Today. Flickr Complaints.
I am fairly new to flickr, and let me preface this by saying that in the relatively short amount of time that I have been using Flickr, I would describe my experience as satisfying. My biggest problem, however, is the lack of innovation and lack of any serious attempt to improve the photo sharing platform. An example of this is the contact list feature. In a relatively short amount of time, I have managed to accumulate more than 200 contacts. Believe it or not, I don't value each of these contacts equally. Some are world famous photographers, some are people that I know in real life, some are self-portraiters, some create similar work to mine, etc. It would be really nice to be able to separate these people into different contact lists so that I could filter only the photographs I wanted to see at a given time. Facebook added this feature in May(http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/05/facebook-friend-lists/) is it too much too ask the same from flickr?
But this brings up another very interesting point, is it fair to compare flickr - a photo sharing service - to facebook - a social network. I would argue that it most certainly is. After all, facebook is the #1 photo sharing service on the internet, not flickr. Yes, you read that correctly (http://www.allfacebook.com/2008/10/facebook-surpasses-10-billion-photos/). Also, facebook is entirely free, while I pay money for my "Pro" status on flickr.
Now that I have established my right to complain, let me continue. Many people have voiced their complains about the "interingness" algorithm, and the politics related to the explore page (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyd2008/4127687772/). The explore page is the best way to find interesting photos on flickr, wait, actually it's the only way! We are trusting some obscure algorithm to determine which photographs on this site get the most attention. That doesn't seem fair. How about some transparency? Netflix had a contest that challenged programmers to improve the algorithm that determines how much someone is going to enjoy a movie based on their preferences (http://www.netflixprize.com/), could flickr do the same thing for their interestingess algorithm? If I go on YouTube, I can view the most viewed videos by day, month and all time. Am I the only person that wonders what the most viewed/most commented/most favorited photo is of all time on flickr? I bet it is awesome, and it's really a shame that I will probably never get to see it. Maybe I already have, maybe it was a photo that I stumbled on when browsing the explore page, but I would rather not leave that chance up to that obscure, non-transparent algorithm that will forever stay locked away from the public.
Facebook has undergone several huge changes that fundamentally changed the way the service works, although these changes brought many complaints initially, I think the overall consensus is that they drastically improved the service as a whole. I realize that flickr is owned by Yahoo, a company that has seen better economic times (to put it nicely) but that should be all the more reason to invest in one of their most popular services. Please Yahoo, make flickr better.
I apologize for the rambling. This is another shot of Bobcat Stadium where Texas State University plays.
From the photoblog at www.shutterrunner.com.
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