August 2020 Photoblogging Challenge: ✅

It’s September 1, which means our month-long photo challenge is over. It was a great thrill for me to see all the contributions each day, responding to creative prompts suggested by members of the Micro.blog community. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

A number of people commented on the quality and the quantity of the resulting posts, compared to our first photoblogging challenge in February. I noticed a “leveling-up” too, though I didn’t try to quantify it. I do know we’ve had some very talented photographers join the community since February, but I also believe that the community as a whole has been more active in sharing their photos and appreciating Micro.blog’s potential as a photoblogging platform.

Update: Check out these recaps with photos:
Maique Madeira (@maique)
Greg Moore (@gregmoore)
David Sinclair (@dejus)
Sam Grover (@samgrover)

Things I did right:

  • Asked for community prompt suggestions. For the February challenge, I created the list myself, using a combination of word generators, thesauruses, and common sense. By getting community involvement, the whole experience was even more interesting for me, and for you too, I hope. I am always looking for good ways to introduce members of the community to each other.
  • Labeled the challenge days numerically, rather than by date. The community is definitely global, and those to the East of the International Date Line are almost always a calendar day ahead of Micro.blog headquarters. I tried to make sure they got a reminder of the new day’s prompt by early morning there. At the same time, other folks did not feel constrained to the exact 24-hour day, and that is just fine. This is Micro.blog, and you control your content however it works for you!

Things I would do differently:

  • Ask for one single prompt suggestion. Initially, I got multiple suggestions from folks, which meant I would have to choose from your lists, defeating the purpose of having the prompts be community-generated. I went back to folks and asked for their top pick, or I used the first prompt on their lists.
  • Figure out a way to showcase and archive the challenge photos without overwhelming the usual Discover feeds. By default, I added every challenge photo to the main Discover feed. This is an all-or-nothing proposition as far as we are concerned; we are not in the business of judging, honoring or even “Liking” your work.

    But, as the community becomes more prolific in challenges, this undermines one of the main purposes of Discover, which is to give a snapshot of what’s happening on Micro.blog. Adding so many photos overwhelms the text entries, and could make it harder for new or potential users to skim this sample timeline. I am going to work with Manton to figure out a way to showcase challenges in the future.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, either as replies on the timeline or emails to jean@micro.blog. Our next month-long challenge will be Microblogvember, but I am cooking up some mini-challenge ideas to sprinkle into the schedule too.

Jean MacDonald @macgenie