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The past few months, I’ve been re-vamping my presence on Flickr. I’ve certainly waxed and waned in my usage of the photo-sharing platform over the last 11 years, but frankly, that’s where I first started sharing photos online. After all that time, Flickr is still there and still displaying uncompressed versions of my photos. I wanted to write this article because I have created a couple of new Flickr groups I wanted to share. I also wanted to express a few thoughts on how I feel about Flickr and social media sharing in general.
If you aren’t familiar with Flickr, I encourage you to check it out. It’s a great photo-sharing platform, with free or paid plans available. The free plan is limited to 1,000 photos, but for most people, that’s a lot. The paid plan is unlimited and ad-free for $49.99/year. Even if you aren’t using Flickr for sharing, that allows for back-up of all your photos for less than $5/month.
Over the years, I’ve ended up administering a few groups, and I’m finally going to share them here. But first, I have just created two brand new groups that I’d be eager to get people to join. As soon as I see some growth in these groups, I’ll start posting some related discussions.
First is the Alaska Hiking Group. I created this group both for people who want to share photos from their adventures in the state and to inspire and give ideas for others. I’m asking that people who share give specifics about the areas they include.
The second new group is a general Alaska Range Group. This is for sharing photos from anywhere in the 400-mile long Alaska Range.
Below are a few other groups I’ve administered for a while, but never shared on my blog.
The Glacier Group is dedicated to any photo or artwork related to glaciers and glacially relevant geology as long as the relevance is explained in the description (old moraines, drumlins, U-shaped valleys, etc.).
The Spaceweather Group is dedicated to aurora, noctilucent clouds, the Sun, spacecraft, and other things you may think of. Although I state the rules are a bit more relaxed, it started becoming a bit of a dumping ground for anything astronomy-related, so I started removing posts. Like any of my groups, I want posts to be informative, so I’m unlikely to take down general astronomy posts as long as they have good descriptions.
Lastly is the Fairbanks, Alaska Group. I didn’t start this group, but one day I was suddenly listed as an admin. I think the person that started it didn’t want to do it anymore and passed it off to me since I was a frequent poster.
My goal is to make all of these groups active and engaging communities over the next year. I’d like to see increased usage in Flickr in general, and that will require an engaged community. I worry that many (or most) Flickr groups have just become dumping grounds for everyone uploading photos in an attempt to get more views. In my opinion, that completely defeats the purpose of these communities to begin with.
Since SmugMug acquired Flickr last year, I’ve been wondering where the platform is going. I’ve also been using SmugMug for years for the business and website side of my photography. Honestly, I still have no idea, but I hope they are successful. Flickr is a great photography platform; I see a lot of potential in it. It’s annoying, yet not shocking to me how Instagram has taken over as the photography social sharing platform online. Instagram is geared toward short attention spans. Just scroll and double-tap, keep on scrolling.
It seems to go unnoticed that the photo quality on Instagram is the absolute worst of any social media platform. Instagram has, without a doubt, the most garbage looking compression of anyone. But they’re smart. They’ve realized that the photos don’t need to look good at all. They only need to look good on mobile. And they only need to look good for the few seconds that someone might see while scrolling. And it keeps them scrolling through the unnoticed ads.
I’m not here to dis on Instagram. I like it. It makes it easy to see photos my friends and family are sharing. And there are some great photos and photographers on there. It’s just a shame that such a website focused on photography doesn’t provide high-quality images.
My hope is that Flickr can take back some of the public interest that it had a decade ago. It’s certainly a better place to view and share the high-quality images that many of the photos shared on it deserve.