Here’s a great twist on the classic snowman theme: a bloody, carnivorous Frosty caught in the act of devouring a raccoon. It’s been an unusually cold and snowy winter in Cincinnati so it’s good to see that someone is making the most of it. I was driving my daughter home from a friend’s house when we saw it. Of course, I had to go back and get a picture, which I posted to my Instagram and Twitter feeds. When David asked about posting it to Boing Boing, I was happy but curiously apprehensive. Even though this guy sits in plain view of a busy intersection, I had walked right up to him to make the picture and now I was beginning to feel like I should have asked permission because I had ventured onto private property.

When I worked at a newspaper, we had clear rules for when you needed permission to publish a photo. If the subject of the photo was at public event (baseball game), or in a public place (park) or visible from a public place (street), it was understood that there was no expectation of privacy. An obvious exception would be a photo taken through the window of a private home even if taken from a public street. If you entered private property to make a picture, you got permission.

I find it interesting that I hadn’t thought about these issues with regard to social media. I haven’t shot professionally for a long time but I post regularly to Instagram and share my pictures on Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. I’m under no illusion that those sites are private but for whatever reason, they feel more personal. Boing Boing, on the other hand, feels like having your picture on Page 1 of the morning paper. Maybe that’s why I felt the need to go back and ask permission.

I’m glad I did because the creator of this fearsome snow monster is a pretty cool guy.

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