No, it’s not a spelling mistake. In fact, for Joan and me, it’s one of our main means of stretching those elastic strands that keep us connected as we continue our exploration of places in the world where we’ve never been before. For those who are not in the know (as I wasn’t, except in the vaguest way, for reasons I will shortly explain), Flickr is a photo storing and sharing site, connected with Yahoo. (Our Flickr pictures are linked to my travel blog, En Voyage, listed down the right column of this page.)
I first heard of Flickr four or five years ago, from (you guessed it) my kids, who are closer to the cutting edge of technology than I am. Thankfully, they do keep me sort of current: yes, they are texting, Skyping, Youtubing, Shazam-ing creatures, as all our kids will be. Digital photography has burst the seams of the world’s great photo album, and Flickr is one of the answers to this dilemma.
The SMUS connection? Four years ago I happened to be attending a Heads’ Conference for the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools. We are the only Canadian member of this American organization, which gives our teachers many professional development opportunities, gives us access to a different and rich educational perspective, and helps our school become better known in what has always been an important boarding market. At the time of this particular conference, Time magazine issued its list of the 100 most influential people. Several schools had an alumnus on the list, and sitting around the dinner table it was evident that none of them expected Canadians on the list. Bill Gates, a graduate of Lakeside School in Seattle was one of those listed, for instance. Imagine the surprise on faces, therefore, when I mentioned that our school in fact had two people on the list: Steve Nash and Stewart Butterfield. Furthermore, on Time’s list there were three Canadians, and two of them were from our school. Steve Nash needs no introduction. Stewart Butterfield, who is less of a household name, is a SMUS graduate of 1991, and was the co-founder and co-developer of Flickr. The fact that I am now using Flickr, five years later, is a very elegant closing of the circle therefore, and an indication that this development was as enduring as… well… as blogging. (!). From your correspondent abroad – Vivat.