December 14, 2009

Collaboration with a point: Help Me Fix The Last Picture Of My Mom

Help me fix the last photo of my mom
All too often I see examples of collaboration on the web that just don't stand up to the initial "so what?" test. The end results could have happened without the technology, people collaborate to find out things that just don't matter to most folk or they are contrived as if to solely provide an example for a snakeoil salesman to regurgitate at his next dubious conference keynote.

But Reddit provided the platform for some technically talented creative people to make a fundamental human difference to the individual initiating things:

My mother died of cancer yesterday. This is the last picture of us together and I wondered if anyone with mad Photoshop skills could touch up the picture and remove the oxygen cannula. I would greatly appreciate anyone who could be of assistance.

Follow the discussion trail to see how respondent after respondent tries to build on the work of the photoshopper before him or herself. Heartening stuff, and meaningful.

How many times can the collaboration we all take part in, online or in endless meetings at work, be called either heartening or meaningful? One worth thinking about the next time you enthusiastically embrace 'collaboration'.

Thanks to Dean Shareski for saving this to his online bookmarks for sharing.

The Edinburgh Informatics' Startup Café has a lecture from Reddit's founder, Alexis Ohanian, explaining how the site came into being and what makes it such a great space for these kinds of collaborations.


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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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