Monday, December 15, 2014

Photo-A-Day: A Tutorial for Gen-X and Older

If you're somewhat familiar with social media, you've probably seen the "Photo-a-day" thing.  They are all over blog sites, Instagram, Facebook, etc.  Essentially you get one word or prompt for each day and you are charged with taking a photo that relates to the word.  And then you hash tag the heck out of it and post it far and wide for everyone to see. 

I've seen friends participate in these things and it seemed cute and (maybe) fun.  It also seemed like a lot of work to remember to take a photo every single day.  I wasn't sure it was really for me since I'm over 40 and I really don't need any more excuses to look at my phone.  But I was looking for some way to mark time during Advent, so I thought I would give this photo-a-day business a try.

My first order of business was to hit up Google for some help finding some kind of Advent photo thing.  Google rarely disappoints.  The first image I found was this:

Perfect!  It's Advent-y, straightforward, and started on December 1....which happened to be the day I got this great idea.  Technically it was really day two of Advent, but when we're dealing with cheesy Internet photo prompts, we're not too strict on the details. 

Lesson #1
Check the dates on your photo-a-day challenge lest you be embarrassed (as I was) to learn somewhere around Day 3 that you are operating off of LAST YEAR'S photo prompts.  Oops.  Oh well.  So much for searching for all those other kindred souls hash tagging the same thing as me every day.  Sigh.

So Day 1 was fun.  The word was "Go" so I posted a photo of all the tacky smashed pennies I have collected as souvenirs from places I've gone.  Easy.

Bring on Day 2: Bound

These books are #Bound for the Adopt a Family program at NVCSS.
Lesson #2
Hash tagging is a dangerous business.  I suppose during Advent the word "Bound" should lead us to ponder the the journey of Mary and Joseph, bound for Bethlehem.  Or perhaps the word suggests that we reflect on how we are all bound together by the love of God.  Turns out that there are people on the Internet (LOTS of people....) that have a completely different meditation on this word and the images that are #bound might make you a little #uncomfortable.

Somewhere around Day 10, I felt like I was getting into a pretty good rhythm.  I would look at my word in the morning and ponder it all day until something struck me.  Then I would dutifully take my photo and slap it all over the Internet.  Day 10 is also where it all started to fall apart.

Lesson #3
The devil is in the details.  Read and re-read your word.  Proof-read your post before going live with your daily stroke of genius.

Each day is numbered and is assigned one word.  You'd think it would be easy.  You would be wrong.  Here is my post for Day 10:

Day 11: #Sacred. Recalling the promise of the rainbow as we anticipate a humdinger of a winter storm.
Did anybody catch that?  Duh.  It's Day 10 and the word is Holy.  Oops. #photoadayfail

Lesson #4
Even though there are billions of people on the Internet that could potentially witness your failures if you mess up a word or post the wrong day, there are precious few that will actually see your blunder.  (Unless you happen to be a 17-year old YouTube that case you'll probably have a larger audience for your mistakes.)  As for me, my audience is a small, loyal group of friends and family and guess what?  They won't care.  Holy, sacred, whatever.  Let it all hang out. That's what the Internet is all about.


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