At the NVHA Social Media conference a couple of weeks ago some speakers recommended using Flickr (just acquired by Yahoo!). I thought, "What’s the big deal with photo sites?" When I started doing phone-cam pics, however, I started a "photo steam" at Flickr to keep my impulsive pics off of FISpace.
But now I’m beginning to "get" what Flickr is about. Instead of the pictures being mostly private they are mostly public. So when you go to the home page, on the right you get a display of the last four snaps you took. Under those are four pictures taken by others, apparently pulled at random from their huge database of pictures. Each picture links to somebody’s collection.
I’m beginning to find it addictive to look through the pictures other people have posted. My wife thinks it’s voyeurism ("What’s this world coming too?!"), but I see something else. It reminds me of the old days before digital photography (yes, children, there was such a thing as "film") when you took your snapshots down to the drugstore for development. On rare occasion you might get home and look in the envelope and go, "What the…? These aren’t mine!" Indeed, you might get somebody else’s by accident. But it was compelling to look a little more and wonder, "Who are these people? What are they doing? What are their lives about?"
I get the same questions at Flickr. Unlike other photo sites, Flickr assumes that most people are glad to share their pictures with others. Who wouldn’t put pictures of their kids, of their pride-and-joys, up for people to admire? You see a lot of that. You can take a brief trip into the lives of others, indeed, others from all over the world. Some are weird, most are snapshots, and some are real quality photography. Flickr makes the photos, like blogs, a way to make a little statement. When you post your pics you can add a comment about it and any other information you like as well as links to your blog or profile.
So what’s this have to do with ACS? Well, I think we do a lot of fun events. Suppose, for instance, we had many of the volunteers and staff at Relays posting in real-time lots of photos about the events? Suppose we added comments about what it’s about and how fun or moving it is? Suppose we added links to ACS information? That stream of information based on the pictures would have to get some people’s attention. It’s really free publicity. Seems like it’s worth a shot, heh, heh.