Wire Photo Reprint Service illustrates breadth of internet creativity

It's an old but nonetheless true adage that it doesn't really matter how impressive the technology, what's important is the way it's used.  Certainly a lesson learnt by many cellphone, computer and software companies, who have bolted every possible combination of high-tech frippery onto their latest-and-greatest, only to find that the damn thing is so complicated that you have to give away a free four-year PhD with it.  If user stories are the grist to our tech mill, then, how about this one: it turns out that, rather than inspiring photos of religious ceremonies, jaw-dropping natural scenery or significant world events, one of the regular uses for Yahoo!'s Wire Photo Reprint Service is family producing hard-copies of images taken of their relatives serving in the armed forces overseas.

A little ironic, perhaps – war journalism originally being seen as a way to put a positive spin on events back in Vietnam – but press photographers now take multiple shots of active service-men and women that, in many cases, will be the most recent images their family have seen.

Much has been made of the internet's broad reach and the capacity to use it for bringing people closer together.  Most of us will know – or indeed have been ourselves – someone who has entered into a relationship or friendship initiated via an online meeting place; every day the vast quantity of information helps us piece together family trees and missing links.  While Yahoo! and their Pictopia partner will no doubt herald this as a visible sign of success for their Reprint service – and rightly so – for me the strongest message is one of collaborative working and creativity.  Individuals using technology to best serve their needs and in ways content providers, among others, might never have envisaged.

Yahoo! and Pictopia