Why I still prefer Instagram to Flickr

It’s all about mobile.

Christa Mrgan:

Flickr’s loss of momentum coincided with the rise of the iPhone, and Flickr’s long-running failure to make a great mobile app contributed to the slow and quiet exodus of many longtime users…just as the best camera is the one you have with you, the best photo-sharing app is the one that’s the easiest and most fun to use on your phone.

Flickr Pro

In a post about Flickr Pro plans:

Flickr Pro means that you can take all the photos you like with all your phones, cameras, celluloid lightboxes, microwave ovens, etc. and store your memories all together in one place for $24.95 per year.

I had a subscription to Flickr Pro once, but for the amount of photos I took I didn’t think it was worth the $24.95.

What peeved me the most about it is they take the Quicktime Pro model of upgrading. For regular users, Flickr only shows the most recent 200 photos. If you want to go beyond that (say, after years and years of taking photos you might actually want to see early ones) you need to upgrade and get all the features you might not care much about, just like how if you wanted full-screen Quicktime viewing you had to buy a Quicktime Pro license.

Once of the things I hope Flickr clears up in 2012 is to let me know who this site is for. Is it for hard-core and/or professional photographers, or is it for regular joes to post photos to? And for both of those groups there needs to be a compelling reason why you would use Flickr over the other alternatives (photography CMSs, Facebook, Instagram, whatever). “View more than the latest 200 photos” isn’t it, at least not in 2012.

Looks like Flickr is making some changes this year

This year is going to be big at Flickr! In the coming weeks and months you will see significant updates to Flickr’s user experience, new features and offerings across devices. Our goal is to build a gorgeous, intuitive, and truly beautiful experience for you, your friends and your photos.

Flickr used to be / still is a great photo site. I’m hopeful they can return to their former glory in a world full of Twitpics and Instagrams.1

  1. The day to day photos that you might take from your phone and share should have been Flickr’s, but they let all these newcomers take that. 

Weblogs, IM and email

From Waffle on Google+

You know what I like? Weblogs, IM and email. Weblogs is an excellent way to disseminate writing. IM is an excellent way to actually have a conversation with people, although with the benefit of passing links along. Email is an excellent way to send less temporally bound, read-when-you-have-time messages that can sometimes carry the gravitas of an actual piece of mail.

This is the kind of approach I’ve been wanting to take…or go back to. On Google+ you can separate people into groups, but that can become a lot of work. After playing around with it I wondered why I should use this instead of email, which everyone has and isn’t limited to any social networking site.

You know what? If you’re interested in the same things I’m interested in you should just subscribe to my weblog, because you’ll probably like what I post. If you have something to say to me email is just fine. You don’t need to write on my wall. Besides, that’s my wall. Stop posting on my wall. You have your own wall you can post shit to. Stop making our one-on-one conversations public.

If you want to see my photos I have a Flickr page. If you want to get my status updates you can follow me on Twitter. Not into photos? You probably aren’t on Flickr or Picassa. Not into status updates? You probably aren’t on Twitter anyway.

There are a bunch of other sites with more specific interests that you may be on already…games, books, music, videos,1 and they’re all better than similar offerings from Facebook and Google+. If you’re into none of that stuff then you don’t need to subscribe to any of it. I’ll do the same with you and we can avoid the hurt feelings that inevitably come with friending, un-friending, and notification anxiety.

  1. I’m talking about sites like Playfire, Goodreads, Last.fm, and Vimeo. Don’t forget about the tons of forums. I used to spend tons of time on Logic Pro Help.
    Ok, maybe nobody you know are on these sites. But so many people complain about what their friends post on Facebook it’s a wonder they continue to call them friends. Maybe make some new friends on these sites. 

“If you’re using TwitPic – stop”

Makes you wonder why Flickr1 is so far behind with Twitter clients. Why can’t I snap a pic with a Twitter client on my phone and send it to Flickr as easily as I can with Yfrog and Twitpic?

Edit: I @twitterrific about this a while ago. There response was:

  1. Who’ve claimed that “At Flickr, your photos are always yours.“ 

“The Most Important Page on Flickr” by Timoni West

Timoni West writes that the contacts page is the most important page on Flickr, but is poorly designed.

The page fails on a fundamental level—it’s supposed to be where you find out what’s happened on Flickr while you were away. The current design, unfortunately, encourages random clicking, not informed exploration.

West is a designer at Flickr and has proposed some ideas. I’ve avoided these problems by subscribing to the feed that’s linked at the bottom of the page.

The problem I have is that very few of my friends use Flickr.

Pay At The Pump and Photo Sharing

For the longest time the Mobil station and Stewart’s gas pumps in my town didn’t have pay-at-the-pump options. Neither of them had it, so there was no real competitive incentive for one to spend the money on them until the other did.

About a year or two ago the Mobil station installed pay-at-the-pump. Now both of these gas stations have it.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Flickr is the best site for photo sharing. Flickr lets you browse photos at full screen. You can see all kinds of details on a photo page (EXIF data like ISO speed, whether a picture was taken with flash, what model camera took it, and so on).

Photography is the centerpiece on Flickr.

Then Facebook and Picasa came along.

Facebook wins the photo-sharing contest for most people, because for most people photography is a component of their social world. On Flickr, photography is art. On Facebook photography is more like “LOL. Look how trashed you were at the company party!”

Plus it doesn’t hurt that Facebook doesn’t discourage photo uploads. Flickr’s free accounts were limited to three photosets (their word for photo albums) until March 2009. The free accounts only display your last 200 photos and let you upload 100 megs a month. Want more than that? You’ll need to get a pro account for $24.95 a year.

Despite Flickr being the site for photographers it still lags a bit on basic things. Like navigation. When browsing on Facebook you can hit the left and right arrow keys to go through photos. Can’t do that on Flickr unless you’re in slideshow mode…which I rarely use. As one Flickr user puts it, why not add it regular pages anyway?

Maybe they will. If other photo sites hadn’t come along (like Picasa, Facebook, and even Zooomr) then Flickr probably wouldn’t have lifted the limits on photosets. Think Flickr ever had plans for users to tag people in photos? They didn’t add it until October this year.

All because you could pay at the other guy’s pump.

Photo by Flickr user brutal and used under a Creative Commons License.