The Secret Life Of A Photo

2016-01-28 08.09.57

Last week I was away from home, holidaying on the east coast and totally dependent on my phone for network connectivity for my iPad and Laptop.  It got me thinking about the myriad times a photo would flow up and down that limited network connection.  This post explores all of the network transfers that spring to mind, in a slightly simplified version of what actually happened.

I’ve chosen to explore the secret life of the photo above, which started life on my phone down on Filey beach, where – strangely – there is a very good 3G connection.

  1. First it gets uploaded up to Apple’s iCloud
  2. Google photo running on my phone also uploads it to their cloud
  3. Dropbox running on my phone uploads it to their cloud
  4. Then I decide I like it enough to share it to Instagram, which in turn also posts it to Facebook,  IFTTT running in the cloud cross posts it to Twitter
  5. IFTTT running on my phone is triggered by Instagram and posts it to Evernote
  6. Because I tweak the photo in Instagram it creates a new copy in my camera roll
  7. The tweaked version gets uploaded up to Apple’s iCloud
  8. Google photo running on my phone also uploads the tweaked version to their cloud
  9. Dropbox running on my phone uploads the tweaked version to their cloud
  10. Facebook on my phone downloads the tweaked photo to my timeline
  11. Tweetbot on my phone downloads the tweaked photo to my timeline
  12. I use Memento for my diary and it downloads the photo from my Twitter feed
  13. Memento also backs up the photo as part of it’s iCloud backup of my diary

    A few minutes have passed and I’ve left the beach and returned to my apartment, my laptop now tethered to my phone gets to work

  14. Dropbox on my laptop downloads the original photo
  15. Dropbox on my laptop downloads the tweaked photo
  16. Facebook on my laptop downloads the tweaked photo
  17. TweetDeck on my laptop downloads the tweaked photo
  18. Evernote on my laptop downloads the copy that IFTTT archived from Instagram
  19. Evernote on my phone downloads the copy that IFTTT archived from Instagram, because it’s in my Evernote diary, an offline notebook stack that includes my Instagram archive

    Later in the day I’m on my iPad

  20. Facebook on my iPad downloads a copy to my timeline
  21. Tweetbot on my iPad downloads a copy to my timeline

    Now it’s evening time and I’m back on my laptop

  22. Using Windows Live Writer, I include a copy of the photo in my diary entry for the day, live writer creates a more web friendly downscaled version
  23. A draft of that diary entry’s downscaled version gets backed up to Dropbox
  24. A draft of that diary entry’s downscaled version gets backed up to CrashPlan
  25. The diary entry’s downscaled version gets published to WordPress, which creates a a square ‘thumbnail’ version of the photo
  26. Windows Live Writer opens my browser, showing my blog, which includes the square ‘thumbnail’ version of the photo
  27. I open the actual blog post, that shows the downscaled resolution version of the photo
  28. I save a copy of my diary entry into an Evernote notebook, which uploads it to their cloud
  29. Evernote on my phone downloads the the downscaled version, because it’s in my Evernote diary, an offline notebook stack that includes my WordPress diary archive
  30. I really like this photo so I upload it from my photo to Fotolia, and make it available for purchase
  31. I have an email subscription to my own blog posts, so a copy of the down sampled version of the photo arrives in my laptops inbox
  32. … and in my phones inbox, I’ve deleted it before it arrives in my iPad’s inbox!

    So ends a typical day in the life of a photo, but sometimes it might not end there, In the case of this particular photo I decided to use it to illustrate this blog post, so a whole new batch of uploads and downloads was initiated

  33. Using Windows Live Writer, I include a copy of the photo in my blog post, live writer creates a more web friendly downscaled version
  34. A draft of that blog post’s downscaled version gets backed up to Dropbox
  35. A draft of that blog post’s downscaled version gets backed up to CrashPlan
  36. The blog post’s downscaled version gets published to WordPress, which creates a a square ‘thumbnail’ version of the photo
  37. Windows Live Writer opens my browser, showing my blog, which includes the square ‘thumbnail’ version of the photo
  38. I open the actual blog post, that shows the downscaled resolution version of the photo
  39. I save a copy of my blog post into an Evernote notebook, which get uploaded to their cloud
  40. I publish a link to blog posts on Facebook, which downloads a copy of the web friendly downscaled version of the photo to my timeline
  41. Evernote on my phone downloads the the downscaled version, because it’s in my Evernote diary, an offline notebook stack that includes my WordPress blog post archive
  42. I have an email subscription to my own blog posts, so a copy of the down sampled version of the photo arrives in my laptops inbox
  43. … and in my phones inbox, I’ve deleted it before it arrives in my iPad’s inbox!
  44. Facebook on my Phone also downloads downscaled version of the photo

That’s at least 44 times that the photo, or a derivative of it, has flowed up or down my poor little 3G/4G data connection. Fortunately I have a 6GB/month data allowance on my phone contract, which allows me to basically ignore bandwidth utilisation and behave as if I’m on WIFI all the time.  I can’t help being amazed at the waste that the act of taking a utterly mundane little photo has left in it’s wake, it’s making me reconsider my habits in many other of areas of my life.

It’s worth noting that had I been at home there would be additional network transfers, several to my Windows File History backup and another set to my local CrashPlan server.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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