Part 4: Content Sharing - So hot right now

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Launched in 2004 Flickr is an online photo sharing and management service that has proved to be extremely popular. With its tally reputedly fast approaching 1 billion images Flickr’s success can be attributed to a number of factors. Namely that it was an early example of a Web 2.0 site, that the basic accounts are free and its simplicity to use and integrate with other community based applications.

People love pictures (especially the ones of themselves) which contributes greatly to the site’s success. What’s really nifty is that you no longer need to sit through the post-holiday photo viewing evenings (aren’t those horrendous?) or have your inbox clogged with pictures of Amy and John’s new little bundle of joy.

In early 2005 it was acquired by Yahoo! The search engine giant then announced that it will be shutting down Yahoo! Photos in mid-September 2007, giving its users the options to migrate all of their images onto a Flickr account.

Although it has come under some stiff competition from Facebook’s photo sharing capabilities the service remains held in considerable favour among the more serious Web 2.0 users.

With an upload limit of 100MB per month on free accounts and no limit on the number of images that a paid for Pro Account holder can upload Flickr is easily accessible by the casual user while still proving attractive enough for those who seek to take their photo management and sharing to an advanced level.
The two main goals that it states on its website are as follows:
  1. We want to help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them.
  2. We want to enable new ways of organising photos.

Flickr strives to attain the former by making the site as accessible as possible. Be it from a mobile phone, from an online source or from the user’s home PC the service wants to make images universally transferable.

The latter is achieved by adding tags, notes, comments and meta data to the images. Considering all of this information is searchable it makes the organising and retrieving photos very convenient.

The Features

  •  Collections, sets and tags allows for users to be able to organise their images so that they are as easily retrievable as is possible. The sets work differently to typical folders in that each photo can belong to more than one set.
  • Organizr allows for tags, descriptions and groupings to be altered by the users through a web-interface. An attractive feature of Organizr is that it allows for photos to be placed on a world map, so that users can see where photos were taken or see photos taken in a specific location.
  • Privacy controls allows for photos to be made available for the public or else kept in store for viewing by a select few.
  • The licensing feature lets users release their content with generally used licenses.
  • Uploading can be done vial email, a user’s desktop, or cell phone. With Flickr constantly striving to find new avenues this remains a key selling point as it gives users universal connectivity to the application.
  • Free accounts not accessed within 90 days are deleted.
  • The Flickr Filter allows for levels of appropriateness to be established for each account. Hence content can be deemed “unsafe” for minors or for entire countries.
  • Users can customise or create a wide variety of products, such as cards, photo albums or framed prints.
  • Adding of contacts lets Flickr act as a social networking device which lets users keep in touch with friends and family.

Getting Started

Signing up to Flickr requires a Yahoo! account. The user can then choose to use his account as a screen name or can select a name of choice.
From hereon in it’s a simple process of selecting the photos you wish to upload, uploading them and then adding titles, tags, descriptions and assigning the images to relevant sets. Or, if you have nothing to upload, jump right in and start browsing all the pictures that have been made available (you’ll inevitably come across one or two of yourself).

The community guidelines provide an adequate list of dos’ and don’ts, and the site is clean, easy to use and simple to navigate. Most importantly however, is that it provides minimalist styling that ensures that nothing will be detracted from the wide array of images that exist on the site.

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