April 24, 2010
CheckOutMyInk.com is a social networking community for tattoo enthusiasts. Think of it like a heavily scaled-back version of MySpace, but geared specifically towards the tattooing community.
You can complete a very limited profile, add photos of your tattoos, "friend" other community members, comment on others' profiles and pictures, and browse community photos. There is also a community discussion forum that is relatively unfocused.
By far the best feature of the site is the photos. You can browse by category and by tag, but it does take quite a while to sift through the photos. The category options are limited and tagging isn't as intuitive or efficient as in other sites. There are some spectacular-looking tattoos to be found, and some very talented artists hang out here. There are also oodles and oodles of terrible tattoos, and more than small number of "scratchers" -- wannabe, underground, unlicensed tattoo artists showing off their questionable work. So in short, the pictures are awesome and the pictures blow at the same time.
One of the key features of a social networking community is socialization -- but that is exactly what's missing here. After adding and approving a number of friends, I have yet to really chat with anyone. People here are more concerned with adding friends and most comments are simple "thanks for the add." Very little interaction.
My assumption is that this is caused by the fact that this is a secondary hangout for most of these folks. They are probably primary users of MySpace or Facebook, and just post pictures on CheckOutMyInk.com for a variation. They have no interest in forming social connections via this site because they already form them through another. Just my assumption, but what is fact is that their is very little socializing in this community.
The site currently has over 10,000 members, but finding and connecting with anyone is hampered by the fact that there are very few matching or profiling tools available for members. It's more of a brute force approach. Click "Next" a few hundred or thousand times and hope you bump into someone.
All-in-all, as a social community, CheckOutMyInk.com fails. But you can find a large amount of pictures that can be used as inspiration or serve as a warning for your next tattoo. For me, I might make a profile there, but there just isn't enough to it to warrant any further attention. After all, I can connect with these people faster and easier through either MySpace or Facebook, and not have to deal with this site's limitations and excruciatingly slow response times.
Don't let that put you off of trying out the site. It is free, after all. But go into it recognizing it for what it is. A fine collection of photos with questionable organization tools.
Oh. . . and if you can spell, you might be a misfit.
April 16, 2010
Tribal tattoos peaked in popularity in the 2006 to 2007 timeframe, and since that time have become less common. However, their popularity remains strong in the bodybuilding and MMA circles -- or really, any "tough guy" circle. My friend says that tribal tattoos are still popular among this crowd, and he still sees demand for lower back tribal tattoos, as well as crossover tattoos that mix tribal work with another style.
Here's a fresh tribal tattoo design:
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31290736@N07/2932439752/
April 2, 2010
Love this star / Hello Kitty mashup: