Welcome to Flickr Marissa Mayer!

Welcome to Flickr Marissa Mayer

[Update: The Marissa Mayer account is now down off of Flickr and it shows that this user is no longer active. It could be that somebody was impersonating her. Impersonation is against the Flickr rules and can result in you having your account deleted. I haven’t heard back definitively yet from Flickr one way or the other whether or not this was a legitimate Marissa Mayer Flickr account].

Update #2: This would appear to be the first official photo of Flickr Staff with new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

Woah! Welcome to Flickr Marissa Mayer!

Pretty much ever since the day Marissa Mayer joined Yahoo as CEO I’ve been doing a search for her name as a member of Flickr. I’ve been heavily invested both in terms of personal energy and emotion in Flickr as a place to showcase my photography on the web and have been critical over the years of how Yahoo executive leadership has handled the site.

More recently I watched as Mayer posted her personal photography on Instagram as Yahoo’s new CEO and felt that as the new leader of Flickr that she should post her work to Flickr instead. It’s not that you shouldn’t be trying outside products as a CEO, but it’s also important for perception that you support your own products as well — dogfooding and all that. Mayer’s new Flickr account sends a powerful and positive message both to Flickr’s staff as well as to Flickr’s users.

I’ve written several open letters to Yahoo CEOs criticizing them for not understanding the potential that Flickr is and can be. On a more personal level I’ve criticized them for not even bothering to set up a Flickr account for themselves. Everybody has photos to share, even CEOs. Neither of Mayer’s predecessors, Scott Thompson or Carol Bartz ever set up a Flickr account that I was aware of — at least one that was viewable from public search — although someone did set up a joke Carol Bartz account.

So I was pleasantly surprised today that when I did my usual search for Marissa Mayer on Flickr and up popped her brand spanking new Flickr account. As an added bonus, when I went to her first photo in her stream I found that I was both the first person to view the photo and the first person to fave the photo (see screenshot above). 🙂 I’m assuming that this is really her account and not some fake account that someone set up — and if it is her new account, in my book this is very positive for Flickr.

Over the past few Yahoo administrations Flickr has been shrinking. They endured layoffs and a lot of criticism on the web for failing to innovate. Now the ship seems to be turning around. Instead of laying people off, Flickr is in fact *hiring*. Not only are they hiring, they are staffing up big time. Look at all of these jobs that they have open right now — everything from frontend engineers to community managers.

Although I don’t know his source, my good friend Robert Scoble posted today that he’s heard that Mayer had *doubled* the size of Flickr’s staff in the past week! Woah! If this is true, this is significant and it means that Mayer clearly sees the value of social in Flickr and the importance of photography to the social web going forward.

Over the past year I’ve gotten to know Flickr’s new Product Chief Markus Spiering a little better. I’ve been impressed with his commitment and desire to improving Flickr. Earlier this year he penned a blog post on the Flickr blog promising us innovation in the coming year and to date has pushed some impressive updates to the site.

The biggest improvement in my opinion under Spiering’s tenure is the new justified layout that Flickr has shipped. This new layout allows you to view group photos, your contacts’ photos and your and others’ favorites in a much more elegant mosaic layout. It allows you to easily hover over each photo to favorite it if you want to — wonderful social lubrication. I suspect that this awesome new layout will come to other areas of the site in the future. I’m particularly excited about the possibility of the new justified layout coming to the sets view. Despite competition from Google+, Facebook and Instagram, Flickr still remains one of the most robust places online to organize your photos and sets/collections are the cornerstone of this ability. I’ve got over 1,700 sets now on Flickr and I’d LOVE to view them in the justified view.

What else has Flickr done so far this year? They added new liquid photos. If you haven’t viewed a Flickr photo on a 27 inch display yet, go do it now. It looks so great when photos auto expand to bigger versions on bigger displays.

Flickr’s also increased their maximum photo size this year to 50MB from 20MB previously (for Pro accounts). Both Facebook and Google+ downsize your photos. This is especially more noticeable now on the new Apple retina displays. Photos look much better on Flickr than Google+ and Facebook because Flickr uses higher resolution originals than Facebook or Google+. Along with the new larger size limits Flickr shipped a strong new uploading tool as well.

Flickr also did an important deal with Pinterest that ensured that Flickr photos would receive proper attribution on the popular scrapbooking site and links driving valuable traffic back to Flickr user’s streams. They also ran a serious of photowalks and set up a new Meetup site dedicated to Flickr photowalks.

Flickr still has a lot of work to do — mobile is a mess, groups need a lot of work still — but with executive support, a bigger team, strong leadership and positive forward momentum, these things can all be done.

I’ve reached out to Flickr to confirm that this Marissa Mayer account is really hers. I’m hopeful that the answer comes back as yes, and look forward to seeing the great things that she will continue to do to improve the site under her tenure.

Welcome to Flickr Ms. Mayer!

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  1. Neil Howard says:

    Great article Thomas!
    It really is good to see the positive come to the front, isn’t it?
    I have been using Flickr as a place to “park” my images for ages now (not really participating in the social side), and if it wasn’t for Getty, I would probably have give it away about 2 years ago.
    Hopefully it is turning around again 🙂

  2. david says:

    This is a great step although shame the profile is written in the 3rd person so it isn’t actively her account?

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    david, I suspect that someone on her staff set up the account with that bio but with her blessing. That’s a start. I hope she starts using it personally. She does have a baby coming and everybody knows baby photos do really well on Flickr. 😉 Time will tell, but any presence at all is better than no presence.

  4. Cirkus says:

    As always, a good read. I continue to have faith in Flickr as you do!

    When is Marissa going to ask you to HQ for a chat? Hee. She should. I am waiting for that…

  5. I think it was fake account. now it says: “This member is no longer active on Flickr.”

  6. Todd says:

    Which is better Flickr or shutterfly, I’m taking my photos online and as a beginner wonder which is best, thanks

  7. RG says:

    Fake? Coincidence? she has the exactly the same profile picture and description on crunchbase. At least someone could have updated her bio (in third person, really?) before blindly pasting it there. Wasn’t she working for Google for 13 years and not 12?

  8. Good news. Why didn’t you leave a comment on her post?

  9. martin says:

    This member is no longer active on Flickr. 🙁

  10. Cory O'Brien says:

    And… it’s down. Guess it was too good to be true. (Or they let the cat out of the bag too early.)

  11. Jbhaber says:

    > everybody know that baby photos do really well on Flickr.

    I don’t think so. I find it a difficult to navigate site for someone new to it. I think there are much better sites for sharing family photos with family and friends. I use Phanfare. It offers a much better user experience for that purpose.