May 2012

Can we please stop calling things Social Media?


Look folks, 15 years ago the web was static. “Online media” was a web page with a “under construction” gif on it that never got updated. That’s what people expected. We’ve come a long way since then. Our media, which we largely consume online, now includes comments, ratings and suggestions from our friends, ability to give feedback or better yet edit and republish or add our own opinions to, etc etc etc. It includes these things by default. If something launches without these things, the first feedback from the people who encounter it are always “please add…” and then a list of the previous features. But they aren’t features anymore, they are the norm. Saying “Social Media” some how makes it seem like this is special or different, but it’s not, it’s the most common thing and we all want and expect it.

But worse than that, the term “Social Media” is an odd shaped box and no one is exactly sure what the application of that label means. Are Yelp and Twitter the same thing? What about Twitter and YouTube? Or Instagram and Tumblr? What about Facebook and Google+? Surely Pinterest and Airbnb are the same. At least, they must be the same thing as Spotify, right? And CNN now reads tweets on air. They are all “Social Media” so they must be the same…

See the problem here?

It’s 2012, all media is social – so let’s just go ahead and stop pretending like “Social Media” means anything and start describing sites and services and applications by what makes them unique and different rather than the one thing that makes them all the same.


Hi Folks From The Daily

Hello. I’m delighted that The Daily has run a version of my post about leaving Facebook and I’m excited to hear feedback about it and get some other opinions. I’m not foolish enough to think I have all the answers, or even some of them, so it’s great to get some other perspectives on hot button issues like this.

If this is your first time here and you are wondering “who the crap is this Sean Bonner guy?” don’t worry, that’s a normal reaction and you aren’t alone. Here’s a little bio that might help. You can also stalk me/talk to me over on Twitter or Google+ – I hang out on both of those sites a lot. If you just want to read more of my thoughts, this site is the best place for that (use the dropdown bar on the right to find categories you care about).

Thanks for stopping by!

Why don’t you just go digital?

Xeni & Tara


This morning while lamenting a lost roll of film (I’d loaded it wrong and spent several days shooting, well, nothing) Tara said something like “I don’t know why you keep messing with that, why don’t you just go digital? I’m sure you can get the look you want with filters or something” I don’t remember my exact reply but it was something along the lines of “there’s a little more to it than that.”

Which got me thinking, of course.

And now I’m writing about it, of course.

Mike Borras, Vienna

I’ve resisted calling myself a photographer for my whole life for a million reasons, I just like taking pictures. I like documenting things and I like trying to express a feeling in something visual. Writing isn’t that much different honestly, often when I’m writing I’m trying to convey a feeling and choosing the words and structure I think will do that best. With photography, it’s about picking the right moments to capture a feeling. I didn’t realize it had been this long, but 2 years ago I wrote some thoughts about photography in general and touched on the film vs digital issue then. A lot of that still holds true. But today, in 2012, why do I shoot on film?

Super private email lists

In thinking about and talking to people about the kind of social network I want, the notion of email lists keeps popping up in conversations. Traditionally I’ve been pretty down on email as a means of conversation, and generally try to discourage it’s use when ever possible. Though I’ve listened to the arguments and as a means for keeping a small group of people connected it may just have it’s merits. What’s been most interesting for me recently is talking to people who run incredibly locked down private lists.

Oddly related, I’ve been reading a lot about outlaw biker gangs. I’ve been devouring both biographies of bikers and undercover agents who infiltrated the clubs. I say it’s related because in both situations we’re talking about a goal of a tight knit group that functions well, and in both cases when it’s been made too easy for people to join those groups, or when the groups have become too public, things have fallen apart. When the clubs stay private, avoid soliciting new members, and require very long “prospecting” periods before potential members can join so that all existing members can feel them out, things generally work better.