A Case Study on How Popularity Works on Flickr
Came across an interesting study on Flickr from my flickr friend verner_oscar™. The study is by Christophe Prieur, Dominique Cardon, Jean-Samuel Beuscart, Nicolas Pissard and Pascal Pons, and was done for Université Paris-Diderot and Orange Labs.
As part of the study the authors group Flickr users into small and heavy users and discuss what contributes to popularity on Flickr. They also discuss some of the statistics behind private and public photos and different ways how people use Flickr.
The study estimates that no more than about a third of photos on Flickr are private and that likely 2/3 of the photos on Flickr are public. Another interesting finding is that while only a small percentage of Flickr members have paid Pro accounts, this small group dramatically represents the largest number of photos on Flickr. The study found that while only 3.7% of Flickr users have paid Pro accounts, that these users represent almost 60% of the photos presently on the site.
The fact that Flickr limits free accounts to 200 photos while giving Pro accounts an unlimited number of photos would seem to contribute to this trend in my opinion.
As part of this study 50,000 heavy flickr users were analyzed. On average these users had 915 photos in their stream (with a maximum by one user of 75,737), 181 contacts, 270 favorites given, 307 favorites received, 775 comments posted and 751 comments received.
The study also concluded that 39% of Flickr users seem to be totally inactive. These users do not use any of the public features of the site and have no public photos on the site.
One of the more interesting sections of the study deals with the “Flickr Star System.” Here the study concluded that, in part, social activity played a large role in how stars rise on Flickr. In terms of reciprocity and attention on Flickr, the study seemed to suggest that if you want popularity on Flickr the three most important things to do are (in this order), comment on other’s photos, fave other’s photos, and participate in groups.
The study also concluded that an “editorial ecosystem” also exists around Flickr where blogs, groups, user made algorithms (with the Flickr API), etc. promote the most popular or what the study referred to as the “creme de la creme” of Flickr.
“So making oneself visible by posting a lot of comments, and a
lot of photos into groups, is one of the keys to success on Flickr.
Fame and recognition can also be earned or maintained in the
editorial ecosystem developed around Flickr: a large variety of
blogs, groups, user-made algorithms, work at extracting the
crème de la crème of Flickr, providing selection of photos,
interviews with Flickr artists, thematic selections, etc. In return,
stardom on Flickr leads the elected users to intensify their
practice. For some users, Flickr fame is converted into real-life
recognition and benefits, like publications in magazines,
exhibition, and professional opportunities.”
There are lots of other interesting facts in this study to sink your teeth into.
You can download the study and read it for yourself here.
Related post: Top 10 Tips for Getting Attention on Flickr.