New Zealand, Photo sharing

We’re safely back in New Zealand for our semi-annual visit and we’ve all adapted to the change in time zone without too much issue. Micah was very well behaved on the flights. The only minor hiccup was explosive residue being detected on Micah’s stroller and food as we transited through LAX (worst airport in the world, by the way) but we managed to get that resolved without too much of an issue…

If you’ve already forgotten, a reminder that we’re having Micah dedicated at Hillcrest Chapel this Sunday the 27th November, at 10:30am, if you know us you’re most welcome to attend. We’re also having a BBQ with some family and friends afterwards, email for details if you want to come and hang out with the little man. Since we’re unlikely to be in NZ for his 1st birthday on the 19th Feb, it will be a little bit of an early birthday party for him too.

For the past few years we’ve been fairly public with our lives through this blog and our photo gallery. That’s been a calculated trade-off – we don’t necessarily want to share everything with the world, but restricting access raises all sorts of tricky management issues about how to reliably and simply give access to all those people who should have access, some of whom we might not know directly (e.g. friends of parents, siblings, etc). It was easier to just open it up to everyone.

Two things have changed recently that have made us re-evaluate that. The first is Micah, he’s awesome, but we’re not really sure how thrilled he would be in later years to find that his early years are entirely public on the Internet for anyone to follow. Secondly, a more palatable alternative to Facebook has arrived on the scene in the form of Google Plus, which provides us with a reasonable technical solution to the problem of how to provide access to our photos/lives to those who we’re happy sharing with, without inviting the whole world in.

If you haven’t heard about Google Plus yet, it’s a new part of Google that allows you to interact with circles of friends and family online, sort of like a cross between Twitter and Facebook. Although unlike Facebook it tries to respect rather than trample over your privacy settings, and more usefully for us it’s tightly integrated with other Google products like Picasa which we use to display our photos online. With Google Plus, instead of sharing our photos publicly to the world, I can choose to share them with my “Extended Circles” which means anyone within 2 degrees of me in the social graph formed by circles is able to see them. For example, if I have you in one of my circles, you’re one degree away and can therefore see the photos. Then, everyone that you have in one of your circles can also see our photos, since they’re 2 degrees away from me via you.

The “Extended Circles” sharing option seems like a good balance to us, it means we don’t have to personally know or approve everyone who wants to see our photos, but the world at large doesn’t have access. The obvious downside is that you will need a Google account, and that account must be in the circle of at least one person who I have in a circle, but from talking to our friends and family that doesn’t seem like it will be a major barrier, just head to and you’ll be up and running in less than 5 minutes. Once you’re signed up add Matt’s Google Plus Profile or Kat’s Google Plus Profile to one of your circles, we’ll get a notification, add you to our circles, and you’ll be away laughing. If you get stuck, just flick us an email and we’ll do our best to help!

We are still sharing some photos to the world, mainly of things like our overseas holidays, but all of our more personal family style photos will be kept in the extended circle of our friends and family.

Comment from CB on 2011-11-24

You don’t want Micah to be the next Truman Show?

Comment from matt on 2011-11-24

I’m ambivalent about it, it could be lucrative for him… but I don’t know how he’d feel so it seems prudent to wait until he can make that decision on his own.