The Lost Flickr of Hope

I woke up this Tuesday morning to a shock.

This bar is wrong in a lot of ways. The way it stands out in all its ugliness from the rest of the Flickr visual design speaks volumes about how it was executed (thoughtlessly, in a draconian way), how little the Flickr development team have a say in how things work (I can’t imagine a product owner who would allow such visual desecration of their product without a protest) and how little Yahoo! as a company cares about its vocal community (no attempt made by Flickr staff to respond to the outpour of grief in their help forum).

The newly redesigned Flickr reminded me that I’ve been on Flickr for a very, very long time – close to 9 years. My joining of Flickr pre-dates its acquisition by Yahoo!. I have been with Flickr through the several major design changes to its layout and functionality and through the waves of people from Flickr community leaving for other competitors. More importantly, I was generally quite vocal in my defence of Flickr and the changes it brought about. The only time I previously considered looking for alternatives was when the site had not received any significant updates in ages.

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I think I was naïve. I think the people who left earlier had better foresight.

I revoked my Pro account yesterday. Barring a few days of discontinuity between manual renewals, this is the first time in 8 years or so that I’ve dropped to a free account on Flickr.

I don’t intend to continue with any more public photo uploads to Flickr. I haven’t decided which service to use next, partly because it’s a difficult choice. Flickr is a great website. Despite years of neglect in community building, it still has strong community participation. There are other photo hosting websites, other photo sharing websites and other online communities. But there’s none that brings all these aspects together the way Flickr does.

Looks like I will have to find not one but two alternatives – a showcase and a community to replace my daily Flickr fix with.

PS: Some people recommend deleting photos from Flickr or making them private to disallow Yahoo! from making advertising money from our pictures. However, I don’t think I’m going to do that. I don’t want to break the trust of scores of third party pages that have legitimately embedded my photos instead of just flicking them without credit.