If you want to see a visual chronicle of my life - and that of most of my quilting friends – all you have to do is go to Instagram. I could spend hours there looking at all the makes, mistakes and outtakes that anyone wants to share there. It seems like there are always more "stories" than I can view (and can I just say, if you are one of those people who continuously adds on to your story and has 10 segments or more in a day, I skip right by you? There's something that makes me want to roll my eyes at you for thinking that you are so special that you should post THAT MUCH about yourself).
But I really miss flickr.
I've missed it for a long time – it started going downhill over 5 years ago, and Yahoo missed a HUGE opportunity to make it better (and to save Yahoo?). They could have had a mobile app (sooner) that offered great functionality beyond the website. They could have competed with other social media, like IG.
Instead we all know what happened ... Yahoo ignored flickr and it quit growing. Its members got discouraged by the lack of improvements. Sadly, Yahoo has been through its own turbulent times and they don't own flickr anymore. After several different sales and buyouts, flickr is now a part of SmugMug, and if you look at some of the features on offer, it's obvious in the way that they are all about selling you photo books and other products, instead of focusing on the service itself.
It was never really about photo storage for me, and I don't think it was for any of my flickr friends either. We had groups, we made up themes, we did fun things together. There was the July Alphabet Soup group, where for the month of July, we did a photo and story focused on a different letter of the alphabet every day. We didn't mix it up, just went in A to Z order, and most of us didn't finish the month or post every day. Because life.
But it gave us the chance to be creative, to share in some fun with like-minded people. It didn't matter if you were a serious photographer or someone who just wanted to share a few laughs. We all had a place to hang out together, and to share in the moment.
Some of you may argue that there are similar features on IG – I see people doing #photoaday and #igquiltfest stuff. But it's not the same.
You sort of get to know the other people who are following the same hashtags, but you don't really have discussions. I mean, I guess you COULD have a discussion, commenting back and forth, but it isn't really like the discussions within the groups that flickr had. Mostly though? If you comment at all beyond an emoji on any photo on IG, you've put forth a lot of effort because you need to get through all the photos in your feed and see what all your friends are doing.
If you're anybody on IG, you have to have a lot of followers, and to follow a lot of other IG folks. And don't even get me started on the lousy algorithm that chooses what you see for you - I am so over the Facebook model and how they've made IG shitty. You can't opt out of that algorithm and see a straight-up timeline of all the photos your friends post. You have to consume the content the way someone else has decided for you to consume it.
Let's not forget all the obnoxious ads, either. It seems like every week there are more ads cluttering up the photo feed, and here is another social media app that has moved into the world of trying to force you to consume - products as well as content. That wasn't a part of flickr, and I miss that, too.
Why am I pining for flickr right now, so long after its heyday ended?
I've been cleaning up my photostream, leaving groups, and deleting direct messages on flickr because SmugMug has decided to change how many photos you can post there. This is the third or fourth iteration, with each new owner of flickr deciding that their model was better, and the current 1000-photo limit has actually circled back around to the original free account flickr model. Since I had a pro account for years, I had unlimited photos, but now ... now I no longer want or need to pay for the extra space.
Most of my friends are gone from there. In almost every group, the latest comment to any discussion thread happened two years ago, and in most, that time frame is more like five years.
I'm going to start pulling some of my flickr content over here. It's already begun, with my series on my little toy cow. She morphed into something magical for me, helping me find my voice while offering me a chance to explore story-telling. And other people on flickr enjoyed that journey with me.
I hope you will enjoy it as well.