Pictures, identity and privacy : a sociological research and a game

Posted on October 5, 2008. Filed under: English, photography, Research | Tags: , , |

We used to “Google” someone, now we “Facebook” him/her. Pictures tell so much more about the person than a few words here and there. A sentence taken out of its context can be misunderstood, one could have been careless, tricked or just tired, and said a few words that went further than what was intended. Almost anybody would agree, at least the tolerant ones 😉

But what about pictures, pictures of you taken by others (and not “Photoshopped” of course), or pictures you’ve taken, and which end up online ? How far would you go in exposing yourself, voluntarily or even “unvolontarily” (if someone took a picture of you doing something that society usually condemns, by habit, morale, if not legally) ?

Sociogeek was developped to try and understand the behaviors of Internet users in the social media / web2.0 era. This study uses a game-like online survey (in French, using the new and powerful Flash CMS from SpinMedias) to help you and the researchers understand how you act. The results will be shared publicly. This research is a joint program by :


Here are the results of my test :

My Sociogeek survey results

What about you ?

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Compte-rendu de la conférence VizThink à San Francisco

Posted on February 14, 2008. Filed under: conference, Francais, MindMap, Outils, photography, PowerPoint, Tagcloud |


Pour tous les “visual thinkers”, les “information designers” et les designers des connaissances ça se passait à San Francisco les 27, 28 et 29 janvier dernier … et j’y étais 🙂
J’ai rédigé un compte-rendu (pour une fois en français) qui est disponible sur ce blog :
Bonne lecture … et à bientôt pour un post sur les labels, les sceaux et autres marques de confiance.

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Mercator and its followers: maps as representation of reality and expression of point of views

Posted on October 18, 2007. Filed under: History, maps, opinion, photography |

I came across a nice map today in the Discover Magazine showing R&D spend per country. While I generally love such maps, I could not resist a strange feeling looking at this one, mainly because countries are so distorted that they are hard to identify (look at Japan on the right). The interactive version that is accessible doesn't give much more information. This is another example of bad design on a good idea: showing discrepancies to make a point.

World R&D expenditure 

For ages we have been used to the so-called "Mercator projection" world map. This is already a distorted view of the reality, a 2D "flat" representation of a 3D globe, but has been the standard for its numerous advantages for the navigation on the world's oceans, a key issue at the time (16th century). If you add the fact that  in our western world it is centered on the intersection of the Greenwhich meridian and the Equator, some areas of the world are extremely distorted (as said in Wikipedia "At latitudes higher than 70° north or south, the Mercator projection is practically unusable"), but we are used to it as it magnifies our leadership in the world. Of course if you look at world maps in other countries (take China and Russia for example), the view differs considerably …

 World map centered on the North Pole

This is yet another illustration of the importance of opinion / point of view in the representation and communication of information… as the current global advertising campaigne of HSBC.

Half full or half empty ? 

As I said earlier (see here and here), visual language is more "universal" than verbal language, but of course this is mostly true for some forms of visual language such as icons, pictos, graphs / matrix, schemas, and some more recent forms. This is far from being the case yet for photographs and colors (direct representation of nature), which signification can differ considerably from one culture to another … even if a certain convergence can be observed.

World map centered on the poleUpdate : I just came across (via Bertrand Keller) of the very good information design / mapping tool that provides worldmaps anamorphoses viewed from different perspectives. It was developped by Roxana Torre : PersonalWorldMap 

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The role of images in communication is to give hope : interview of Matthieu Ricard, bouddhist monk

Posted on September 3, 2007. Filed under: Blogroll, photography |

Some of you (especially in France), have probably already heard of or even read him. Matthieu Ricard is one of the most prominent faces (and voices) of Bouddhism in France, he wrote several books including "The Monk and the Philosopher : a Father and Son discuss the Meaning of Life" with Jean-Francois Revel, his father. But Matthieu is also a photographer who published many photo books like "Tibet, an inner journey", and I had the chance to briefly interview him during the Université d'Eté du Medef where he was taking part in a round table on "Balayons devant notre porte : is Occident's way of thinking the only good one ? Does globalization help us to understand other ways of thinking and to cast a critical eye on occidental concepts or, on the contrary, does it tend towards uniformization (and impoverishement) of the frame of reference ?".

Uploaded by adebuche

Because of his own experience both as a scientist, photographer and bouddhist monk, I asked him about what lessons he could draw for the role of images in the communication in the enterprise world. He advocates that images give a note of hope, and that pictures of the world can be a reminder of the beauty of human nature. For him, images in communication can help us to realize our inner potential for goodness, to give a note of hope and not loose it !

A positive and poetical message in our sometime stark world of competition and research for today !

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