Five Reasons Why Google is Winning the War in Photosharing

“What is more pleasant than the benevolent notice other people take of us, what is more agreeable than their compassionate empathy? What inspires us more than addressing ears flushed with excitement, what captivates us more than exercising our own power of fascination? What is more thrilling than an entire hall of expectant eyes, what more overwhelming than applause surging up to us? What, lastly, equals the enchantment sparked off by the delighted attention we receive from those who profoundly delight ourselves? – Attention by other people is the most irresistible of drugs. To receive it outshines receiving any other kind of income. This is why glory surpasses power and why wealth is overshadowed by prominence.”

Caterina Fake, 2005

Yesterday my good friend Trey Ratcliff did an experiment. Granted, this is *TOTALLY* and *COMPLETELY* unscientific. His experiment was he posted one of his photos on two sites — the identical photo at the identical time. The two sites were Google+ and Facebook. Trey was trying to measure the difference in engagement between the two. Below are his results:

Results
Google+: 1193 +1s, 66 shares, 367 comments.
Facebook: 89 likes, ? shares, 40 comments.

Trey has more to say and mentions some interesting variables, but suffice it to say that Google+ is the *hottest* thing in the photo sharing space right now. I’ve been thinking alot about that and wanted to articulate some of the things that Google is doing right and why I feel that this is the case.

Firedancer
Firedancer, Barcelona Spain, by Trey Ratcliff

1. Images look great. Right out of the gate Google+ has gotten image presentation down. We get gorgeous, luscious, huge, oversized thumbnails in our streams that when you click on them almost instantaneously burst into the best looking lightbox on the web right now. Facebook by contrast gives us these tiny, stingy, little etsy weenie, microscopic thumbnails that when you click through present you with a smaller cluttered lightbox complete with all kinds of distracting material including advertisements. Flickr’s lightbox is ok, but its clunky and slow and when I click off of it it doesn’t always return me back to the photo page.

On Facebook photographs seem tolerated. On Google+ photographs seem celebrated. Our world is so visual. Google gets this in a big way.

Ferry
Ferry Building, San Francisco, by Chris Chabot

2. The Google Photos team, well hell, everyone at Google is really excited, enthused and involved in the Google+ product — all day long! I’ve never quite seen anything like this. Literally *hundreds* of Googlers interacting like an army with all of us users. I think I know two people total who work for facebook and I haven’t spoken with either of them in years. I’ve traded some fun barbs with Daniel Bogan over at Flickr on Twitter, but my contact with anyone at Flickr ended years ago. (did I mention I’m permanently banned from the forum where there staff hangs out?)

I don’t think that this is an accident. I think Google is experimenting with one of the boldest experiments in customer service and evangelism of all time. I think it’s a culture thing and I think it comes from the top. In fact I know it comes from the top. Google has empowered their employees to become their PR machine.

We’re doing a great photowalk next Thursday at UC Berkeley — SIGN UP HERE. Who’s organizing it with me? Chris Chabot who works for Google — a super guy who I’ve gotten to know and consider a friend. When was the last time you saw someone from Flickr or Facebook leading a photowalk? Googlers were everywhere at Trey’s photowalk at Stanford a few weeks back.

I have never seen any company empower its employees to be so free and open with PR and communication channels. I totally credit all the individual Googlers who are making this happen, but I also credit leadership at Google for allowing this sort of a culture to thrive and flourish. It’s the exact opposite of the top secret controlled environment message ala Steve Jobs and Apple.

If
If My Sky Should Fall, by Lotus Carroll

3. The engagement just can’t be beat. As Trey’s experiment shows, you just get so much more engagement on every post at Google+ over what you post on Facebook and Flickr. Not just a little bit more — ALOT more.

I’ve heard some people who claim that they still get more on Facebook and Flickr, but they haven’t really engaged on Google+ yet. Everybody I’ve known who has actively engaged on Google+ agrees that you just get so much more engagement.

Yesterday in Trey’s post, Byron DL wrote “Thomas Hawk pronounced the death of Flickr. Millions of people just share photos to share them and don’t measure the stats or use them to get more followers are friends and influence. These numbers are like comparing the drawer full of polaroids at my mom’s house to another’s moms house.”

Byron may have a point. Maybe alot of the people on Flickr don’t really care about engagement (faves, comments, views, etc.), maybe photos are just a drawer full of polaroids after all — but I think he’s wrong. Even if people don’t want to admit it, they all do.

Caterina’s quote at the top of this article was the foundation of what made Flickr the success that it was.

We all want attention. Sure we want a place to just share photos with our friends and family — but the attention is the real drug, even if we’re too proud to admit it.

Before Flickr people *already* had a site to share photos with friends and family. It was called Webshots. Hell, CNET paid twice for Webshots what Yahoo paid for Flickr. Webshots is still a fine place to share photos with friends and family — the greeting card people bought the company I think. Likewise Flickr will be an ok place to share photos with friends and family too, but all the real action in photo sharing will move over to Google.

Some
Some of My Favorites, by helen sotiriadis

4. The culture is positive. I’ve been super active in Flickr groups pretty much ever since Flickr started them. I’ve administered many. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve spent thousands of hours literally in Flickr Groups.

Yesterday I quit the last Flickr group I was active in administering. A group with about 6,000 members. Why? Mostly because of the negativity.

Flickr groups are overrun by anonymous trolls and griefers. The IRL personal harassment and stalking that has come out of Flickr groups has convinced me to stay away from them. Even the people who aren’t harassing other people are frequently petty, negative haters — so much back bitting, pessimism, jealously and stupid crap.

By contrast the culture the culture at Google+ is incredibly positive. People helping each other. Talking about photography and cameras and lenses again. It’s like night and day. In part I think this culture is framed by Googlers setting such a positive tone to the network as it’s been rolled out. But I think there are design elements too.

It seems harder for people to set up 20 troll accounts and attack. If someone misbehaves they are quickly removed from circles and marginalized. I don’t know how it’s happening exactly, but it’s a nice change.

Robert Scoble says that Google+ is working because Google has focused on the interest graph and has allowed strangers to meet around common interests. I definitely see that with photography. I’ve met so many amazing new friends in the past six weeks on Google+ around photography that I never knew from any other social network. There’s wayyyy too many to name, and I love you all, but here’s talking about you Kelli Seeger Kim. ;)

Wave
Wave Photos, by Eric Nelson

5. Photographers promoting other photographers. One of the most exciting things I see on Google+ is photographers promoting other photographers. I love it when this happens. I get to find somebody new and super cool to follow and it just makes me feel good inside.

I promote a lot of other people too. I love seeing great photographers get recognized. I can’t recognize everyone for sure, and hope I don’t offend people who I don’t recognize, but I love highlighting great work sometimes when I see it and it seems like alot of other people on Google+ do as well.

I’ve blogged a ton about Google+ over the past few weeks. Some people have said that they are tired of it — but this is what I do. I’m like a hungry seagull — when I’ve found the greatest dinner on the beach I have to squawk and squawk and squawk to get all the other seagulls to see what a great thing I’ve found. I evangelized Flickr just as hard back in the day (back when they seemed to care) and have been a big proponent of Twitter, Friendfeed, Google Buzz, and other interesting social media tech as it’s emerged.

I’ve never seen anything quite like Google+. Everyday it seems like another great Flickr/Facebook account is moving over and it makes me happy seeing more and more of my favorite friends hoping on board.

If you want to follow my work on Google+ you can circle me here. :)

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38 comments on “Five Reasons Why Google is Winning the War in Photosharing
  1. Tondeleir Josefien says:

    I would love to join but access is limited I see… Have to be patient? Or is there a way to get in? Thanks!

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    Tondeleir, it’s still beta invite only, but invitations run pretty free. I’ve already gone through my 150 invites, but if other people want to post a link to their invite url in the comments so that folks like Tondeleir can join that would be great. :)

  3. Christian says:

    Hey, Tondeleir. Send me your email and I will invite you to Google+. There is plenty of space for everyone here. =)

    -Christian

  4. Have to say that I have not had Trey’s experience with more engagement on G+. My Facebook posts get far more attention than anything I’ve posted on G+ thus far.

    I love that Google respects photos, believe me. I’d only post links on Facebook rather than photos if links got nearly as much attention as photo posts do. Facebook really needs to up their game on photos if they care because seeing your photos compressed into oblivion is painful, never mind the lightbox that literally no one seems to like – not just photographers. That alone makes me hopeful for it continuing to grow.

    That said I don’t really see the point in pitting the two tools against each other as if it’s a pay per view death match. They are different, the audiences are different as well. I’m happy to participate in both as long as there’s a receptive audience.

  5. Stefan says:

    Hi Toneleir, I have plenty of invites left. Just contact me and I’ll set you up with an invite: https://plus.google.com/109619063322910077914

  6. Hub says:

    Yet Google+ bully their users because of their name, disabling their account, even when they use their real name.

    Like Flickr bully some people by banning from explore or from the help forums because they criticize ; or simply by nuking their account.

    It looks like Google+ community management took a page from the Flickr/Yahoo! handbook.

  7. Amen, TH. The way G+ is set up is pretty much perfect for photographers, and for viewers of photography. I don’t have to click all over the place to see what’s new because it’s all right there in one place. And the way albums display… gorgeous.

    I’m getting way more feedback on my photos than I have anywhere else, and it’s way easier to give others feedback. It’s just so dang easy. If anyone from Google is reading this… thank you. You rock.

    Now if we could just have automated photo albums based on keywords, I’ll be completely happy. :)

  8. Come on Tony, make your own site Google+ worthy. Ad those +1s.

  9. Chris says:

    some good points, but I have to say my experience with flickr groups has been entirely different. In fact they are one of only two reasons I am still on flickr. The other being the people I have already met who haven’t yet moved across. Some probably never will, and at some point I’ll have to make a decision, but if G+ introduces the groups feature, I’m pretty sure I’d be moving across properly fairly swiftly.

    May I ask, what do you think of the idea of flickr style groups on G+?

  10. Anna Nguyen says:

    Great article thomas!! On Google+ I feel like it was when Flickr was before Yahoo!. It’s fantastic the community. That’s what is lacking a bit over at 500px that Google+ totally nailed. The community is fantastic! Thank you so much for blasting me that one day. I still have to circle back tons of photographers and creative people.

    P.S. I wanted to +1 this post but you dont have it. I think it needs to be added! :)

  11. Rich says:

    Google+ is the new Hotness today. Today people care about it. Today the number of people are limited to the people who are really engaged. What will it be like in three months, six months, a year?

    I know people are positive now, but what happens when they get bored. What happens when the trolls get here?

    Google+ has been around for a few months. They are winning the battle. It has a log way to win the War.

  12. If anyone wants to get on Google+ then use this link: https://plus.google.com/_/notifications/ngemlink?path=%2F%3Fgpinv%3Dko5iz1FQK-o%3AzuSzSH0GgZA I have 145 invites still to give away. :-)

  13. I’d be happy to share an invite, better than them just sitting there :) I promoted Google + for what seemed an age on Facebook (before I closed my account) and I think I only got about 5 people interested out of over 1500. Crazy.

    I would have closed my Flickr account too, if I hadn’t paid for it.

    LOL all I need now is a badge and Tshirt and I’m “Google to go” :)

    Anyhoo here’s the link, please come and say hello :O)) https://plus.google.com/_/notifications/ngemlink?path=%2F%3Fgpinv%3D6aq_9Zi0llI%3AU3FYuR4UFyc

    All my best Heidi ~ on Google + in here https://plus.google.com/114045800510530461940/posts

    p.s. EVERYTHING Thomas has written about above is absolutely true. It’s all so exciting and I for one and really glad to be a part of it.

    See you there !

  14. Mike Keller says:

    Nice post, Thomas. It should be emphasized that it’s not just photos that are big on G+. All the visual artists are coming out of the woodwork, and thanks to the way Circles work, it’s easy for a bunch of painters to find and circle each other, and for people who enjoy looking at painting to circle people whose work they want to follow.

    And it’s not just visual arts! As I read and follow people (or review and choose not to follow), I am seeing craftspeople – weavers, potters – and writers – and video and filmmakers – and many other creative groups joining G+. And many other interest groups are forming up: technologists, journalists, homebrewers, Formula 1 racing fans, and much more. And the cool thing is you DON’T HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE. You don’t have to create a group and then remember to check the group; all you do is filter your stream to see that circle.

    It really works very well. The one thing you won’t find is your real life friends, unless they have the same interests as you.

  15. I’m pretty confident that I count as someone who has engaged myself on Google+ and I have loved every minute of it. For me the uniqueness is that I’m engaging with a real person and not an avatar. Even better, many legends of photography share and engage on G+ that have not on Flickr ever or are at least invisible if they are. And maybe best of all, Google+ still has that friendly new internet community feel that Flickr did when it was young.

    On the other hand, I may be an exception due to my huge presence on Flickr but on average I get at least as much if not more engagement on Flickr. For e.g. I had some 250,000+ views during Perseid meteor peak on Flickr but Google+ was only a fraction of that even with Brian Rose naming one of my photos as POTD. To be fair, I was linked by NASA and they linked Flickr. But would NASA find me on Google+? Without a proper image search function like Flickr has (this surely has to be coming with Google at the helm, hah) I doubt it. Once Google+ gets image search on par with or better than Flickr it will be huge for exposure. I get a TON of traffic on my Flickr stream from image searches.

    I’m absolutely a huge fan of the service G+ offers and have seen some Flickr contacts leave for it but I’m not leaving Flickr anytime soon. In my online world there is still plenty of room for both services (and 500px!). In the end, the key for me becomes that Google+ is providing a connection and social networking opportunity light years better than Facebook ever was for my needs. I barely engaged on Facebook with my photography as I was so soured by what I saw, but G+ is a photographer’s paradise in comparison.

  16. Oh and I too love the promotion of photographer on G+, I try and promote at least a few a week. Glad to see you do so too!

  17. Bob says:

    What? And 500px is chopped liver already!?

  18. Void says:

    It seems to me like if you want to evaluate the service, you need to look at people who are not already well known. If people are actively searching for your work, they will find it. The real measure of a network should be about discovery and the introduction of new artists. Not the continuation of per-existing followers.

    I personally have been trying to get noticed on Google+ since the service started, but I never seem to get more than one or two comments or +1’s on anything I do. So for me, in terms of photography, the service is no more or less successful than facebook. More needs to be done to promote the unknown artists before the majority of us will really care.

  19. Great article. I’m new at Google+ (feel free to pass by :-) at https://plus.google.com/104330156508504717257/) and I have been really impressed by it. It’s a clean design with a mostly intuitive UI and I do like how improvements keep rolling out. I can’t wait for them to have a great iPad app! I’ve never considered Facebook as a photo platform but have been and remain a Flickr member. I’ll keep posting there for now but I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of my posts declines. I’m sick and tired of their Explore feature and the negative behaviours it generates amongst some members.

  20. Mike Keller says:

    Void, I agree with you on that point. One way that Google+ got a kickstart was inviting some “stars” and then folks promoted them as “people to follow.” That was a good thing, because I selected a few, engaged in conversations, looked at others who posted interested comments in those threads. If someone looked interesting, I checked their other posts, their About, and decided to follow them. Thus I’ve built a small (I have only circled 231 people) but interesting group to follow, and I continue to do that. And to be honest, only one of the “stars” that I followed had I ever heard of (and he wasn’t a photographer).

    But that star power thing is continuing, and you have people building and posting lists of “people you should follow” (photographers and others, and even TYPES of photographers). This is helpful to newbies, but it’s rather off-putting to those of us that have been on awhile. I haven’t been posting tons of photos because I’m picky (and I keep re-working stuff before I post it) and also because I see others who post almost continuously and it becomes overwhelming and sometimes covers up people I’d like to see more of. Maybe we need a list of “unknowns” on Google+. :)

  21. R. Corrino says:

    I really hope photographers, techies and the technorati STOP exalting the values of Google+ for a while until this is an open community where anyone can join. It is really off putting for people like me who would like to “join the party” but can’t.

    It is sour grapes; yes. Jealousy; sure. Annoyance; most definitely.

  22. Mike Keller says:

    You want an invite? I haven’t used any of these yet.
    https://plus.google.com/_/notifications/ngemlink?path=%2F%3Fgpinv%3Du3RtfTv_2Sw%3AFoBAbpBKizk
    Please join and then look us all up.

  23. Citysnaps says:

    Eh…

    I passed on google+. Like I eventually did with flickr after a couple years (though I still have a few photos there as placeholders). Just another site to dump a bunch-o-pix, that in the end all look collectively fungible, and snag some superficial pats on the back. Much better hanging out in real bars with real photographers and talk about photos, projects, stories, etc…

  24. soniCaH says:

    I’d love to see Google+ become more popular outside the US. In Belgium, where I love, for example, there’s almost nobody walking over to G+. From my 700 _friends_ on Facebook, only 20 have a Google+ account activated, and only 5 of them actually use it (and still only check it once every other day)

  25. John E Adams says:

    Some great point Thomas! Although as mentioned in my last visit here, the level of activity for the average unknown imager like myself is less than the other sites – the stats you and Trey are experiencing are because you both had already built a huge following! On that point however, relative to the design and wonderful functionality they have built into it folks with big followings will absolutely do better in G+ than any other social/photo site around. I am still a big fan however because of the other user points you highlighted. Hangouts and the level of interaction from imagers all of the globe is off the scale, and being able to share others work are the two big ones for me right now. Something else I noticed, on flickr if I added a comment to a Thomas Hawk post he never gave a visit – over here he has – thanks! I know you have a big following but of the big dogs G+ (that I do not know) you are the only one to take the time to stop by -;0)

    I am heading out to a solo Photowalk on the beach to shoot Irene as she heads north, was going to post it on G+ but in addition to not wanting a huge crowd getting in the way I am probably the only G+ imager for a 100 miles over here !

  26. MARIO AGUILA says:

    What about the censorship in Google+? I think flickr is the best option in this matter, specially if you want to share some artistic nudes.

  27. My G+ experience is similar to Thomas’

    I’ve had a photo blog since ’99 before the word “blog” existed (as far as I know). I wanted to sell fine art photography on the web, but I wanted to have a way of interacting with viewers, and also I couldn’t produce a photo a day, so I needed a way to touch base with people and let them know that there was a “real person” behind the experiment.

    The blog became very popular, but it was never very good at back and forth interactions. Eventually I tried Facebook and Twitter and put a lot of time into FB. But I could never get any real traction.

    I got an invitation for G+ and haven’t looked back. Whereas it took about six months to get 90 people to “follow” me on my fan page, and about that amount of time to become “friends” with 700 or so people, I am on G+ for about 6 weeks (I’m guessing, but not much longer than that) and am in about 7000 circles at this point.

    But more than that – from moment one – it seemed like it was geared for photographers. All the things about Facebook that annoyed me, were gone – and the things that also bothered me about Twitter – as a way of displaying and talking about photography – gone. And I took to G+ like the proverbial fish to water.

    I should also mention that yes – I still have an account at Flickr – but don’t use it. Over the years Flickr and most photo sites became places for backbiting and just plain idiocy. I couldn’t stand it.

    G+ (and I wonder whether it will be able to stay this way) seems to be composed of *real* people who are quite happy to share their thoughts and photos and so far it’s been an extremely positive experience for me.

    I know that G+ wasn’t meant to replace a photo blog – but it comes very close – and with a few minor changes (being able to tag or categorize) posts and to find them (uhm Google search?) in a natural way – will make me wonder about my blog which has suffered greatly since I popped over to G+.

    And don’t get me wrong – I am not by nature a fan boy – but I have come off as a G+ evangelist to my friends. I just like it that much. I am trying to move my blog followers over to G+. There’s a sticky post at the top with a link to my albums, and a request to email me for an invite.

    The thing that some people complain about – i.e. that you need to use a *real name* is a big plus. From someone that has been running a blog for 12 years – I can only say that people are much more careful with how they behave when they aren’t hiding behind a nom-de-web. And frankly, when I add someone to a circle – I want to know who they are.

    So – carry on G +. You are doing an outstanding job – and your enthusiasm – esp. in the area I’m interested in – photography – consistently shines through.

    Here is my G+ address (I could use a third party and make it neater) but for now this is it:
    https://plus.google.com/116247667398036716276/posts

  28. Chris Combe says:

    I have some invites left if anyone wants one…

    https://plus.google.com/i/GjIUjvTNKPk:CABFvp5ILos

    Feel free to add me to your circles as well. https://plus.google.com/113049683512169269181/

  29. [I work at Flickr as the Sr. Community Manager]

    “Yesterday I quit the last Flickr group I was active in administering. A group with about 6,000 members. Why? Mostly because of the negativity.

    Flickr groups are overrun by anonymous trolls and griefers. The IRL personal harassment and stalking that has come out of Flickr groups has convinced me to stay away from them. Even the people who aren’t harassing other people are frequently petty, negative haters — so much back bitting, pessimism, jealously and stupid crap.”

    This is simply not true of the vast majority of Flickr groups and you can easily do a search for whatever topic you are interested in and find lots of great groups.

    It is unfair to characterize other groups as negative when it is just that, in the uncensored groups like the one you are referring to and have encouraged over the years, the whole point is to say whatever you want and push the limit even if it hurts someones feelings. Naturally some negativity happens in these groups. The Flickr Community Guidelines ( http://www.flickr.com/guidelines.gne ) specifically asks people to “be polite and respectful in [their] interactions with other members.” Nevertheless, the negative behavior in a small handful of uncensored groups has been allowed (except for when it was blatantly in violation of the CGs) because we want to be flexible when possible and everyone in there understands it is it’s own sandbox.

    Often it is true that groups or forums anywhere on the Internet go negative when admins don’t use some level of moderation and encourage a free for all. This happens rarely on Flickr groups because the community is so engaged (in groups even more than most parts of the site) and we have the Community Guidelines to help keep Flickr a place we all can enjoy. It is disingenuous to be one of the biggest advocates of uncensored groups, encourage the free for all, and now change your opinion and leave the group without a word to the members that you administered ( http://www.flickr.com/groups/hbu/discuss/72157627497521320/ ) and say “Flickr groups are overrun by anonymous trolls and griefers.”

    There are hundreds of thousands of Flickr group admins that have put in thousands of hours to create great discussions and photo pools. To say that most Flickr groups are negative is unfair to them and untrue.

  30. Thomas Hawk says:

    Zack, good of you to show up for the conversation. That’s a new thing for Flickr and I think positive.

    Although it’s interesting to note that you are allowed to post on my blog while at the same time you’ve personally kept me locked out of the Flickr Help Forum for years now — which just seems petty and personal at this point.

    While certainly the “uncensored” flickr groups are the worst of it on flickr, they are by no means the only place where negativity takes place in Flickr groups. I think it’s fair to say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single group on Flickr which did not include anonymous trolls, some get squashed, some do not.

    The group that you linked to that I administered btw, is not an “uncensored” group on flickr. It was when it started out — but that changed. We even banned someone who seemed particularly vicious on Flickr in terms of IRL harassment, who still flourishes on Flickr in other groups today under your watch, I’m sure after being reported many, many times.

    There are lots of groups on flickr where I’ve seen negativity — it’s not really related to only uncensored groups. DeleteMe (the original, not the uncensored, which does moderate), Flickr Central, HCSP. My experience in general is that the level of negativity on Flickr is higher than Google+. I certainly can accept though that others may have a totally different experience than I have, but this is my blog and all I can really share are my own personal experiences.

    I think one of the biggest problems is that people can simply create 20 anonymous troll accounts and follow you from group to group freely and without intervention by flickr. It doesn’t matter if the group is uncensored or not uncensored. The most vile harassers are almost always brand new anonymous accounts less than 2 days old. They get nuked and then they just come right back over and over and over again.

    In terms of leaving Hot Box “without a word to the members that you administered,” I think people pretty much understand why I left. I’ve been pretty vocal about it on my blog and other places.

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/hbu/discuss/72157627391818547/#comment72157627544263348

    But when you get people who start phoning up your unrelated IRL employer and harassing people at your office that have nothing to do with flickr at all, opening up yet another thread to explain more of “why you’re leaving” doesn’t always make the most sense.

    What’s the point of engaging in *any* flickr group at all if trolls are just going to follow you around and make your life miserable?

    Maybe Flickr needs to rethink how blocking on Flickr works. It would be nice if you could block someone and then Flickr would automatically hide all of their posts for you in every group on flickr. Sort of like how friendfeed lets you make someone entirely invisible and wipe them off the planet of your experience in every way possible. Because conversations happen on individual member threads rather than groups on G+, I feel like I’ve got a lot more control over how to block these people out of my experience on G+ than I do in Flickr Groups.

  31. “I think it’s fair to say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single group on Flickr which did not include anonymous trolls, some get squashed, some do not.”

    Yes trolls can happen on the Internet. That’s why we give admins the tools to deal with them.

    “The group that you linked to that I administered btw, is not an “uncensored” group on flickr. It was when it started out — but that changed.”

    Changing the name does not change the culture that was fostered there.

    “There are lots of groups on flickr where I’ve seen negativity — it’s not really related to only uncensored groups. DeleteMe (the original, not the uncensored, which does moderate), Flickr Central, HCSP. My experience in general is that the level of negativity on Flickr is higher than Google+. “

    I’m not denying that there is negativity. But having it be there is different than groups being “overrun by anonymous trolls and griefers.” The groups you note are all large groups. Generally, the larger a group, the more chances of disagreements, as with any group or forum on the internet (or IRL). As the groups on G+ grow and have more history, some disagreements and maybe retaliation will occur and I’m sure the good people at Google will make sure that it can be handled properly. This is actually something I heard Jimmy Wales talk about a few years ago. He talked about how, as the Wikipedia for each language grew, the wikipedians usually had to ban their first member at about the same point in the growth of that languages wiki. It was hard on the community to have to make that call but decided the moderation was needed to keep integrity of what they were trying to build together.

    “But when you get people who start phoning up your unrelated IRL employer and harassing people at your office that have nothing to do with flickr at all, opening up yet another thread to explain more of “why you’re leaving” doesn’t always make the most sense.

    What’s the point of engaging in *any* flickr group at all if trolls are just going to follow you around and make your life miserable? “

    You are a popular photographer and blogger who takes a stand on censorship, photographers rights and other issues. It seems like a bit of a stretch to blame this on Flickr groups especially if these calls “have nothing to do with flickr at all.” This may more likely be just a side effect of having a public persona who takes a stand on issues that are important to you.

    “Maybe Flickr needs to rethink how blocking on Flickr works. It would be nice if you could block someone and then Flickr would automatically hide all of their posts for you in every group on flickr.”

    An interesting idea, and I’ll bring it up with the team. :)

  32. Thomas Hawk says:

    You are a popular photographer and blogger who takes a stand on censorship, photographers rights and other issues. It seems like a bit of a stretch to blame this on Flickr groups especially if these calls “have nothing to do with flickr at all.”

    Except that when identified individuals specifically in flickr groups, post on flickr, on their blog, and other places threatening IRL harassment and then it happens, not just for me, but for other members of a flickr group, well, then you begin to sort of feel like maybe Flickr groups aren’t the best place for you to hang out anymore.

    I’m not denying that there is negativity. But having it be there is different than groups being “overrun by anonymous trolls and griefers.”

    This has been my experience and this is why I no longer spend time in flickr groups. I’ve spent thousands of hours in flickr groups for years and now I no longer do. Everybody’s mileage may vary.

    Although it’s interesting to note that you are allowed to post on my blog while at the same time you’ve personally kept me locked out of the Flickr Help Forum for years now — which just seems petty and personal at this point.

    I noticed you didn’t address this point. What’s the point of keeping me perpetually banned from the Flickr Help Forum?

  33. Clearlight says:

    Yeah, Zack, please share with us the reasoning behind banning Hawk from the flickr help forum.

    While you’re at it you could also share with us the reasoning, other than petty and tyrannical, behind blocking his images from Explorer.

  34. Clearlight says:

    On another note… Stop the wars!

  35. Ben says:

    I feel like google is getting more interactions beccause there is less noise going around. If I go to my Google plus feed right now, there is probably a week or two worth of updates. If I check my facebook feed I think the oldest update is maybe an hour ago.

    Combine that with the fact that people generally only post their best work on a new site and you’ve got an explanation. Look at 500px vs. Flickr. Same thing. On 500px there are fewer photogs, meaning it’s important to post your best work. On Flickr there are so many photogs you have to post hundred to even hope to get noticed. In a sea of crap the good gets marginalized. In a small pond though it stands out. That is why these new sites will be popular for photo sharing.

    I feel like as they become more main stream people will result to the “post a bunch to get noticed” tactic and the flood of mediocre pictures will wipe away this. I could be wrong though. I guess the point is, enjoy it while it lasts?