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May 8th 2014 2:28 pm

How I use (or don't use) Flickr

Nicole Lee took a deeper look at Flickr earlier today in her post "Flickr struggles to capture the selfie generation." (Read more here: www.engadget.com­/2014­/05­/08­/flickr­-3­-0­-app­/­?ncid­=r...) She shares her own early experiences with Flickr and examines its struggles as mobile photography (and services designed to specifically cater to it) has gained in popularity.

For me personally, Flickr was an incredible tool when I joined way back in 2005. It provided a central location for me to store and upload photos, and allowed me to share them with my parents and extended family. I used it heavily, eventually uploading over 13,000 photos to the service.

A few years ago, I just sort of stopped using it. I know for a fact that it coincided with my increased use of taking photos with my phone -- these photos were going to websites and services that I had more friends on: Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter.

Now I have some IFTTT scripts that automatically post whatever I upload on Instagram to Flickr -- in essence, it's just become a mirror of my Instagram feed. The new Flickr app *is* pretty nice -- especially with the auto-uploading and backup features, but now it's a case of my attention being spread too thin.

Sure, I can upload, manage, and tag photos on Flickr, but ultimately, why? If I want people to see them, or comment on them, I use something like Facebook nowadays. I do like using Flickr as a kind of photo backup service, but Google+ is doing a better job -- I can auto upload and sync my entire library that's stored on my NAS drives (albeit at lower resolution). If this changed, I would probably use Flickr a bit more (rather than paying $150 - $300 per year to backup my entire photo library to something like PictureLife).

Don't get me wrong, Flickr and I have had a lot of good times when it was the premiere photo sharing service. I've even made a bit of money off it, selling some photos and getting a few gigs. A crappy photo I took on a class geology trip in 2002 (and later uploaded to Flickr in 2005) was purchased by a text book publisher to use on the cover of geology book. Hahaha, what?!

Anyway, I've always rooted for Flickr and have fond memories of the service. But lately, I just don't have much extra desire to use it. Maybe I can be convinced otherwise, though.

Is anyone else using Flickr, as well as enjoying it?

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8 replies

I once used Flickr at the pro level, uploaded all my pictures to it and spent hours making albums but then just got tired of having yet another place to drop pictures. I also have changed how I use photography online, I grew out of the "album building" as I became more social media focused, so posting bites and bits as I went along on Twitter and Instagram sort of became the way things are going for me now. Which means I don't have anything cool to take pictures of like you do!
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I use both Flickr and Google+ just as cloud based backups for my family photos. I also have an UnRaid NAS at home which gets a copy. I find the Flickr app to be a great way to have access to my photos on my mobile devices without needing to take up any storage space on the device itself.
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i used flickr when i worked for a porno photo studio, but i may have signed up with a yahoo account that i have no idea how to access now. whatever exists there with my name on it is just a pile of high-res nudes lost to the vast expanse of the interwebs
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I very much liked (and used) Flickr back in its heyday, but it's not tied to an ecosystem I care about now. That's not to say I used to be committed into Yahoo's ecosystem, but rather that Flickr's competitors never offered a suite of other apps/tools I really cared about. Now, I'm more inclined to use Google+ to handle my photo library (despite being subpar in comparison to Flickr) just because of its synergy with Google Drive (where I store all of my photos) and other Google products.
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Flickr and I have always had this weird on-and-off again relationship. I thought it was really interesting when I first joined in April 2005, but most of my interest was as a consumer/viewer/passive recipient -- I liked searching for images, and browsing groups, and I even joined a few dedicated to stuff I was interested in (like toy photography). But looking back on those days when I "used" Flickr it was never consistent. And that was because I've almost always had other places to upload my photos -- and be guaranteed an audience.

I got my first digital camera in 2002, and that was around the same time an old acquaintance from high school had built a site for our social group to share photos. You could upload photos of any size, tag them with people and places, and even comment. It was a decent little social network we had going there. I used to upload all my photos there to share with my friends, and after a party everyone eagerly awaited the photos from that party getting uploaded. (We also used to compete to see who could be tagged in the most pictures.) When Flickr came around, some of us checked it out to see how it stacked up, and while it had a few slick features, it lacked others and most of all, it lacked the community that we cherished.

Eventually that site went away and there was a period of time when I did use Flickr somewhat regularly, as I lacked any other outlet for my pictures. The features on Flickr had improved by then, they made it really easy to embed on other sites (like LiveJournal), and of course, Flickr does have pretty decent ways to organize your photos. So I was enjoying having the account. Then I made a Facebook account.

At first, I still uploaded pictures to Flickr and just linked to them, but two things happened. One was that Facebook stopped downgrading the quality of uploaded photos, keeping them at their original size and resolution. The second thing was that the community there reached a critical mass, where if I wanted people to see my photos, I had to post on Facebook.

Now, I still take a lot of photos, but where they end up depends on what I need them to do. When it's just a quick shot and I want to share a moment or make a snarky comment, it goes on Twitter. Pictures of vacations and social gatherings go on Facebook to be shared with friends and family. I even used G+ for a while, mostly for sharing work-related stuff. Flickr... Flickr ended up as the place for the stuff I didn't really want to share-share. Not that it gets the bad photos or the "junk," but that it gets the photos that I can't make a snarky comment on, and the photos that my mother wouldn't give a flying fig about -- like for example, when I go for a walk in my neighborhood and I take pictures of the beautiful houses I walk by, I end up putting them on Flickr. Because I don't want to bore my social group, but I still want a record of them, and maybe I want to share them with strangers who might be interested.

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I mainly use Flickr to host albums that I'll end up sharing elsewhere. I find the photo album tools on Facebook terrible and unintuitive (plus the quality degradation) and I don't use Google+ at all. Smugmug and all the others offer far too much for what I need.
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It's interesting.
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