When I stuck my head out of the rabbit hole today, I saw the news that there had been a major Flickr redesign. I was… lukewarm… at the news.
Flickr… what can I say about Flickr? I’ve been a member since 2006, but I didn’t initially join for a place to share photos. I was already on other sites at the time. I joined Flickr because there was an active Atlanta community of photographers on Flickr. I joined it so that I could be part of the various meet-ups and photo-walks that took place at the time.
And that was my main use of Flickr at first, a way to connect locally. It was fun to share new stuff, but still most of the people I was sharing with were people I either knew or could know in real life if I wanted.
Along the way, I did get some visibility. I had contacts from people who wanted to purchase prints or license images for one use or another. I still hear others say they get that kind of visibility from Flickr but the contacts that tell me they found me via flick rather than my own site have been miniscule in recent years. I don’t know if my experience is unique but when I look at the traffic in simple raw numbers, Flickr has diminished. Heck, when I do reverse image searches of my work, I rarely even see images I have on Flickr as a result – and yes, my Flickr account is open to search. I do get traffic, but it just appears to me as if Flickr has fallen off the web as far as the search engines are concerned. Traffic is mostly internal for me on Flickr.
Flickr has been so diminished for me that I very nearly let my pro account lapse when it came due recently. The only thing literally that stopped me was the thought of an unknown quantity of images shared on Pinterest that currently point back to my Flickr account. I frankly didn’t feel like dealing with that right now so I figured another $25, another year, que sera sera…
Now I’m not sure what to do. The new way of viewing things seems to be the Pinterest inspired mosaic style that is all the rage right now. I neither love nor loathe that aspect of the Flickr redesign. It doesn’t excite me, but it’s not a turn off.
The main axe I have to grind about the Flickr redesign is that there’s very little left of my Pro account that I care about. Hypothetically I’m locked in at no ads for $25 less than new users. If I was overly bothered by ads, I guess that would be a huge selling point. I can apparently upload more than a terabyte as a legacy pro customer, but I’m not remotely near that number and probably never will be. I don’t upload high resolution to any public account like Flickr.
Poking through, the only thing about my Legacy pro account that I seem to care about is that I can replace old images versus uploading new ones. Is that a big enough deal to warrant sticking with Pro? I’m honestly not sure.
I do routinely replace images. People who follow me have no idea how often because they don’t see the old image vanish and the new one replace it. Basically I will always and forever find something I’d change about past work. And while I can’t change how I took it, I can change how I edit it. Heaven only knows how many times I’ve replaced the images in my flickr account, but it’s not a small number. That perfectionist streak is a whole other subject, but it highlights why that one issue is a selling point for me. And it’s the reason I hate uploading images to other networks where even a minor change requires uploading a new image.
Edit: And now I see the option to replace is there for free accounts, too.. That $25 a year is looking less attractive.
For the moment, I guess I may be in wait and see mode. Is a sleek new design and a free terabyte of data enough to bring people back to Flickr? Enough to reinvigorate communities there? Enough to get people interested in Flickr and discovering new visual art there? For me, that’s what I need to see from the Flickr redesign to make revisiting my presence there worthwhile. I guess we’ll see!