Category Archives: ancient history

Tagging social objects to enhance and encourage conversation

Mother and Daughter at Alton TowersThis started out simply as a post highlighting a slightly charming picture of my mother walking at Alton Towers, with her mother, and sticking her tongue out at the camera (held by my father, I presume). But looking at it in flickr and thinking about the people involved got me into thoughts about tagging and sociability.

Electronically-stored, people-generated, collaboratively-organised metadata enhances sociability – that’s why tagging has been so hot (or cool – which is it? It can’t be both. Can it?) We get to make serendipitous discoveries of a certain class of social object because of this shift in metadata management. Fantastic.

I was speculating tonight that since so much conversation about such objects is in a question and answer form, the certainty provided by attaching metadata could reduce in some way the possibility for social interaction around a well tagged artefact. When, Where, Who, Why are all frequently asked questions.

But looking at this picture, it’s easy to see that while metadata would be useful, a fascinating conversation could still ensue around this photograph, if it had just been, say, plucked from an old biscuit tin when my mother (she’s on the left) was helping her mother (on the right) to sort out some junk “Oh look at us!” “When was that then?” “Oh it’s Alton Towers” “Yes the day your father got a flat tyre and had to change the wheel” “So how old was I then?” “Look at you, sticking your tongue out. Oh you must have been 18 because you weren’t married there” “I don’t know, didn’t we have Lloyd with us that day?” “No it was definitely before he was born – you’d just got engaged, I think” “Oh do you remember that dress?” “Yes, I got it off Mrs Winters who lived up at the Cotteridge, it was too big for her Janet and you said you wouldn’t dream of wearing that colour, but you do seem to be wearing it…” on and on and on – believe me, I’ve been listening to these conversations all my life (though I should point out that I have no idea whether any of this is true or I’ve just made it up).

No matter how much metadata had been captured about this photograph, the conversation would still have happened and still been as rich – another re-inforced bond between mother and daughter. The bit about “When was that then?” becomes superfluous, but there may well be other details that either or both the participants had forgotten… or not.

I dunno, just in case we ever were getting sceptical about the value of tagging…

8 random things about me. Thing the fourth.

IMGP1516First let’s have two minutes silence for a long-time reader of this blog, Mr Adrain Phelps of Wetknee, Oxon who was unfortunately eaten by a bear while commenting on a post late last night. Mr Fullups leaves a wife and young daughter relieved that they paid for the additional “bear clause” (clause, claws…geddit?) in his life insurance.

Thankyou, but now to weightier things. Oh, what a link! Because today’s fact is: I weighed myself this morning and I was 15st 3lb – 213lbs for Americans without a calculator. So there Rosie, there’s a fact, a real indisputable fact and it’s about me, is that any better?

I’ve been heavier – indeed at one stage I was more than the 20st that my scales would show, which put simply is “too fat” just in case there was any doubt. My BMI is now 28.9 which is still overweight, but I am not quite “obese” by this awful measure.

The lightest I have been as an adult is about 13st which is the top end of “normal” for my height. I consider myself to have been painfully thin at that stage. If that’s normal, I want to be different. The picture here shows a costume made for me at the time. But I’ve just measured the trousers and they have a 36″ waist. I’m also wearing 36″ jeans today so either the trousers were more comfy than these jeans or else I’m carrying a couple of stone extra somewhere other than my waist. My brain.. it’ll probably be my brain. I’m sad to say that no photos exist in my collection of the pair of apple-green dungarees that I was also fond of wearing at the time. Very Rod, Jane & Freddy. I can’t decide what was sadder, wearing dungarees or the fact that I dyed them apple-green.

‘ello, ‘ello, ‘ello

Helping with enquiries

So this is what asbo-fodder looked like in 1986. Well to be accurate, it’s an interpretation of 1986 yoof by a bunch of nice middle-class drama students (…and me, pffft!)

Did we even get paid? I can’t remember – it might have been just for the pleasure of seeing our young faces in print. I’m not really sure what Surrey Police ever did with this either. Sniggered probably. I’d pay really good money for a copy of the training video we shot for them on another occasion. We would act out scenes of crime and disorder for probationers to practice their recitation of the newly formalised words from the then Police & Criminal Evidence Act. I just remember a bunch of us singing “Here we go” and trying to give some PCs a good kicking and another scene where one of them tried to arrest us on suspicion of possession, on the basis of a screwed up bit of tinfoil from a Mr Kipling Bakewell Tart.