Promoting Creative Commons through a tweaked Facebook meme

by Eszter Hargittai on February 24, 2009

Facebook Album Cover meme resultIf you’re on Facebook then it’s unlikely that you haven’t been sucked into the meme phenomenon. It tends to involve writing something, mainly about yourself, and then tagging other people with a request to do the same. Most recently it got very popular with the “25 random things” meme (yeah, yeah, I don’t think you need to be a certified sociologist to know that those things are never truly random), that first circulated as 7 things then 16 things, but not surprisingly really went viral when it involved tagging 20+ people.

The most recent one I noticed concerns something much more random as you’re requested to create an album cover based on randomly-generated phrases for the band name and album title, and a randomly displayed “interesting” image from the photo-sharing site Flickr (details below the fold). That last bit about the image bothered me a bit though, because the photos people were grabbing and editing were not necessarily posted under a Creative Commons license. I didn’t like the idea of people grabbing images that their creators didn’t necessarily want reused by others thus my interest in finding those shared under a CC license.

I went searching for a way to browse CC-licensed photos from Flickr’s Explore pool (photos deemed especially “interesting” by the system), but found no such option on the site (the closest to it I saw was to browse popular tags of photos shared under CC). I posted a note on Twitter about this, but the best people could do was point me to the CC option on Flickr’s advanced search page, which doesn’t address this issue since you can’t restrict a search to photos in Explore nor is searching for something specific the same as random browsing. Finally, I posted a comment on a Facebook friend’s photo lamenting the fact that I had not managed to find such an option when one of his friend’s replied with a link to a page that Mike Lietz kindly put together to generate CC-licensed Flickr photos from Explore randomly! A note to Flickr though: I think this is an option they should offer on the site.

So now I present to you the updated meme (italics are my additions) promoting Creative Commons as well as free photo-editing software. If you’re going to participate in this meme, I invite you to do so using the tweaked instructions below so as to help spread CC love.


To Do This

1 – Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random”
or click
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 – Go to Quotations Page and select “random quotations”
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 – Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
Grab the photo randomly generated from Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr here:

4 – Use Photoshop the free Paint.Net or Gimp or similar to put it all together.

5 – Post it to FB with this text in the “caption” or “comment” and TAG the friends you want to join in.

Photo credit: Thanks to zedzap‘s CC-licensed photo, which is what I used to create the image above.



Barry 02.24.09 at 2:50 pm

Eszter, I hate to be a downer, but this fad (not meme) was a bit silly when it first started, and hasn’t improved with age.


Eszter Hargittai 02.24.09 at 3:07 pm

Why would that be a downer? You’re certainly entitled to your opinion about this or any other meme or fad and are under no obligation to participate. The point of this post isn’t this specific case, I was trying to make a larger point here about sharing content under CC licensing.


micah 02.24.09 at 3:28 pm

What if I want to do this meme, but my random wikipedia page is already a band? Should I make an encyclopedia cover?


Xanthippas 02.24.09 at 6:44 pm

Barry, seconding Eszter, I would say that the purpose of this exercise is made clear in the post title.

Also I’m far too lazy to actually photoshop, but the results I got were highly amusing and would make a great album cover.


Maria 02.24.09 at 8:42 pm

Yep, I loved mine too, and it made me realise I’ve pretty much forgotten how to use photoshop. fun meme.


Eszter Hargittai 02.24.09 at 9:13 pm

Would be curious to see other people’s so please don’t be shy to post a link (or send me a link or copy).


Righteous Bubba 02.24.09 at 9:19 pm

Hyman Amberg – Nothing Ever Goes Away


Eszter Hargittai 02.24.09 at 9:36 pm

RB, I wish you would’ve edited it all together. That could be interesting, the theme works.


Righteous Bubba 02.24.09 at 9:38 pm

Alas, I am fooling around enough already. But yeah, I wouldn’t have posted it otherwise. The focus on that rock went nicely with the title.


praisegod barebones 02.24.09 at 9:42 pm

Refugee Status Appeals Authority – That of A Mere Adult


HH 02.24.09 at 10:43 pm

This meta-meme is ripe for exploitation for Eszter’s CT blog posts. Indeed, an Eszterbot could be programmed to post here with an appropriate balance of whimsey, randomness, and insouciance to keep us mildly titillated, while freeing Professional Eszter to pursue important work in important settings frequented by important people.

The trivialization of blogging is vital to safeguarding the primacy of traditional scholarly machinery. To use the Internet to directly conduct the fundamental work of research, teaching, and scholarly association would be to make the ancillary primary, and thus would be a heretical breach of conventional practice. Thus, the Trivial Eszterbot would be a great aid in maintaining the proper place of the CT blog as a cheery adjunct to the faculty lounge.


Henry 02.24.09 at 11:10 pm

When I, Magneto, am elected WORLD DICTATOR BY PUBLIC ACCLAMATION, academics will be FORBIDDEN from using the Internet for ‘fun.’ Instead, I will have them WELDED TO THEIR COMPUTER DESKS and fitted with MANDATORY EYEBALL CLAMPS AND BRAIN WAVE MONITORS to ensure that they do not deviate from the task of EXPLICATING AND FURTHER RESEARCHING CHAIRMAN MAGNETO THOUGHT for ONE SOLITARY MILLISECOND.


John Quiggin 02.25.09 at 5:20 am

As Mr Bennet said on a similar occasion, you’ve delighted us quite long enough, HH.


HankP 02.25.09 at 5:27 am

Route 404 – to music, and silence



Mirka 02.25.09 at 6:36 pm

Thanks for posting this Eszter. Someone tagged me in that today and I had the exact same thought, and went searching for a way to find CC-licensed photos. Your post pointed me to Mike’s page, and I really appreciate it!


Barry 02.25.09 at 6:38 pm

Will people forgive me if I take HH out, slice him into many decorative slices, and post the pictures on Flickr?


kiwi 02.25.09 at 8:46 pm

Hooray! I’m glad I’m not the only one who had this moral/ethical issue. I have all my photos on flickr under a CC-license, and it always sortof bugs me when people take my pictures w/o attribution, and I can imagine people who don’t CC-license their photos might be even more irritated!

Unfortunately, it seems Mike Lietz’s site is having some issues. Now what!!??


agm 02.25.09 at 10:31 pm

I don’t really use flickr much anymore, but I chose immediately to make all my stuff cc (non-commercial flavor) exactly so people could enjoy them as they wish (for the most part).


Eszter Hargittai 02.25.09 at 10:32 pm

kiwi – did Mike’s site get overwhelmed? Just now it seems to be working. I couldn’t come up with an alternative, I’m afraid. I guess one could go the original route and then pick the first that is CC-licensed, but that seems rather tedious.

Barry – I personally prefer more serene pictures on Flickr. That said, as noted above, HH has delighted us long enough.

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