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Photos And Videos: New Era In Online Media Sharing

1. Introduction

Online multimedia sharing with the help of advanced technology has changed the way humans used to socialize. Social networking portals are a recent development, allowing a user to create and maintain a network of close friends or business associates for social and/or professional reasons. Media sharing websites such as You Tube, flicker, yahoo etc. have become major social network portal, where people are connected by their common interests on certain types of images or videos and form millions of sub-communities. Apart from that some social sites like Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, etc. are also incorporating photos and videos sharing features, allowing users to very easily upload and share videos as well as photos for their friends and families.

According to Boll (2007) Multimedia defines itself to be the field that deals with different continuous media type such as videos and audios, and discrete media types like photos in an integrated fashion. We can categorize online multimedia by integration creation, manipulation, presentation, storage and communication of these media encoded information. The primary features of videos sharing sites are to upload and deliver video clips of any reasonable length in most standard formats. Viewer of website can view, comment, share and download the videos.

Malinen (2010) in her study finds that in online photo sharing there are two behaviours of photographers ‘Snapr Culture’ and ‘Kodak Culture’, first one referred to people, who takes pictures of traditional subjects such as birth day or any other ceremony and share them with friends or close ones . Whereas other referred to people, who take photographs for sharing them online to any one and their interaction take place through website rather than face to face, they use tagging, commenting and online messaging for maintaining social bounds.

2 Features

2.1 Features of Multimedia Sharing Sites:

There are many activities performed by users on media sharing site called supported manipulation features of multimedia sharing sites. Zhuhua et al (2010) categorize the activities in to contents publisher and contents users. Content publisher are define as the initial parties, who share piece of media and perform following functions.

  • Upload: Content publishers can upload their media and enable it to others to share. Users first have to create account and then upload the contents. The contents are usually store on server.


Figure 1: shows upload option (Facebook 2011)

  • Add Description: They can add the description of the media. The addition of description is not necessary to upload the content, but the more description you provide then it is easier for other user to search the contents.
  • Tagging: Davis et al (2009) explain user can add temporal tags. User can click an emotic tag, create user define tags and tags their friends. Emotic tags are just emotion tags and user define tags can be any tag of user choice. User can also tag their friends to their contents to share with them.
  • Linked Contents: Users can link relevant photos and videos.

Contents Users are define as parties that reference the publisher’s contents. These users can perform following functions

  • View: Contents user can view the contents stored on server.
  • Comment: They can post the comments on whole or part of media contents which are enable to them.
  • Share: a facility to send recommendations to others. This can be done via an e-mail with a link to the media or as an embedded HTML fragment on a social website
  • Rate: Content user can rate the contents of media sharing sites, make it favourite or the site might use non-intensive metrics such as the number of views. This facility indicates the popularity of contents.

2.2 Advance Features:

Cesar et al (2008) explain advance features of media sharing sites are those extensions to conventional sharing behaviour that allows personalization, focused sharing and enhancement of contents by non-owner.

  • Fragmentation: It allows a user to define one or more range of clips within a base media object, as the videos sharing site like YouTube allows the maximum duration of videos 15 minutes. These fragments can be explicitly or implicitly expose to the parties whom the user shares contents.
  • Annotation: It allows the user to add notes or comments to a particular media contents. The annotations could be audio, text or image. The annotation may be exposed to all parties sharing the media or only user defines subset.
  • Enriching: It facilitate the user to add new temporal links, subtitles, captions, remixing or repurposing.

2.3 Features Should Support by Media Sharing Sites:

According to Zhuhua et al (2010) many sharing sites provide institutionalize support for community building around their media, For example many people can retrieve similar media, add new temporal links and recommended the media. But these models cannot support media tracking and ability to support integration. The multimedia sharing sites should support media integration and share functionality cross multiple share sites. The unsupported tracking model has not only economic implication, it also present copyright implication as well, the publisher does not have any idea of who and how other peoples manipulating their production. The duplication of videos implies that a content user cannot share media with all enrichments because of different duplication made by others unless these duplicates were tracked and integrate with a server on web scale.

3. Characterization of Social Multimedia:

Tian et al (2010) define social multimedia is define as “an online source of multimedia resource that fosters an environment of significant individual participation and that promotes community curation, discussion and reuse of contents”. We can expand the scope of this basic definition by including three types of interaction.

  • Contents interaction between multimedia: Any multimedia application is made up of more than one medium, with different media correlated but not necessarily time-base. For example a user might put together an image and several descriptive keyword tags on Flicker to evoke a particular viewer response.
  • Social Interaction around multimedia: Here, the em¬phasis is on the relations among people within a group, and multimedia is the medium for how they connect and transfer information. As such, text-only blogs and SMS are social media but not social multimedia, while video blogs, tagged images, and P2P-based video-sharing networks are three exam-ples of social multimedia.
  • Social interaction captured in multimedia: Here, multimedia tools or data capture social activities and interactions, a very important aspect of social multimedia due to the proliferation of surveillance cameras. Video surveillance offers a moment-by-mo¬ment picture of interactions over extended periods, providing information about both the structure and content of relationships.

Social Media

Figure 2: Social Media (Fredcavazza 2008) ,

There are a variety of social networking websites, including Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Orkut, Ping, and Twitter. These sites facilitate online communication through a variety of media. The interactive, interlinking environment supports the creation of personal and business webpages where information, photos and videos are shared. In February 2010, Google released Google buzz, a service for sharing thoughts, multimedia, and social media website feeds using the existing email service, Gmail. Google buzz is an open environment that adheres to open standards, meaning that developers will be able to create applications for buzz across many platforms. Social bookmarking sites, such as Delicious and Digg, allow people to discover, organize and share content on the web and to access their own favorites from any personal computer. (Cheng et al 2008)

  • You Tube is one of the top destinations online to watch and share videos through the internet. It allows people to easy uploading and sharing of videos through websites, mobile devices, blogs, e-mail, etc. Paolillo (2008) states, since You Tube first launched in December 2005 emerge as major player in video distribution. According to a rough idea this site boasted 100 million views and 65,000 videos upload per day. You Tube also offers community groups which user may join according to their personal interest.


Figure3:YouTube Home Page (YouTube 2011)

  • Flickr is one of the most popular photos sharing websites and a notable example of web 2.0. Flickr was originally developed to be multi-player game, but due to combined influence of growth of social networking, boom of the sales of digital cameras and success of blogs, Flickr inclined towards providing photo and videos sharing services (Prieur 2008).
  • Facebook is the largest photo sharing website on the Internet with 14 million photos uploaded daily . Integrating photo sharing within social networking communities has also provided the opportunity for user tagging , annotating, and linking images to the identities of the people in them. (Besmer and Lipford 2009)
  • Orkut a newcomer to the social networking scene, has attracted a lot of attention because of its links with Google, for whom the site developer works for. Primarily a social site, orkut has a relatively low user base as it requires an invitation to join. Communities are created under thirty or so general category headings (similar to those found at the top level of the Open DirectoryProject) and contain usual message forums and events listings. orkut has been criticized for its poor privacy policy, which has recently been revised.

(Murchu et al 2004)


Figure 4: Online video gets social: How users engage (Mashraqi 2008)

Due to low bandwidth connections (dialup) available in the early internet, image files were the dominant media file format during the 1990s. Digital audio for CDs and larger hard drives made audio files an increasingly popular file format during the 1990s. DVD use did not surpass video tape until 2003. Digital cameras and personal computers with optical disk drives became increasing common in the early years of this century. Image sharing websites such as Flickr and video sharing websites such as YouTube allow users to upload and share their pictures and video. Broadband internet, larger hard drives, and faster CPUs in personal computers now allow more individuals to work with digital video files. Websites such as YouTube provide user interfaces that include support for text-based special-interest discussion groups as well as video blogs. (Roberts and Foehr 2008)

This new era seems to offer us both benefits and dangers simultaneously. Social networking would appear to be here to stay, in one form or another, and so risk management has become a major concern. Hence it is essential for everyone to be aware of legal implication of their actions (Ossian 2009). Some of the legal issues are briefly described below.

6.1 Copyrights

“Copyright” literally means the right to copy, but has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work. Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner. Most of the websites for example YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders and publishers and requires all users to confirm that they own the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder to upload content. (YouTube 2011)

6.2 Infringement Notification

To avoid the high repeat infringers many websites enforce policies that provide for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers. Any user who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification can be subject to legal liability. (YouTube 2011)

6.3 Privacy Rights

Most of the users are unaware that posting photos or video of any individual without their consent in liability based on privacy rights. Making a false or bad faith allegation of copyright infringement by using privacy rights and copyrights can result in adverse legal consequences. (YouTube 2011)

6.4 Minimizing the Risks

Awareness is key to solving the solution. Users need to be more proactive about ding terms and usage policy carefully before posting any content and protecting privacy on the Internet. Unauthorized copyright content usually make up small percentage of popular content for websites like YouTube (Holt 2007)

7. Conclusion

Although trends in online photos and videos sharing technology began simply as a consumer phenomenon, attracting numerous users and contributors for social applications such as MySpace, Flickr and YouTube, and Facebook, it has significantly impacted many other application areas by enabling better, faster, and richer applications, while reducing costs of development and deployment and offering tangible benefits in last decade. As these sites continue to grow in popularity and users add more and more photos and videos, meeting users privacy needs is important to allow safe and comfortable participation on these online communities. Users desire and need more tools to allow them to regain control over their privacy and manage their privacy decisions over time.


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Ibrahim Bello, 2011/04/28 23:24

Thats good work Asma, well done.

Asma Patel, 2011/05/02 21:51

Thank you Ibrahim 8-)

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