Consistency in Design

I’m a big fan of the new Flickr. Despite a few bumps along the way, like last weekend’s uploading fiasco, it feels like a new fresher Flickr and I think the fact that people can download their photos now in bulk will be a wonderful way to attract new talent to the site.

There are two little things that bug me about Flickr right now though. They are unimportant in the big picture of things, but the compulsive side of me tends to focus on the little things sometimes.

Artifacts

The first is the artifacting that takes place around icon that tells you if a photo is favorited or not or commented on not when you hover. Something just doesn’t seem right to me about this. It’s not a big deal for sure, but I wonder if Steve Jobs would let something like this fly? There appears to be two little dots around the star and the comment bubble seems cut off for me. I wonder if there is a way that this can be fixed?

Flickr Favorite
On most of Flickr a full white star means a photo has been favorited.

Flickr Non Favorite
On most of Flickr an empty white star means a photo has *not* been favorited.

Flickr Favorite 2
On the “photos from your contacts” page a colored pink star means a photo has been favorited.

Flickr Non Favorite 2
On the “photos from your contacts” page a full white star means your photo has *not* been favorited.

The second problem is a more serious one and something I’m sure will be addressed when Flickr rolls out their new page build to the “photos from your contacts” page — here the problem has to do with consistency in design.

On most places when you favorite a photo on Flickr it turns an empty star into a full white filled star — but on the photos from your contacts page, it’s confusing. On the photos from your contacts page a full white star actually means the opposite, that a photo is *not* favorited, here the signal for a favorited photo is a colored pink star.

As your eyes learn Flickr you become accustomed to seeing an empty or full white star to signal to you if it’s favorited or not, but when you go to this one page on Flickr and see a full white star it means the opposite.

As Flickr rolls out their new page design to other areas of this site I’m sure that this inconsistency will be fixed.

I’ve got a more serious problem with the “photos from your contacts page” that only affects some accounts at Flickr, and that is that the page is jumpy and unstable when I browse it. This is not a universal problem though and one that is only affecting some accounts (unfortunately mine is one) at the present time.

These are first world problems for sure. With each new build Flickr gets better and better, and the team should be commended for doing such a great job these days.

Flickr Users Unable to Upload Photos All Weekend Long While Flickr Staffers Take the Weekend Off

Flickr Weekend Upload Problems

Usually I publish photographs to Flickr twice a day, in the morning and in the evening — random batch of 16 photos in the a.m. and in the p.m. This morning I cannot upload a single photo. For the entire weekend I have not been able to batch upload to Flickr at all and have resorted to uploading photos one by one by one with consistent upload failure with each new attempt.

If this were happening at Facebook, it would be the top story on Techmeme — but because it’s just Yahoo and Flickr, it doesn’t get that sort of attention.

It’s not just me that this is happening to. The Flickr Help Forum has been littered with threads all weekend long where users are angry about not being able to upload photos to the site.

Failed to Upload

Cannot Upload Any Photos!
Video upload problems
Consistent upload failures and disconnect errors
Very slow upload speed
Uploadr gives error when attempting to Sign in
UPLOAD Servers speed DOWN to 3 %(max)
Can’t Upload Photos with Mac Yosemite
Upload Problems
Uploading not possible at 2/3 it stops
[BUG] Upload speed
Can’t upload

These are all Flickr discussions in their help forum active over the course of the last 3 hours. If you go back further, you will find that for the entire weekend a large chunk of Flickr users have been able to upload images reliably to Flickr.

Files Not Uploading

While being unable to upload photos to a photo sharing site is a problem, to me the bigger problem is that at a company with Yahoo’s resources not a single Flickr staffer seems to be assigned to review their active and public help forum.

While I get that Flickr staffers deserve a weekend off like everyone else, someone at Flickr should be assigned to the company’s very public help forum 24/7. An acknowledgement from staff that they are aware of the problem and working on it goes a long way — but to leave frustrated users twisting in the wind all weekend long just makes a bad situation that much worse.

This uploading problem is a bad technical problem to deal with I’m sure, but basic customer service should be something that Flickr is capable of given the deep resources of Yahoo behind them. Flickr/Yahoo can and should do better.

The only thing that in any way resembles any source of staff involvement comes from one of the help forum threads where a Flickr staffer who goes by the name “Alex” reportedly claims in response to a service inquiry that everything is fine on his end and that he’s able to upload 100 photos in under 5 seconds.

Even when Flickr was at it’s peak, you cannot upload 100 photos in under 5 seconds. No service on the internet would do such a feat, not Google, not Facebook, nor any other site. The fact that this is allowed to stand as the closest thing to staff response is unfortunate.

Flickr just rolled out a wonderful new version of Flickr this past week. Especially the weekend after a major new effort such as this, Flickr/Yahoo should be watching things closer and be much more responsive to their users. Hopefully Flickr doesn’t now let an entire Monday go by without acknowledging such a disruption to their service.

Update #1: Shortly after 8am this morning, Flickr staffer Wilson Lam acknowledged the problems at Flickr with uploading.

Update #2: Flickr Community Manager Matthew Almon Roth opened up a new thread apologizing for the upload issues over the weekend. According to Roth, “the sources of the issues are varied, but they have to do with a massive increase in uploads with the new Mac and Windows Uploadrs and Auto-upload in the mobile apps.

“We’ve seen consecutive days of new upload records for Flickr, smashing previous maximum upload days, and we’ve been working around the clock to make sure our infrastructure keeps up with demand. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused many of you and we hope to have all issues resolved as soon as possible,” wrote Roth.

Update #3: I was just able to upload a batch of 16 photos without any issue. It looks like progress is being made with regards to this frustrating problem.

Today’s New Version of Flickr Implements Bulk Downloading of Your Photos — Your Photos Really Do Belong to You

Flickr Rolls Out New Search, Camera Roll and Batch Download Improvements

Today Flickr is launching a number of new improvements to their service. I’ll review what they are in this post, but in my mind the most significant change coming today is that Flickr is introducing the ability for you to bulk download your photos from their site.

I’ve been critical of Flickr in the past over the inability to easily get your photos back out of the service. While not a silo, Flickr’s never made it exactly easy to get your photos back after you upload them.

You’ve always been able to download your photos on a photo by photo basis, but for someone with a ton of photos, downloading each and every one individually isn’t very practical or user friendly. For a while Flickr had partnered up with a company called Qoop (now out of business) that would bulk load your photos to CDs or DVDs and sell them back to you, but that never sat right with me either — why should you have to pay to get your own photos back? Also for someone like me with over 100,000 photos on the site, how many CDs would that take and how much would *that* cost?

Several third party developers had developed apps that claimed to be able to use the Flickr API to bulk download your photos for you. I tried many of these apps with names like bulkr and migratr and flickrsync over the years and never found any of them very reliable or easy to use.

All that changes today though as Flickr rolls out official support for batch downloading your photos from Flickr.

Now you can fill up that free 1 terabyte (or unlimited terabytes if you’ve got a grandfathered Pro account) with confidence knowing that if you ever want/need those photos back from Flickr you’ll be able to get them back much more easily. As I understand it, there still may be photo limits for how many individual photos you can select in camera roll for a single download for performance reasons, but you can select large batches of photos from the new camera roll and Flickr will convert those photos into a zip file for you and send them right back to you on your computer. The number of photos you can download is unlimited. You can download multiple zip files effectively accessing 100% of your photostream.

Today’s new support for downloading is a very consumer friendly thing for Flickr to do. It is already very generous for Flickr to give people 1 terabyte of free cloud storage for your high res original photos, but now allowing you to get them back as easily as you upload them there makes this even more generous. Kudos to Flickr.

This new download support is part of a new section on Flickr called “Camera Roll.” Camera Roll has been in beta testing for several months now, but this downloading feature is newly available today.

In addition to download support, Flickr also now allows you to easily grab a batch of photos from your camera roll and share them as sort of an album on the fly via url. This can be helpful if you have a batch of recent or specific photos that you want to email to one person, or share on Facebook or Twitter or elsewhere — with this new feature you just select them in camera roll and create a shareable url. Even if you have photos marked private you can share them with others with these special url links — sort of like a shareable guest pass but much easier to generate on the go.

Flickr is also going deeper now with deep machine learning with Camera Roll. In addition to viewing your photos by date taken or posted, Flickr is now adding in a New Magic View, where Flickr will auto tag many of your photos and build them into commonly grouped albums. You can see all of your sunset photos in one place, or all of your group photo shots in one place, or all of your photos of automobiles, etc.

Some of you who go wayyy back with Flickr, might remember the old Tag Cow company which would do similar tagging for you of your photos. In Tag Cow’s case though they were actually using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and hiring people in places like India and China to manually review and tag your photos for pennies.

Magic View is no Tag Cow though. Instead Flickr is actually using image recognition technology (remember this acquisition?) and algorithms to determine what your photos are of and then auto-tagging them based on this technology. If Flickr gets a tag wrong you will always be able to manually remove the automated tag. The tags that you add will be in a different shade than the auto-tags making it easy to see which ones you added and which ones Flickr added based on this technology.

One of the benefits of having more/better tagged photos on Flickr is that it will allow more public photos to be findable and searchable. This public/private distinction is important because private photos on Flickr are never searchable, except to you.

Which brings me to search.

I am a HUGE fan of the new Flickr search experience. I’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of hours using the search functionality of Flickr. I routinely use Flickr search to scout photo locations, find people shooting in a particular area, stay on top of events happening around the San Francisco Bay Area, and tons of other ways. The new search page is clean and fast. In addition to date posted, interestingness and relevancy you can also now search Flickr photos by date taken.

Flickr’s done an entire rebuild of the back end of the search page to make it super fast and responsive — they will also be porting this new rebuilt page technology to other pages in the weeks and months ahead to improve performance on many other popular Flickr pages.

Although I consider myself a fairly advanced search technician when it comes to Flickr, for many who are not as sophisticated, basic text searches will be smarter. In the past if you wanted to search for the London Eye you’d have to search for “London Eye” with quotes, or merge the two words together as londoneye. With the new search if you type London Eye just as plain text, Flickr is smarter and will realize that you want to see photos of the London Eye not random photos of London mixed in with random photos of eyeballs.

Flickr has also introduced some slick filters which will allow you to filter by colors (or black and white), photo styles such as depth of field photos or minimalistic photos or heavily patterned photos. Unfortunately there still is no filter to only show me photos without those pesky and ugly signatures and watermarks though. 😉

In addition to Camera Roll and improved search, Flickr is also updating their mobile apps for iOS and Android, to provide a more consistent experience. My iOS experience on Flickr has not been good the past few months. Recent activity for me has become completely jumbled and unusable, which is more of a power user problem I think than anything. I’m hoping that the refresh fixes this bug for me — maybe not though. I do like to use the mobile version when I have a few minutes for looking at and favoriting photos of my contacts and it will be interesting to see what this is like once I upgrade.

The changes Flickr is rolling out today continue to make Flickr better and better — a trend that’s continued over the past several years as Flickr has ramped up staff and built a better and stronger team.

No other company today will give you a free terabyte of photo storage for your high res photos.

It always boggles my mind that people actually pay for storage of their photos on things like iCloud, when they could just send everything to Flickr for free. Especially now that you can get your photos back so easily, there really is no reason why everyone in the world should not use Flickr as a free cloud backup storage for all of their photos. Even if you don’t want to mix up every photo on your hard drive or phone with your current carefully curated Flickr presentation, you can just set up a second account and call it backup to Flickr and have a free backup site for your photos.

Are you one of those people who are constantly running out of space on your phone because of all of your photos? Then why aren’t you using Flickr?

More from The Verge, Wired, TechCrunch.

Vintage Cars x Modern Sunsets SF Bay Area Photowalk This Saturday

AWESOME PHOTOWALK IN THE SFBAY AREA THIS SATURDAY

Priime is hosting an exclusive photo event + photo walk that starts at a Sports Car Museum in Corte Madera, at the base of Mount Tamalpais, then moves to a fantastic vantage point to shoot above the fog from the top of Mount Tam.

The event starts this coming Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 4pm.

4pm – 6pm: food, photos, and photographers
6pm – 8pm: sunset on Mount Tamalpais

I’ll be making a few remarks about my own photography at this event, but am mostly just looking forward to hanging out with other photographers.

You can RSVP here, but there is limited space!

See you there! :)

The Latest Tech Trends in Real Estate Photography

6324 Castle Drive, Oakland, CA

Earlier this week I was checking out a new listing that Kelly and Marvin Deal with Grubb Company here in Oakland, CA have up for a home for sale in the Oakland Hills. Kelly and Marvin helped mrsth and I buy our home in Piedmont a few years back and are excellent real estate agents if you are looking to buy or sell in the East Bay, especially near Piedmont or Oakland.

In looking at the listing, I was struck by how sophisticated real estate photography is getting. I’d seen interactive home tours online before, but with the convergence of things like 360 degree cameras and drone photography, real estate photography seems to be moving to a whole new level. In this case they used drone cameras to get unique views of the property including dramatic aerial views showcasing the parklands around the property.

They also used a company called Open Homes Photography who is using 360 cameras to build not just interactive walk through tours of properties, but can even convert these 360 degree views into custom floor plan and aerial type dollhouse views.

Anyways, if you are doing real estate photography, check it out — and if you’re thinking of moving to Oakland, give Kelly and Marvin a call as well.

With housing in San Francisco and the Peninsula going nuts with the recent tech boom, on a relative basis Oakland is much more affordable. We moved to the East Bay in 2001 and over the last decade I think Oakland especially has been growing into a wonderful place to live and work. Great new restaurants seem to be popping up daily, art and food and culture are thriving and BART makes it super easy to get to the City quickly.

Priime, The Best iPhone Photo Editor I’ve Ever Used

Priime is Liive -- Get It While It's Hot

Disclosure, I am an advisor to Priime and have styles included in their style marketplace.

Boom. Just a few hours ago Priime went live in the Apple iTunes App Store and already on launch day Apple is featuring it in their best new apps section.

What is Priime?

Priime is the best mobile phone editor I’ve ever used. I’ve been using it behind the scenes for the past few months and am blown away by how much better it is than anything else out for mobile editing today. The free app features a powerful suite of editing tools allowing you to enhance a lot of the basics around your photos: brightness, structure, contrast, warmth, tint, saturation, sharpness, highlights/shadows, vignette and fade. The app can also save photos up to 50 megapixel in size! I don’t know of any other app that can let you output such high res photos.

In addition to these tools, Priime has currated some of the best mobile photo styles available. These are styles developed by photographers for photographers. I have two styles for sale in the Priime marketplace — Americana and Neon. Neon can be a particularly tricky thing to shoot sometimes. I’ve taken over 10,000 photos of neon signs and this is my best attempt at an overlay that works especially well for signs.

The app gives you some great free starter styles. It will also make suggestions for what styles may work best with your photo after analyzing it.

In addition to my styles, Priime features styles developed by 30 other insanely talented photographers, each with their own unique way of processing the world through their iPhone.

Daniel Krieger, who shoots for the NY Times, is probably the best working food photographer in the world right now. If you are going to take photos of food, you are definitely going to want to get his filter. Vivienne Gucwa just put out a fantastic book of New York City photographs and has some amazing styles as well.

There is no Android version yet (it is on the roadmap), but the app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

One of the things that I think makes Priime different from other photo editing apps is that it was actually developed by photographers. I have known Art Chang for several years. We went and shot Death Valley with a bunch of Google+ photographers 4 years ago. He’s an amazing photographer and has especially done cool things with mobile. His Instagram stream is here. Art has a love for photography that I think gives the app a unique photographer driven perspective and street cred. Art’s co-founders are also all photographers — Loren Baxter, Andrew Ng and Joe Pestro.

Priime is sharing the revenue for their styles with the photographers who have developed them. I think that is a really cool thing. I can’t wait to see what other photographers are added as time goes on.

Anyways, check out Priime in the iPhone App Store. Here is a direct link to the app here. I’d love to hear what you think of it. Remember it’s Priime with two ii’s. :)

My Styles in the New Release iPhone App Priime

Priime Featured in the Best New Apps Section of the iPhone App Store

What TechCrunch Gets Wrong About Ello…

Pardon My Whiskers Mr. Mingus
Photograph of the hippest hipster cat around, Mr. Mingus, by hipster Daniel Krieger

Writing for TechCrunch, Josh Constine penned a hit piece yesterday announcing the end of Ello. I was disappointed to see TechCrunch, a publication that I long viewed as being supportive of the start up community, using their pulpit to tear one down. Not only do I think Josh got a lot of the story on Ello wrong, but the dramatic tone of his article was unnecessarily disparaging and that is disappointing.

I’m not sure how much Josh uses Ello, but I use it every day and it’s currently my favorite social network.

I thought I’d take a few minutes to address some of the things that Josh said about Ello and add my own commentary.

1. Josh says: “Here in September gone in September, Ello hoped to dethrone Facebook by … not having ads.”

I’m curious about Josh’s comments saying Ello hoped to “dethrone” Facebook. Nowhere have I ever seen the founders of Ello saying that they hope to “dethrone” Facebook. In fact, the founders have gone out of their way to say that Ello and Facebook are two entirely different things. Ello is a social network and Facebook is an advertising network.

If you pull up Ello’s mission statement, does it say that their goal in life is to “dethrone” Facebook?

On the “What is Ello” page, Ello states:

“Ello is a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers. We originally built Ello as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to join Ello that we built a public version of Ello for everyone to use.”

Huh? So why the wild hyperbole from TechCrunch stating that Ello hoped to dethrone Facebook? If Ello got even 1/10th of 1% of the users that Facebook has it would be an absolute home run. Facebook is a multi billion dollar advertising network. Ello is a fun place to hang out and share things in an ad free environment with interesting people.

2. Josh says: “But while hipsters had fun hating on Zuck’s creation for a few days, they all went back to it and promptly ditched Ello.”

What’s with the dig about “hipsters?”

Maybe I’m a hipster, maybe I’m not a hipster?

I’m just a photographer looking to share my photos on a cool platform and I’m still using Ello everyday, just like I did when I joined it.

Is Brian Nelson a “hipster” (they won’t let him share his fine art nude photographs on Facebook by the way, warning NSFW)? Is my photographer friend David Seibold a hipster? Is JC Little a hipster? Is foalsi a hipster? Is Greg Poulos a hipster? Is Japanese photographer ruylopez a hipster? Is Jessica Greene a hipster? Is Toby Harriman a hipster? Is dutch a hipster? Is my Italian friend Nicola Cocco a hipster? Is writer, journalist and photographer Marcus Hammerschmitt a hipster? Is Ugo Cei a hipster? Is Brad Sloan a hipster? Is Portuguese street photographer Ricardo Porto a hipster?

I know my friend Daniel Krieger is *definitely* a hipster — he shoots for the NY Times, lives in Brooklyn, used to have a moustache, drinks fine bourbon and has the coolest cat named Mr. Mingus. The thing is though, all of these people are still on Ello and still posting every day. Josh on the other hand made two posts on the site and then bolted. One of his two posts is of this hipster looking avatar with a moustache, beard and long hair that I guess is supposed to be him?

Is the hipster criticism just because a few of the Ello founders have beards? Whatever case, the “hipsters” haven’t “promptly ditched Ello.” I could easily come up with a few hundred more interesting talented people I follow on Ello that pretty much post every day.

3. Josh says: “Beating Facebook at its own game is like punching a wall 1.35 billion bricks thick. ”

Huh, who said anything about “beating Facebook at its own game?” Lots of people who use Ello also use Facebook. I know I do. Why does everything have to be about “beating” Facebook. Is that just for the clicks? Ello isn’t even playing Facebook’s game. How can they “beat” them in an advertising game that they are not even playing in?

4. Josh says: “So as soon as people realized they could either post to their few smug friends who joined Ello, or everyone they know on Facebook, they dropped Ello on its face.”

Why would Josh think that people who use Ello are “smug?” I’ve met some really cool and interesting people on Ello. I’ve made some great new friends and reconnected with some old ones. The mixture of people is like a really nice bar where people generally speaking are nice and thoughtful and creative and intelligent and interesting. Maybe Josh needs to spend more time actually researching Ello before labeling the community there as “smug” and saying that they “dropped Ello on it’s Face.”

I mean, I hate to say it, but I think Josh’s hipster TechCrunch article on Ello is actually way, way, way, way more “smug” than the people who are actually using Ello as a fun community every single day.

5. Josh says: “No one I follow has posted in three months, so I doubt they’re checking the site either. ”

So wait, because Josh’s 22 hipster friends on Ello aren’t using it nobody else could possibly be? Maybe he should do a little more research because many of the 778 friends I’m following on there are using it every single day.

I thought Josh’s take on Ello was pretty myopic and one sided.

Look, here’s the thing about Ello. Ello is not trying to be Facebook. Ello is not trying to beat Facebook. Ello is not trying to play a game of horse basketball with Facebook on the Facebook basketball courts. Ello is Ello. Ello doesn’t need billions of users. Ello doesn’t need creepy ads that follow you around the internet. Ello doesn’t need you to pay them to have your “sponsored” posts shown to your friends.

Ello just is a cool place where interesting, intelligent, creative people are hanging out and being all friendly like. Photography there looks better than on any other network on the web. The interface is easy and clean. The folks running the show actually give a damn and care about the place and participate and are transparent about where they are headed with the network. If you haven’t tried Ello yet, check it out. You might find it the friendly sort of place you might like to hang out. You can find me on Ello here.

Some good comments about this article here.

Update: Paul Budnitz, one of Ello’s founders, has a very insightful response to Josh’s TechCrunch piece here.

What Ello is to Me

Bob Ello

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs

Nathan Jurgenson is getting a lot of attention today for asking what was Ello? Link baiting headlines always seem to drive the most traffic.

This is what Ello *is* to me.

The other day I was having a friendly debate (on Facebook of all places) with my good friend Robert Scoble, about why I participate so heavily on Ello and not so much on Facebook. Robert told me that I should post what I write, or at least links to it, on Facebook.

I do post links to some of my Ello stuff on Facebook, but I don’t really participate on Facebook much except maybe to check in with a few friends who are on there from time to time. I do post to Facebook every day still, but I view Facebook mostly as a distribution channel for my photography and less as a social network to engage in. I post my work to a lot of places where it’s just meant to be displayed and enjoyed, but 95% of my interaction online these days is at Ello.

I’ve been thinking a bit today about why I like Ello so much more than the other social networks and because I like to make lists, I thought I’d share 8 reasons why I’m really digging Ello right now.

1. I have never met as quirky, creative, intelligent a group of people as I have on Ello.

I have participated *heavily* in social networks for over a decade. I was on Flickr the year it started. I was on Twitter the year it started. I was on Google+ the hour it started (and Google Buzz before that). I was an early friendfeed users before it was shuttered to Facebook. I would have been on Facebook earlier than I was, but back in the early days it was only for college students — but I set up a Facebook account once I could.

Elllo reminds me a lot of the good ol’ super early days of Flickr Groups when folks like Mr. Chalk were still around.

Ello is full of some of the most creative, passionate, thoughtful personalities that I’ve ever seen online. Some of it is fcuking nutz! You have to pay attention and really think about what’s going on if you have any chance in hell of understanding what in the world @bibles is talking about.

The other day I read one of the most passionate works of non-fiction I’ve ever read by @beneaththestars. She deleted the work the next day, because it was painful and intensely raw and personal, but it’s not something you’d ever have found on Facebook.

Every Ello day is full of creativity. What about the mad curation skillz of @diogovarelasilva? The writers, artists, and creative people that are setting up house there are really publishing fine work. I hesitate to name more names, because you ALWAYS leave so many people out… but…@dbriannelson (NSFW), @sylvia_plath, @kellylr, @girlmuse, @elisemesner, @cgwarex, @katatonic, @mtvinthe1990s, @x-files, @miranda_riordan (also probably not so safe for work)… Last night I read one of the most hilarious adult picture books by @theanimatedwoman I could just keep going…

2. I’m not afraid of adult content or the human body. I’m actually a big fan of the human body and think that it’s absurd that Facebook will take down photos of mothers breastfeeding their young.

The other day Facebook sent me a note letting me know that they had sided on my side about leaving up a photo of mine of a sculpture by August Rodin, probably the world’s most famous sculptor. To me it’s absurd that people would actually report a Rodin sculpture, but the fact that you even have to think about that at Facebook is dumb.

Ello, like Flickr, manages NSFW content much more intelligently. At Ello if you are going to be sharing content that is adult oriented you just categorize your work as NSFW. Likewise people then have a choice to either view NSFW or have this work filtered out of their Ello experience. NSFW and SFW content can exist side by side together in peace and harmony. Boobs are not necessarily evil, just ask Scout Willis.

You see, the thing is that in general the world’s most creative people dislike censorship. So *because* Ello makes a place for intelligent and creative NSFW content, it attracts a much higher percentage of these creatives than you will find somewhere like Facebook.

3. I hate ads. Facebook’s ads are “supposed” to be intelligent ads that are targeted just to my specific taste and liking. If this is true then why are they advertising dishlatino at me? I speak un poquito of Spanish, but certainly not enough to sign up and order dishlatino. Nothing against latinos who like to watch satellite TV by the way.

I don’t think Facebook’s ads are intelligently targeted towards me at all. I think that I am shotgunned ads just like I am on broadcast TV where I have to watch horrible pharmaceutical commercials over and over and over again. Ello has no ads and better yet NEVER will! Is starting a new social network without ads bold? Hell yes it is! I love it!

4. The founders that hack on Ello are right up there amongst the most creative of the Ello community. As much as their creativity though, I admire their transparency. Frequent updates about what’s up with Ello abound. If you have a problem with Ello’s service or something’s bothering you go tell @budnitz or @cacheflowe or @lucian or @todd or whoever. The team running the site are accessible and frequently let you know what’s up. Obviously they can’t respond to every crank anarchist with an axe to grind (nothing against crank anarchists with axes to grind), but they are pretty open about what they are up to.

5. I don’t need to be on the biggest social network in the world. I really don’t. I’d rather interact with a few hundred really interesting engaging people than 5 million strangers.

6. Ello is not just for artists. Although I have a burning passion for art and photography, during the day I have an equal passion for my day job, which just happens to be in the financial services industry. I don’t talk about this side of who I am very often, but I’ve been very impressed that Ello has seemed to have attracted some talent here as well. Respected writers in the financial industry like Bloomberg’s Joel Weisenthal are writing there. Bloomberg News has an active Ello account. Ello is not just for artists!

7. Did I mention *photos* *look* *great*? I love it when I see a photographer post the same photo on Ello and other social networks. Photos look so much better on Ello, it’s not even close.

8. I don’t want some corporation filtering out work by my friends and filtering out my work to my friends. The other day I was visiting with my friend Marc Evans. We were talking about Facebook and I told him that one of the things that I disliked about Facebook is that I NEVER see his work on there. He replied that it’s funny but that he NEVER sees my work on there either. For some reason Facebook filters his stuff out of my feed. Occasionally I do go to his individual feed there and like stuff, but he never appears in my public feed. I feel like Facebook wants me to pay them in order to let my images go out to my friends there. I’ve noticed that traffic to my images over the past several years increasingly has been dwindled down by Facebook’s almighty algorithm. I don’t like that.

I, for one, will spend most of 2015 on Ello. I love the way the platform showcases photography. I love the quirky creative people I am finding on there. I love the accessibility, openness and transparency of those who are hacking on it. I love that I don’t have to see ads. It feels like a beautiful, open frontier with the most interesting personalities I have ever seen on any social network.

For those of you asking about a mobile app for Ello, it is coming. I suspect we see one in early 2015. Don’t let this stop you from participating though. You can still use Ello on the web today on your phone and it pays to get involved with the best new things early on.

One final word of advice for those of you who find Ello as compelling as I do. You can’t just join a social network and expect to have things happen. The best social network happens when *you* put effort into it. Don’t just post to Ello and then run away. Participate. Engage with other users. Comment on compelling work that you like. Invite your friends and the most creative people you know to come join you. If you are interested here is a post I wrote on 10 tips for getting the most out of Ello. Oh and you can find me on Ello here.

The future is bright for Ello indeed!

Update: I posted a few respectful comments on Nathan Jurgenson’s original piece, What was Ello, linked above. Interestingly enough it would appear that he is deleting comments from his original blog post about Ello posted by people who respectfully disagree with him.

That feels intellectually dishonest to me and makes his original post feel even more like trolling. I certainly respect people’s right to moderate content, but in general I’m happy to let people post comments on my posts that disagree with me, as long as they can do it respectfully without attacking other people etc. It’s disappointing that as a blogger it would appear Jurgenson can’t handle basic simple, respectful disagreement.

Here is another example of a thoughtful, on topic, respectful comment deleted by Jurgenson. Deleting comments from people for disagreeing with you feels intellectually dishonest and cowardly. I’m disappointed that Jurgenson feels it necessary to delete comments by people who respectfully disagree with him.

Update 2: Another perspective: why @rumblepress likes Ello. :)

‘Tis the Season for Flickr Wall Art

Tis the Season for Flickr Wall Art

Look what showed up in the mail yesterday: a beautiful 16 x 20 premium photo mounted from Flickr’s new Wall Art service.

The photo is mounted on a one inch board and looks beautiful both on the wall as well as being held my daughter Kate, whose photo I printed.

The process of ordering the print was super easy and I was able to order it directly from the Flickr photo page.

In addition to ordering your own photos as wall art, there is also a huge library of wall art photos that you can purchase from other photographers on Flickr. Flickr recently revised this fine art program and now shares sales proceeds with all photographers involved in their wall art project.

What a wonderful way for Flickr to partner with their photographers who make the site a more beautiful place.

Ello vs. Facebook for Photographers

Ello vs. Facebook

Are you an artist or photographer? Do care about the integrity of your images? Do you dislike ads and sponsored posts shoved in your face? Do you dislike having 99% of your feed filtered out of view for those who follow you?

Look at the above and answer this question: where does my photograph of the St. Louis Arch look better, Ello or Facebook?

By the way, Ello is not just a social network for photographers. I’ve met some amazing creative writers, thinkers, and purveyors of all sorts of culture there.

There are communities there building on things like finance, tech, science, politics, etc. It’s an open inclusive community.

It’s also where I spend almost all of my online time these days. So, if you notice I’m quiet on Facebook and other networks, it’s not that I’m being quiet, per se, it’s just that I’m hanging out over there at Ello.

Like most new communities online or IRL, it takes some time and energy and effort to make Ello work for you, but it’s a far more rewarding experience and worth it and I’m happy about doing my own part to participate in something better.

If you are new to Ello here are some tips for you.

You can find me on Ello here.


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