What would be on your Flickr wish list?
Flickr, the old-school photo sharing service that we love but apparently doesn’t turn a profit, has hired a new community manager and is (again) making an appeal to its users for desired features and functionality.
And here I am, offering my two cents. Would you expect anything less?
I have some thoughts both on the role of Flickr community management as well as some thoughts on what would make Flickr a compelling service for both photos and community.
On Flickr Community Leadership
Flickr’s new community manager is Carol Benovic-Bradley who, according to her Flickr profile, joined the service in 2013 and has uploaded a total of 49 photos since then. She’s a member of five groups on Flickr, two of which are public.
For better or for worse, Flickr has essentially hired an outsider as it’s new Senior Manager of Community. Someone who has less than 50 photos over seven years and who is only a member of five groups will be approaching Flickr without the perspective of the active photographers on the service, many of whom upload that number of images in a week or two and who are members of dozens of groups. I would argue that having joined in 2013, she was not part of Flickr even back when it was a thriving photography community.
That’s not necessarily bad. Perhaps what Flickr needs is an outsider’s perspective to bring the service in line with a more modern take on internet photography.
Hey Flickr, Feed Me
So here’s my crazy idea on what Flickr needs if it wants to draw photographers back in and make community an important part of Flickr (again). While Flickr has the photos from people you follow page, it doesn’t have anything that aggregates your group discussion participation. Nor does it incorporate any updates based on photos you’ve commented on. Flickr does have a notification feature for some activity (such as when someone favorites your photo) but it doesn’t seem to drive engagement very well.
Let’s consider what has worked for other social networks: a timeline or feed of activity that brings together various parts of the service. A strict chronological timeline is probably the easiest to develop, but an algorithmic feed probably leads to better engagement.1 Either way, imagine something like this:
The future Flickr feed could bring together:
- thumbnails of new images by your friends
- summaries of activity on your images
- updates from discussions in your groups
- a selection of random images from Explore2
- thumbnails of images in your groups that are getting a lot of engagement
The key here is engagement and getting me into Flickr. Don’t make me work to do things that the service should already know I want to do.
And this feed, that brings everything together? It needs to work both on desktop and through the Flickr mobile app. Instagram isn’t kicking Flickr’s ass because it’s a great desktop website.
And for bonus points? Let me tweak the feed by giving it hints as to what I like or don’t like. Let me help train the machine.
Want to share your Flickr wish list? Here’s their thread soliciting input.
Curious what I’m up to over there? Here’s my Flickr page.