Future of Photobooks :: The power of crowds

The month-long, multi-blog Future of Photobooks project we hosted on RESOLVE was the trigger that really got me thinking about the growing potential of collaboration and crowd-sourcing.

Andy Adams, the founder of FlakPhoto, was my co-conspirator and I learned a lot from working with him. His connections are vast and well organized and he will work tirelessly to mobilize them for a project. See for proof the more than 50 bloggers who contributed posts to the Future of Photobooks project.

As RESOLVE editor, I sometimes felt like an army of one, so working with Andy also brought my attention to the logistics of collaboration: recognizing and playing to each other’s strengths, streamlining communication, giving credit often and publicly. I PLAN TO CONTINUE TO EXPLORE THE SUBTLETIES OF CREATIVE COLLABORATION ON THIS BLOG AND SHARE WHAT I FIND WITH YOU.

Probably the most eye-opening aspect of the Future of Photobooks project was seeing the power of group knowledge being harnessed to create a valuable resource.

By asking bloggers to write on their own platforms, we decreased the burden on us as editors and also connected automatically with a wide range of audiences. And instead of one or two cool links and interesting ideas on a couple blogs, we ended up with enough for three link-packed posts, plus three separate discussion topics, which were also moderated by top bloggers.

Finally, rather than asking readers to follow this trail of posts all over the blogosphere, we indexed all the articles in a central post, along with all the related posts on RESOLVE, creating a stockpile of information about new directions in photobook publishing.

While we were helping readers learn about photobooks, I think it’s safe to say that Andy and I were the ones who learned the most. I know that for me, because I had to read every post in order to synthesize the information for the summary posts, I often felt like I was getting a personal class in photobooks.

And once people saw the impact of the Future of Photobooks project, they asked Andy and I to share what we’d learned: I gave a presentation about it at the Apple Store in San Francisco, he just presented at FotoFreo in Australia, and we’re both joining a panel this fall at the Flash Forward Festival in Toronto.

As someone who was trained as a magazine editor in the traditional sense, this new concept of an editor as an organizer, coordinator, and refiner of not only words but also relationships and activities is super exciting. I hope you agree, and will follow along as we explore those ideas here.

One thought on “Future of Photobooks :: The power of crowds

  1. Pingback: AFTER STAFF: Resources for former staffers | HEY MIKI

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