Sharing Photographs and Videos the E-Democratic Way

The summary:

  • Attach any size picture to your Issues Forum post via e-mail or the web. We do the rest – resize, present on web, etc.
  • Paste a link to a YouTube video in a post. We do the rest – the video player is displayed for all via your Issues Forum’s web view.

At E-Democracy.Org we believe in leveraging what people actually do in private life online and work to pull that behavior into public life.

Imagine that you are an everyday Internet user. You spend lots of time in your e-mail, visit a few regular websites, and you just barely figured out how to get your pictures off your digital camera on to your computer. While many use photo sharing services like Flickr, the vast majority share pictures via e-mail with friends and family.

Voting in Minneapolis

Say you are waiting in line to vote and you want to share a picture of that civic experience (either when you get home to an Internet connection or if your mobile has a camera and e-mail) or perhaps you spotted a critter you just have to share with your neighbors. To share a photo you simply need to attach it (them) to an e-mail or upload via the web. You don’t even need to resize your original photo. We do that automatically. We also place the image on the website so you don’t need to worry about overloading those with dial-up or slow connections.

Possums in Minneapolis

One other trick is that pictures attached to different posts on the same topic (subject line) form a manual slide show of sorts. Click on previous or next (don’t worry the post explains that the possum is playing dead.)

Video too!

With video, we’ve taken another track. We can’t do that any better or at least cost-effectively as using YouTube. So to share a video, simply cut and paste the standard link to a YouTube video in your post. When visiting a video on YouTube itself, it is the link on the right under the video description text labelled simply “URL.” Here is an example link (URL):

Those visiting the website can then watch the video without having the leave the forum. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a live example from the St. Paul Issues Forum during the Republican National Convention.

A big thanks goes out to OnlineGroups.Net for implementing this new feature in the GPL open source GroupServer platform we use. Funding for these new features (and some more to promote) was provided by pooled resources from the Blandin Foundation, the MSNet Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, and from a technical assistance grant from Ashoka.

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