I absolutely love it when the names of my favorite websites pop up in the news. For example, it caught my eye when I read an AP article on Businessweek.com about a Facebook executive who is considering running for Attorney General in California http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D97SGOF03.htm. I find it fascinating when the virtual world of the internet finds itself colliding with reality in brand new ways.

So this week, I’m going to look at Flickr.

A little background first- Flickr is a photosharing website that is part of Yahoo. Just click on any of my photos on the right side of this page if you want to be navigated to the site. Flickr opens up communication between strangers through images and comments, and also brings family and friends closer by easily allowing them to view and share each others’ photographs. People can do a variety of things with the shots they upload to the site- organize them, print them, share them, add them to groups, geotag them, etc.

If you don’t know about the site, FIND OUT RIGHT NOW, because you are living under a rock.

In my personal opinion, the site is awesome. I spend hours browsing photos of famous photographers, uploading my own stuff, and generally procrastinating like a crazy person on the site.

But all this makes me wonder how is Flickr being portrayed in the news world these days.

Using Google news as a tool, and “Flickr” as a search query, I found some answers. Here are the top three most intriguing- in my opinion- for today.

  • The internet is not safe from the wrath of the economy. Flickr took some big blows when Yahoo laid off about 600-700 people this week. Ouch. Numerous stories on the web are better than this Marketing Pilgrim one, but the overall facts remain the same. Innovations at a company with theĀ  size and reach of Flickr help an enormous quanitiy of everyday people AND artists across the globe. Cutbacks at this company could potentially impact art on a global scale. Now, I don’t think that will truly happen, because according to the article (and common sense) Flickr has a team of extremely forward thinking individuals who help Yahoo out a lot in the long run. But still, it’s an interesting thought to ponder. What if Flickr suddenly changed? The millions that use the site would be outraged- as they were when they changed the homepage a few months ago, and when they added video to the site last year (but that’s a different story entirely).
  • In the spirit of Obama’s first “100 days in Office” a White House photographer has announced the official White House Photostream, according to a Washington Post Article. Do you want to keep tabs on the Obamas even more closely than before? Well here is your chance. The artsy world of Flickr now gives people across the world a better view into the life of the U.S. president than they already had before (and let’s just say it’s been a pretty well-looked-at view over the past 100 days- poor man gets more attention than… well… I honestly can’t think of anyone that gets more attention than Obama… but I am getting sidetracked here). The Post article is a great example of press coverage of Flickr in a way that directs more people to the site and opens their eyes to a new world of art sharing. Yes, this world may start with their undeniable curiousity about the young man in charge of the USA, but it could eventually lead more people to looking at other pictures and getting more creative ideas of their own, and that is the type of article I like to find.
  • Flickr photos may lead to online travel books. Simple as that. Want to go somewhere and find out what it looks like? Is it so rare that Google hasn’t driven down the streets there yet to give you a “street view” option on your satellite map? Well, according to this PhysOrg article, scientists have a plan. They have collected data from literally millions of flickr photographs to determine the best travel locations in the world (PS- Portland is listed as one of the top 25 most photographed cities in the world on Flickr!). Although this article is obviously geared toward a more scientific audience, it is informative and interested, showing another view on the art of photography and more practical uses for image data than just “ooh look at this pretty picture!” I look forward to seeing what comes of this project- it’s a story I’d like to see more news sources- specifically more mainstream news sources- cover.

So- in case you haven’t noticed, Flickr definitely collides with the real world in multiple ways to achieve greatness. Ok, I might be a little biased, but what I mean to say is that the site is a perfect example of how a collision of art, social media, and news media can be a great opportunity for success and innovation. Now let’s just hope the economy gets back on its feet and sites that we all love don’t have to suffer along with the rest of us. Ick.


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One response »

  1. Peter Ogle says:

    Another rock-solid post, Katy. Great example of Flickr in the news. As you note, there’s a lot to be learned from not only watching what a business like Flickr is doing, but participating in the site itself and experiencing it. Score: 10.

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