When I first got onto Flickr, I didn’t know what to expect or what I was looking for. It is clear form the site alone that Flickr users have an underlying connection that they all have at least a basic interest in pictures/photography. What I found with this connection is that people who have manny different interests and eyes of observation all are in Flickr. There are groups dedicated to anything you can think of, food, babies, smoking, wildlife, family, music, fast food, sports, and even 24,951 groups dedicated to cats!!
Flickr is another social networking site that has emerged with Facebook, Twitter, and many other online communities. Unlike other sites, Flickr is devoted to photo-sharing. Members of Flickr fill out basic profile information: name, gender, hometown or location, you can even show whether you are single or in a relationship. Another interesting characteristic that I have only seen on Flickr is each time you sign-on to the home page, you are greeted back to your profile by a different language followed by your name. A caption below then says “Now you know how to greet people in …(Portugese)..or whatever random language is selected.
Like other social networking sites, there is an addiction that can develop to logging on and seeing how their information has changed. This addiction can be seen in several different emotional connections that grow between the user and the site. The first one that we addressed in class was the digital concept of goods or rewards that can produce a great attraction to constantly returning to the site. In Flickr, there are several types of goods that can be distributed to the users. The first one is a statistics bar on your profile where you can see which of your pictures are viewed most, have the most comments and the most “added to favorites” by other users.
Another “good” that can be distributed among Flickr users is having one of their photos be selected by administrators as an “Interesting Photo” and is then posted to the Flickr homepage and can be seen immediately by the entire community. What is interesting about this is that instead of having other users acknowledge your picture, people who are running the site are basically saying “Hey, I like your picture, this should be seen by everyone.” It would be like Mark Zuckerberg “liking” one of your pictures on Facebook and posting it to his wall.
I feel like these rewards also carry an adverse effect. There are hundreds of thousand of pictures on Flickr and not every pictures is seen or acknowledged. And without a doubt there are users who may end up feeling alienated by the site because no one is commenting on their pictures. After having an account for almost a month, only a couple of my photos have been commented on, and in all honesty I felt a little sad that it wasn’t more :P
The scope of users was pretty easy to determine with a little bit of investigation and a basic understanding of people in general. Every profile I looked at belonged to someone who looked or said to be above college age. Being a photo site, users must have been active in photography and most likely own a camera. Younger aged kids (middle/high school) are less likely to have the money to own their own camera and they are usually more interested in taking pictures of parties and other things that lack artistic value. Also, Flickr hasn’t turned into a fad like Facebook and Twitter have, that draw millions of users based on the ideology that “I should have one because everyone else has one.”
Overall I feel that Flickr and their emphasis of photography is a great way to connect people across the world. A man from Wetterau, German saw one of my photos and added it to his list of favorites. Unlike Facebook, where contact like that has to occur when two people are in the same group talking on a discussion board or going through pictures added to the group, but it stops there. With Flickr you can see a person’s entire portfolio of pictures and gain an understanding of what his/her interests are based on their groups and photos. This man, PixelFanger, has many pictures of buildings, towns, food and outdoor life. He is in groups that are dedicated to animals, food, town scenery and others. I have gained all of this information about a complete stranger within 5 minutes of looking at his profile and photo stream.