who can – just like that -describe some of the images I’ve done along the years. I was honestly touched.
You might have noted how often I’ve complained how it is frustrating to work alone with no feedback and then this breath of fresh air: there are real people who really take a look at what you do. So thank you Bjorn, it was really nice meeting you, it meant a lot.
Another nice surprice was an FB-message this morning from Lapland. A girl I knew like 25 years ago said that she was about give birth any day now and that she had not had time to watch the games on TV “but it’s enough to see your images”. She also told that she had forwarded the Livefeed-link to Mika, Tero Pitkämäki’s brother, her friend. Again, this element of a human touch. That I actually do my work for real people. That it’s not for the client but for readers/vievers – and they are not nameless nor faceless.
And some of them really do care.
And some of them even take the trouble of saying it to you.
And for this, my humble thank you – Lilli, Bjorn, and others.
It’s appreciated more than you probably understand.