I recall attending a party in the early 1980’s where the theme was “The Most Boring Slide Evening”. Revellers were encouraged to sort through their carousels of kodachrome tranparencies and select slides that fitted certain categories.
My favourite was in the “Most Boring Slide Above 30,000 Feet” which featured the wingtip of an aircraft and a lot of cumulus clod and was entitled “Vietnam”. You get the general idea of the hilarity of the evening, but behind this was the social norm of sharing images with family and friends.
Family and friends were often subjected to packets of holiday snaps that were spread on the kitchen table after the photographer (and I use this term advisedly) had returned from a lengthy overseas experience – O.E.
As an article in The Telegraph recalls, few in those days would have envisioned a global photo sharing site which would grow to contain 5 billion photos. A site with 35 million adherents who would willingly share their families and passions with complete strangers.
But this is of course what Flickr has done. It has melded the desire to share images with the capability of social media and in so doing has created an online phenomonon.
As it ingests 3 million photos and videos each day Flickr can seem a bit of a monolith, even to those who upload the material. It has also significanlty contibuted to the craze for digital, amateur photography in a very postive way, without requiring a user to divulge their personal information.
Despite the ability to share photographs, most of the images stored on the site are viewed only by the person who uploaded them.
People who post images to Flickr do so under Creative Commons which means most of the photos are free, but this hasn’t stopped companies such as Getty Pictures approaching individual Flickr photographers and skimming off their best images for the Getty image database.
So what is the competion for the platform? Photo Weekly records that Facebook is now receiving 6 billion photos a month which is more than Flickr’s entire collection. See the infographic below, based on Pixable data, which gives a very clear indication of the placement of Flickr in the social media image pecking order.
Click on the chart to view larger version then click again for full size image
Maybe the way to beat the Flickr opposition to is to start a “most boring photo above 30,000 feet’ group!