Rumination on flickr’s popularity?

Flickr was launched on February 10, 2004 by Ludicorp, a Vancouver-based company founded by Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake. I stumbled upon it somehow in late 2004. At the time I was a bit over fiddling with my vicnet site and my tripod site

I had at least one blog at the time on blogger. I had a looked at several of the fledgling services on offer at the time. Some are on this list on wikipedia. None of which really appealed to me. Flickr however seemed somehow more ‘edgy’. I signed up and off I began on a wild journey of discovery. I began with a free account and kept my uploads with in the free parameters for a while, but very quickly saw the benefit of a ‘pro’ account.

flickr is 7th on Alexa’s list of popular photo sharing sites

I was vaguely aware of online communities as I had been online since 1995. And as a voracious reading I was constantly following links all over the shop learning tons on the way. But this was my first community. 

Those first few years on flickr were amazing I got to meet  many wonderful local photographers and engage with many international ones too. The Melbourne group in particular was very social and we met quite regularly for a while. We even organised a group exhibition in 2006. It was entitled ‘Web to Wall’ and was held at a gallery called Smith Street Gallery. 

The invite for the 2006 exhibition.

One thing that has always struck me was how many of the Melbourne flickr community had an IT background. The late 90s and early 2000s in my memory was a good time for people in that industry. Many were in their 30s and were in demand and paid well. They could afford expensive cameras and computer hardware that was also expensive. Was this a trend across flickr, maybe it’s hard to tell. But I feel the convergence of high speed internet, new and cheaper digital cameras and lowering software and hardware along with the demographic, augmented the rise of flickr. 

The first few years I didn’t really have much of an idea out what I was uploading and why. I had no plan or direction. Eventually I worked things out. More on this in a future post. It is plain to me that I use the service in a very differently to a lot of flickr’s users. And for this reason flickr is still very important to me. The statistics alone make it worthwhile. My work would only ever have ben seen by a small group of people who were able o attend my exhibitions.

My flickr stats on Friday 8th of February

Over the years flickr has been part of a subset of research that looked at photography, the web, social media. A search on acedemia.edu, reveals over 40 thousand results. This also makes the service in my mind completely relevant.

40,000 papers mention flickr
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2 thoughts on “Rumination on flickr’s popularity?

  1. “My work would be seen by small group of people”…this is the problem, lots of photographers wants to be seen by many people. What they don’t realize or admit is that the statistics doesn’t show who people are, the quaility. It shows number of clicks.

    On your old tripod site ou wrote “these days it is about social web”. Do you still preceive it this way? Maybe people start to realize a toxicity of social media. Dont you think?

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    1. True it would be good to see more information abut the stats but I can assure you something is better than nothing in that regard. As for social media. I think it is now a necessary evil or at least a small inconvenience that is just there

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