Automating "Thinking of you"
I had an idea a few weeks ago. I've got a bunch of great photos on my computer that no one ever sees unless we meet in person. Sure, we've got flickr and social networking sites, but I'm talking about an old photo that someone only saw once in passing, or a favorite shot from summer while you're huddled over your heater wondering when the sun is coming back.
I can look at them any time, and there are a few on flickr that other people can look at, but what about people that aren't tech savvy or are really busy and get caught up in the daily grind?
I was thinking, the answer can be a really simple script running from cron, say, weekly. It picks a random photo from a directory and emails it to a group of people. That's it. The idea is:
- it's low tech compared to RSS feeds and social networking sites. This "just works" with the tools people (potentially, low-tech people) are already used to using.
- in a similar vein, commenting and discussion are built in if you feel like it.
- it's focused on the people on the CC list. Sending out an old photo that is relevant just to those people has a lot more effect than one scrolling by on flickr. It's got a personal touch.
- it's automatic. You wake up Monday morning, drag yourself to work, and there is a photo from 15 years ago in your inbox and you can laugh about how bad your hair was. Awesome.
So, I thought I would try it and cooked up audreytoo. Basically, you seed a directory with copies of the pictures you want to send out, add the script to a cron job, and it does it's thing. There are a couple other features in the script that you could look at if you want to get fancier.
I realize there is some irony in using an automated script to say "I'm thinking of you" but as long as I'm on the CC list it's still true. :) Anyway, I'm sharing the code in case anyone else can find value in it.