Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Social Media Goals Ignore the (Formerly) Flickr Community

Flickr's recent stats are still headed south. But truthfully they have been headed south for a couple years. What they failed to see was that the people actually using flickr were committed, paying customers who built community, not commodity. The inability to monetize the community aspects of flickr meant that model was destined for the scrap heap.

Jealous of the rising popularity of quick photo sharing services like instagram, flickr was not a player in the evolving arena of social media. The redesign squarely focuses on turning flickr into an endless photo stream generator. Look! pretty colors! maybe you'll click. The new format cannot measure "visits" as visiting the photo is no longer necessary so viewer metrics are out the window. Favourites can still be clicked but clicking into the photo page is no longer necessary. The photo viewsa are now justified endless scrolling lines of images vs. nicely paginated presentations. Its as if someone loaded your photos in a cannon and just splat them on a screen with out regard for space or context.

Part of the communication that has been lost in a design like the new flickr is the description aspect of the photograph. Descriptions are no longer immediately viewable simultaneously with the photograph. Process is critical to film photographers. We rely on the "research" of others constantly. Saves us time and money. Someone discovers a method, it is shared. I cannot count the number of times I have researched lenses, film or darkroom printing materials just searching flickr for examples. Flickr search is now not only an endlessly justified mess, its unpredictable-not delivering the same result twice.

Flickr is an ARK of film photo knowledge in the rising sea of digital. So much good information resides in the forums and dark corners of that site it should be a national landmark for film shooters. The new management fails to see this. The lack of respect for community and continuity has cost us much. I am very happy to see so many of my film photographer contacts and friends here at ipernity. I am equally pleased to see the sane, controllable layouts to present the work.