The following was completed as an assignment for MMC 5636 – Introduction to Social Media. This course is being completed as part of the Master of Arts in Mass Communications with a specialization in Social Media program, through the University of Florida. As such, the content discussed is for purely academic purposes.
Definition and History
Flickr, which is pronounced “Flicker”, is an online content community aimed at photo and video sharing. It was developed in 2004 by a small Canadian online gaming start-up company, Ludicorp; the co-founders of Flickr are Caterina Fake, and husband Stewart Butterfield. The evolution of components of the Flickr experience and key historical dates are as follows:
- Galleries and photo-streams showcase uploads, organizer allows for easy filing, and user’s ability to tab, comment or delete photos – 2004
- Yahoo acquires Flickr for $35 Million – 2005
- multi-lingual site launched; users can geotag photos, and even edit them with the built-in tool Picnik – 2007
- Flickr reaches 2 billion photos uploaded – November 2007
- Flickr Video & ‘the commons’ launched – 2008
- IPhone add released; people tagging enabled on the site – 2009
- Flickr reaches 5 billion photos – September 2010
- Flickr reaches 6 Billion photos – August 2011
- Android app released – 2011
- Pinterest buttons added – 2012
- Flickr photo books are introduced; justified views allows users to peruse pictures that haven’t been cropped/adjusted to fit thumbnail spec – 2013
The Who & How of Flickr
Flickr has an incredibly diverse target audience; however for the most part they fall into two categories: Photography Enthusiasts and Bloggers. This is largely due in part to the amount of storage provided, the ease of organizing and labelling, and the ability to link to blogging platforms such as WordPress and Blogger. In addition, 27% of Flickr users are from the United States of America, and a high percentage of users are female.
- To log in, users must create/enter a free Yahoo email account.
- There’s a top navigation bar with tabs (e.g. You, People, Groups, Explore, Create); the ‘You’ tab routes one to their own page, where they can manage/upload photos, the ‘People’ tab allows users to see pictures of their friends, view their friends images, find new friends, and remove those friends they no longer want to follow. The ‘Group’ tab connects the user to micro-communities that share their interests, where they can share content and discuss. The ‘Explore’ tab is where users can go to connect to the ‘Flickr-verse’. Next, the ‘Create’ tab allows users to create gifts out of their images (e.g. calendars, canvases).
- Also, the ‘Upload’ button appears on the top navigation bar. Users can upload images/video by drag & drop, or revert to a more traditional uploader. During this process, users can add tags and titles and descriptions to their photos to make them more ‘searchable’. Users can also adjust the copyright settings on their images, authorizing them to be apart of public domain, or remain their private property.
- From the profile page, users can navigate to their ‘Albums’, ‘Favorites’, ‘Groups’, ‘Creations’, and ‘Stats’.
Flickr Analytics & Business Models
Flickr provides very basic analytical statistics through the “Stats” tab, however, for people that upgrade to Flickr Pro they are provided with more in depth analysis.
Companies can take advantage of the free TB of data, along with easy content sharing and organizing capabilities, which are “ideal for in-house creative staff, as well as marketing initiatives” (Entrepreneurial Insights, 2014). Brands can use Flickr, displaying and archiving photo/video content (note: video length is limited to 3mins) to grow their online presence, make connections, generate leads and boost SEO.
The Strengths & Weaknesses of Flickr
To begin with, Flickr’s biggest strength is the simplicity to store, organize, access, and share photos and videos, which is proved by the number of daily users. It has remained focused on its aim and avoided becoming anything more complicated. Flickr is fairly well integrated into other social media platforms.
- Connect Facebook & Flickr: Users can connect their accounts and when new images are uploaded to Flickr, a batch update will appear on the Facebook newsfeed.
- Flickr2Twitter: After entering Twitter as a ‘blog page’, users are provided with a unique email address. To post Flickr content to Twitter you send it to the email address with the Flickr image title & tweet in the subject line.
- From Flickr: There is a share menu above the photo that allows for easy sharing to not just Twitter, but Facebook, Tumblr, Blogger & WordPress as well.
- Twitter Tuesday: Flickr selects a topic (e.g. trees, birds) and encourages its community to tweet content to @Flickr #TwitterTuesday.
In addition, to integrating to other social media platforms, Flickr has the ability to establish and join a wide variety of groups or communities. This allows the user to share their content with other like-minded people. Because of its ease of use, and focused aim, there really is not any weaknesses or areas of improvement for this platform.