I wrote this piece on July 23, 2015, on a Tumblr blog that no longer exists. At the time, I was participating in a photo website called Twenty20. It is entirely possible that things have changed on that website between now and when I wrote this piece.
My experience there was largely disappointing, and I ended up pulling all my photos off of the site and closing my account. The thing that made me realize that Twenty20 was not for me was when someone posted a Dick Pic.
I read “Someone Posted a Dick Pic” on episode 043 of Words of Jen.
If there is an online space that allows people to post their photos – it is only a matter of time before some dude posts a dick pic.
I recently started adding some of my photos to a website called Twenty20. A friend of mine recommended it. I have heard it is a place where photographers can post some of their work and make money when and if the photo sells. The people who buy the photos are searching for “stock photo” type creative-commons images (only, less bland than typical ones).
In other words, Twenty20 is more like a professional site than, say, some random person’s Instagram account. The goal is for photographers to create the kind of photos that the “mommy bloggers” and “foodies” will want to buy and post next to the articles they write on their professional blogs.
Nobody comes to Twenty20 in the hopes of finding a photo of a penis.
Twenty20 also has a bunch of “challenges” going on. They pick a topic and give a brief description about what kind of photo they are looking for. Anyone who is on Twenty20, and who has a photo that fits the rules of the “challenge”, can enter it. The community upvotes the ones they like best. After a “challenge” ends, the editor picks a winner.
That one person – out of the hundreds of people who entered a photo – can make $20 or $30. Everybody else? Too bad, so sad. I’ve been entering some of these “challenges” in an attempt to figure out if Twenty20 is worth my energy. So far…I’ve made exactly $0. But, I haven’t been there long. Things could change. Maybe.
Recently, I entered a “challenge” about iced tea or iced coffee. The rules that described the types of photos that the editors wanted to see were simple.
- The photo must include either iced tea or iced coffee.
- The photo must be taken from above.
- The iced tea, or iced coffee, should not have any milk in it.
It sounds incredibly simple, right? Somehow, there were people that just didn’t get it. I took the time to check out the photos in this “challenge” and upvote the ones that actually followed the directions. Hell, I even upvoted a few photos where the iced tea or iced coffee had milk in it, but fit the rest of the criteria, just because the photo was really pretty.
I didn’t vote for the photo of a Starbucks Frappuccino (taken from a side view, not above). I skipped over the photo of someone holding a glass bottle of Coca-Cola. I mean, it says COKE right on the bottle! How the hell does someone mistake that for a bottle of iced tea or iced coffee?
Then, unexpectedly, a dick pic appears. Within seconds, my opinion of Twenty20 dropped. Professional photo sites, of the type that want to sell photos to blogs, don’t end up with random dick pics appearing in their “challenges”.
That was not a photo of iced coffee or iced tea. It wasn’t taken from above. Thankfully, there was no “milk” in the photo. So, there’s that, I guess.
Now, to put this in perspective, let me explain a bit about how Twenty20 works. One cannot take a photo – of anything – and have it appear on the website instantaneously. You have to make an account first. Once you have an account, you can post photos to it pretty quickly.
There is an additional process involved if you want to enter a photo into a contest. It doesn’t take long, but it is more than a second or two. Want to post that photo in more than one contest? Go through the process each time.
In other words, the guy didn’t just quickly take a dick pic and have it appear on the website within seconds, on a whim, for a quick thrill. Somehow, that little voice people have in their heads, the one that says “Nope, don’t do that,” did not speak loudly enough for this guy to hear it.
This lonely, sad, pathetic guy posted a photo of his penis into a “challenge” about iced coffee and iced tea. He also posted it into a second “challenge” that was for photographers who joined Twenty20 within a week. So, his dick pic technically fits the criteria – but c’mon! I’ve no idea how many other open “challenges” he decided to push his penis into, but I suspect he stuck it wherever the website would let him.
When I first discovered the dick pic, I noticed that it had somehow gotten more votes than 5 other photos that were in the iced coffee or iced tea “challenge”. How the heck does that happen?
I am perplexed about why a person would go through the trouble of posting a (badly lit and badly cropped) photo of their penis onto a website where it is clearly not wanted. Is the posting of an unwelcome dick pic into a photo contest that has nothing to do with penises a way of “marking territory”? Is this the digital version of peeing on a tree, or carving one’s name into a wooden bench at a park?
Was this dude essentially screaming into the void: “I exist!”
Has the dick pic become some kind of incredibly awkward selfie? Did this guy feel empowered because he forced a bunch of people who were expecting to see photos of coffee and tea to look at his penis? Is this how trolls practice being horrible before they feel ready to start arguments on Twitter?
In any case, the random, unwanted, dick pic disappeared from Twenty20 shortly before the iced coffee and iced tea “challenge” ended. The fun’s over for that guy.
What annoys me the most about this whole experience is that this one, random, dick pick, from a selfish, stupid, bored, idiotic excuse for a man, has made it that much more difficult for the rest of the photographers on Twenty20 to sell their work. That’s incredibly unfair.
I mean, if you wrote a blog about iced coffee, searched a photo website for a photo of iced coffee to buy and put on your blog – and was presented with a dick pic instead – would you want to put money into that website? Of course you wouldn’t! You would be smart enough to realize that the presence of a dick pic means that the photo website doesn’t vet their photos before offering them for sale.
There’s no way to know for certain if the lovely coffee photos you found, next to the penis photo, is actually legal for you to post on your blog. You would have to go to a different photo website instead, to avoid potential legal problems.
All it takes is one dick to fuck everything up for everyone else.
Someone Posted a Dick Pic is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.
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