Tag: creative commons

Social Sustainability and the importance of sharing

Flickr Advanced Search with Creative Commons

I wondered for a while what to post on first here after the re-branding of the site and the new focus on Social Sustainability.

First I thought about doing a post about blogging seeing as it is one of the most basic building blocks of social media but then I took a step further back and decided to talk about Social Media and Sharing!

Why? Well, sharing of content is essentially the raison d’être of Social Media, whether it is sharing it privately behind your corporate firewall, or sharing it with as many people as possible on the public Internet. And that’s really the key thing, isn’t it – you generally want your social media generated content to reach as large an audience, as possible.

So, how do you do this?

There are many strategies you can rollout to try to maximise the reach of your sustainability message – everything from ad campaigns to search engine optimisation – however, one of the less discussed ones that I wanted to mention is the use of Creative Commons licensing.

Flickr All Rights Reserved notice
Flickr All Rights Reserved notice

What is a Creative Commons license?

These are like the opposite of the “All Rights Reserved” notice you often see associated with works online – it is the default copyright on a lot of online content and it means that the owner of the copyright reserves all rights around distribution of the content. Obviously, if you want to get your message to the widest possible audience, you want to be sure it is not licensed as All Rights Reserved.

There are different forms of Creative Commons license – from the Creative Commons 0 – which is the least restrictive and is basically a legal tool for giving content into the public domain, through to the most restrictive Creative Commons license which says people are free to re-distribute your works as long as they 1) give you attribution, 2) share the content under a similar license and 3) do not use it for commercial purposes, and various shades of licenses in between.

So, any sites you are creating content on, be sure that you have made it clear to people that they are free to re-distribute your content for you on other sites by displaying the Creative Commons logo along with your content.

So, why the Flickr Advanced Search screenshot above?

Well, when I’m writing blog posts I like to include images to make them look more presentable, however, I don’t want to potentially fall foul of copyright restrictions. Luckily the Flickr Advance Search page allows you to restrict your search to only Creative Commons licensed images. The obvious corollary of this is that if you want to increase the viewership of your images (or any other content, including blog posts, videos, audio, etc.), apply a Creative Commons license to it.

By the way, if you are wondering how to go about getting a Creative Commons License for your content – head on over to the License Your Work page on the Creative Commons site and follow the instructions there.

And if you are looking for the Creative Commons license associated with this article, see the bottom of the right-hand side sidebar.

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Photo credit Tom Raftery

Can Zemanta help you write better blog posts?

Zemanta is a really cool Firefox plugin which scans the content of your blog post as you are writing it and suggests related content!

I first heard about Zemanta when I met Jure ÄŒuhalev, Zemanta’s Community Manager, at the BlogTalk 2008 conference here in Cork earlier this year. When Jure explained it to me I was intrigued and interested to try it out.

Subsequently I met AleÅ¡ Å petič, Zemanta’s Managing Director, at the Plugg conference. Having heard a lot about the plugin, I downloaded it to try it out and I have to say I am impressed, especially since the recent release of version 0.2.1.

The changelog for this release is:

– introduced WordPress 2.5 and new WordPress.com support
– introduced FireFox 3 Beta 5 support
– increased the number of suggestions to non-wikipedia sources
– tripled our index of related articles
– we also started adding our users to the articles index

In the screenshot below you can see that for the post about Microsoft’s Live Earth Zemanta suggested images including Microsoft logos and Virtual Earth screenshots. It found articles and blog posts about the new release of Live Earth and it suggested related Tags and Links (along the bottom). Zemanta also pays close attention to copyright, making sure that suggested content is licensed as Creative Commons or approved by stock providers, so you won’t get into trouble by using Zemanta’s service

Zemanta Firefox plugin

The fact that Zemanta is a Firefox plugin, as opposed to a WordPress plugin is quite clever as it means that it only needs to be installed once and it works across the multiple blog sites I write on. It works on WordPress, WordPress.com, Typepad and Blogger.

I know Zemanta is using some Semantic web technologies so I asked how the plugin works and received the following reply:

Following concepts come handy when trying to understand the engine: disambiguation, entity extraction, hierarchical classification, information retrieval, machine learning, cross-domain background knowledge.

That didn’t help me much but maybe it will be helpful for some!

The Zemanta plugin still needs a bit of work. When writing this post, for example, I had to save the post as a draft and open it again before Zemanta started suggesting content. However, it is very useful when you are writing a blog post to be able to see other sources of related material so I predict a bright future for Zemanta.