So the big news in my corner of the Internet on Friday was indie photo site SmugMug buying Flickr
from corporate bohemeth Yahoo/Oauth (or whatever). You can probably tell by my framing how I feel about it. I'm hopeful!
I posted my first photo to Flickr on August 18, 2004: luna in her office bed
. (This was back when the founders would comment on new photos
!) I wrote little hacks for Flickr like Add Camera Images to Flickr
. And a year after that first photo I was co-writing a book about Flickr
that was released a few months later
. I was all-in on Flickr and it was central to my online life.
But all was not well in the Flickrverse and I became more and more disappointed with what Yahoo! was doing with the service. A year after Flickr Hacks came out I started writing here about ways to move off of Flickr and back to hosting my own images: Going Off the Flickr Grid
. My personal photo site/Flickr clone lived from 2007-2010 or so at photos.onfocus.com
. (I posted what I thought would be my final photo to Flickr, here on March 14, 2007: 301_moved
After that initial burst of off-the-grid activity, my personal photo blog features couldn't compare with the upload, album, and sharing features available at Flickr. I didn't have time to scale up my site so I continued posting to Flickr—especially when I wanted to share a collection of photos. I was disappointed with myself for not living up to my online ideals. (This is a constant life theme
Anyway, all of this is just to say that my relationship with Flickr is complicated. I know my mixed feelings are nothing compared with the folks who were inside building Flickr and I hope their story gets told. I'd love to know why Flickr missed the mobile revolution and today we have Instagram influencers
instead of Flickr luminaries
(or whatever). I think this acquisition (is it? More details please!) is a great chance to revive the good parts of Flickr—especially its sense of community where Flickr started.