Archive for the ‘Flickr’ Category

Why I Don’t Support “Black Day” at Flickr

Why I Don't Support Flickr Black Day

If you notice something different about photos on Flickr today, it might just be “black day.” Over the past week or so, hundreds (maybe thousands) of users who dislike an impending photo page change (and in many cases, redesign changes from earlier this year) have organized and are protesting by posting black protest images to their Flickr accounts today, December 8th.

Here is why I don’t support this protest.

Flickr users have protested quite literally *everything* that has ever been changed to the site. Every change over the past decade or so that Flickr has been around, has been meet by strong resistance. When Flickr added video, when Flickr required Yahoo accounts to sign in, and certainly design changes most of all, all of these and so many more have been met with various protest movements.

The “who moved my cheese” crowd is strong with Flickr.

At the same time, in order to improve and grow Flickr *MUST* change. Flickr must evolve. Flickr must improve.

Whether or not Flickr gets their design changes right or wrong, they simply must move forward and compete with other photo sharing sites today. Hopefully they get it more right than wrong, but I simply can’t support something that’s primary premise is based on not changing for the sake of, well, not changing. That is how things die. As good as Flickr is, it can always improve, and if the site is paralyzed by the “no change” crowd it cannot innovate and grow.

Competition in the photo sharing space is stronger than it ever has been. Flickr, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, SmugMug, Behance, 500px and more are all competing for our photos and our attention. If Flickr is going to survive as a contender in this space, they must produce a more compelling experience than they have in the past.

Many of those currently protesting design changes on Flickr are loud, very loud — and some are some of the rudest, vulgar and offensive people I’ve ever come across online. They way they trashed Marissa Mayer and other Flickr employees’ *personal* photostreams after the last redesign was way over the line.

Even as a large protest group, however, this group most certainly does NOT represent the majority opinion on Flickr. Most (the silent majority) Flickr users couldn’t be bothered to get worked up about anything and quite simply don’t care enough about whatever happens at some photo sharing site to have much of an opinion one way or the other.

For this silent majority, the best tool Flickr has is data. The best thing that they can do is watch how the majority use the site and react to changes based on their online usage patterns and actions. I suspect that recent design changes on Flickr have contributed to more users, more views, and more engagement — despite what a small, but vocal, minority might want you to believe.

Only Flickr has access to this data, but I suspect that they are quite happy with usage results (even just going by my own anecdotal increase in activity that I’ve seen on the site as changes have been rolled out this year).

Now, as far as the new photo page redesign goes, mostly I like it. I say mostly, because even as I’ve used the page (it’s in an optional opt in or out beta form right now), I usually end up turning it off and going back to the old page. It simply is missing too much functionality that I rely on and need to use Flickr at present.

For example, I need to be able to click on the faves button and see who has faved my photo. That is important (and pretty basic) social information that I want access to. At present you cannot do this with the new photo page (but it is planned per Flickr’s feedback page). Assuming Flickr gets all of the basic functionality right in the final product though, I like the design better in general.

I also like the redesign changes that Flickr implemented earlier this year. I think that the justified layout combined with infinite scroll is the fastest, most efficient, way to consume photos on the internet today. Both Google and Facebook use infinite scroll. While some people have claimed that Flickr is slower for them, it is not for me. Images load very quickly on a modern laptop with a broadband internet connection. I also don’t have bandwidth caps on my primary internet connections.

Flickr has never been faster and I’ve been able to see more images on Flickr this year than any year previous due to these efficiency improvements.

I think Flickr needs to change even more in fact — mostly around social. There is still so much that could be improved on Flickr from a social standpoint.

The primary role of a social network should be as a social lubricant. Flickr should be obsessed with social, much more than it feels that they are. How can Flickr create even more social interaction? How can Flickr turn online social interaction into offline social interaction? How can Flickr make it easier and easier to favorite and comment on photos? How can Flickr show me more photos that I like (and will interact with socially) and less photos that I do not like?

These are the questions Flickr should be asking as they innovate and improve, and, yes, change.

Why does Explore still exist as it does? It’s so broken. Why are power users blacklisted from Explore? Shouldn’t Flickr care about their power users?

Explore is boring to me because it is not customized to me. Flickr has so much data about me. Why aren’t they analyzing my data to provide me a better photo exploration tool? Flickr knows whose photos I favorite. Flickr knows what tags on photos I favorite (and with image recognition analysis in the future, even more).

Flickr knows the geolocational location of photos that I favorite. Why is Flickr wasting valuable Explore real estate by showing me photos with watermarks when I hate watermarks? Why is Flickr showing me images of overcooked HDR? Explore has so much potential to truly provide a compelling image discovery system and yet it still falls flat.

I hope more change is coming to Flickr, not less. 2013 was the most innovative year of Flickr since Yahoo purchased them. Hopefully 2014 will be every bit as good.

More comments on this at the original Flickr photo here and on Facebook here.

First Impressions on Flickr’s New Book Publishing Service

I Just Published My First Book

I just published my very first book.

I’ve been meaning to do a book forever and today I finally did it. Flickr launched their new book publishing service today and I wanted to try it out, so I created a 200 page book called America in Progress.

The book is comprised of 200 photos I hand selected from the almost 88,000 I’ve got published to Flickr. It cost me $137.94.

The basic charge for the new Flickr book is $34.95 for a 20 page book. Additional pages are 50 cents each with a 240 page maximum. In my case shipping was another $12.99. ($34.95 for the basic book + $90 for an extra 180 pages + $12.99 for shipping).

The Breakdown on What My New Book Costs
My book cost me about $138 for my 200 page book.

The book should arrive in the next 5 to 7 business days.

It took me about 2.5 hours to make the book. It’s a photo only book and the only text I was able to add was the title of the book — which is on the cover and on the spine. I didn’t see any way to change the font of the title so I went with what they offered by default.

The Breakdown on What My New Book Costs
My book should be here in 5 to 7 business days.

There were a lot of glitches when I built my book — which is to be expected when you try out a new service within the first hour of launch. The first book I tried to create sent me to a non-existent page when I tried to check out. The publishing page was also running very slowly for me at one point. It would take me about 45 seconds to add a new page to my book. My session crashed and when I refreshed the page it went faster. Fortunately Flickr auto-saves the progress on your book as you go, so I didn’t lose any work when this happened.

The Layout Tool For Flickr's New Book Service Was Super Easy to Use
Despite some glitches, Flickr’s layout tool for creating books was really easy to use.

I was also warned when I tried to check out that there were print quality alerts on some pages of my books, but I carefully checked every single page and didn’t see any alerts anywhere. It would be nice if you could click a link which would tell you what pages specifically Flickr was concerned with.

As far as book publishing goes, it was really easy to create the book. I could either pull from my Flickr photostream or from any of my sets. You just drag and drop the photos into a book publishing sort of layout and you can move pages around so that things go where you want them.

Because I have so many photos in my Flickrstream and so many sets in my Flickrstream, I found it difficult to find all of the photos that I wanted to use in the book. Most users won’t have 88,000 Flickr photos though, so it should be easier for them. It would be nice if Flickr also offered a third way to find photos to publish, search.

The book will be 11” x 8.5 and will be a hardcover. Flickr says it will be printed on “premium white proPhoto paper with a Lustre finish,” and will come with a dust jacket.

If you change your mind on buying the book after you create it and check out, you have an hour to cancel your order.

I will report back more when I actually get the book as to the quality of it compared to other self publishing group books I’ve been involved with. Books can only be delivered to the Continental U.S.

I think it’s smart for Flickr to get into the book publishing business (and their timing is pretty good with the Holiday season approaching). It’s a natural way for them to grow and make money. I suspect that today’s offering is only the beginning. I could see Flickr also offering a way for book publishers to sell their books as well in the future, like blurb offers.

For more feedback on this new book service from Flickr you can check out this thread in the Flickr Help Forum.

When I First Tried to Check Out Flickr Took Me to a Non-Existent Page
An error sent me to a weird non-existent page when I first tried to checkout and pay for my book — Flickr seemed to want to send me to giantsouthern’s photostream instead.

More from Fast Company here.

Update: here is the pdf file of my book that Flickr sent me if you want to check it out. Feel free to download a free pdf copy if you’d like. :)

Flickr Rolls Out New Photo Preview Page to All Users

Flickr Opens Up New Photo Preview Page to Users

Yesterday Flickr opened up their new photo page preview to the world. I opted in to the new photo page this morning and here are my initial thoughts on it. Overall I like it.

1. Photos are bigger. The bigger the photo the better. Flickr eliminated top menu items on the page. They also eliminated the hint area to encourage people to scroll below the fold. By moving the top and bottom non-photo information to the side of the photo, this allows bigger photos.

2. You no longer have to scroll to see a lot of the important information around a photo. Having a lot of the information that people care about to the side of the photo, makes it easier to get to this information. You know, sort of like how Google+ does it. 😉

3. I’ve got mixed feelings on the new hashtags. I do like the fact that Flickr has added #tags to all Flickr tags… I think. This is the new methodology for tags in social media (i.e. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and everybody else in the world), so it would make sense that people would be more familiar with this concept, especially new users.

On the other hand, hashtags don’t really work very well for multi word tags and descriptions (the space between words gets stripped out). So “Saved by the Deleteme Uncensored Group” on the old Flickr photo page now becomes #savedbythedeletemeuncensoredgroup, which looks like a big mess. A lot of Flickr users would tag phrases and thoughts in the tag section of their photos and these are now pretty much unreadable.

Also Flickr now hides a lot of tags underneath a “more” button. This to me would seem to discourage users from using lots of descriptive tags, which I think are important for organizational and search reasons on Flickr. I don’t think any tags should be hidden under a “more” button. All tags should be shown on the photo page.

Groups and others who relied on multi word tags for photo games, may not like the new tagging structure.

4. A lot of the full functionality of the new photo page is being developed. This new photo page is by no means the final product. I think it’s good that Flickr lets people opt in and opt back out, to try it out. It’s a little bit of perpetual beta in a way and I like that Flickr is willing to put itself out there without having everything at 100%. Move fast and break things (as they say over at Facebook).

5. The new Flickr photo page is an under-developed preview, this means that there are quite a few things that still need to be done (some of which are planned and in the works by Flickr).

We need to be able to generate html code to blog images off site still (it’s coming). We need to be able to see all sizes of our photos and download our photos (it’s coming). We need to be able to click on favorites and see who has favorited an image. We need to be able to click on a date an image was taken and have it take us to the calendar archive view for that day of our photos. You can’t edit a comment on a photo after you make it (you can only delete your comment and start over). HTML formated links seem to be borked in photo descriptions.

Lots of little things still need to be added in to the photo page. It’s missing a lot of functionality still. The design looks good though and I hope they implement all these little things quickly.

6. My favorite thing about the new photo page is that it really highlights your sets. Sets are one of my favorite things on Flickr. I’ve made over 1,800 sets on Flickr. With the new photo page, Flickr now shows other thumbnails of photos from the same set and not just a link to the set. I think this will drive more views to people’s sets on Flickr, which is a great thing. [Note: this seemed to be working earlier today, but now it seems like this feature is not showing on my photos]

7. According to Neil Howard, the new Flickr photo page doesn’t support secure SSL browsing. SSL is the “https://” that makes a connection encrypted which is used by a lot of people.

8. I do like the new feedback forum that Flickr is also pushing with this preview. It has a way to vote answers up or down. This seems like an interesting way for staff to pay attention to the things that need to be fixed the most. The forum is already full of the “who moved my cheese” cheeshead bellyaching that comes with every Flickr change, but there is some useful criticism and feedback there that seems to bubble up to the top at the same time.

One other thing worth noting with these new bigger photos. A lot of photographers have told me over the years that they only load small, low res images on social media sites like Flickr. They think that these smaller photos are “good enough” and fret about having their larger images “stolen.”

I’ve always uploaded my full high res originals to the Flickr. As display sizes keep getting bigger and bigger, some of the people who have uploaded low res, small photos are going to see their photos begin to look bad in the larger size formats. On the other hand, those of us who always upload high res photos, our photos will still look good at these larger sizes. Especially as more and more photos are being consumed on things like the Flickr app on AppleTV, people ARE actually looking at your photos in much larger format than what you may have initially considered. Everything with photos on today’s web is going BIGGER — just something to think about.

It is pretty cool that Flickr gives everyone a full terabyte of high res original sized images for free — which means virtually unlimited free storage for your high res photos on Flickr. Google and Facebook should do that too.

These are my initial thoughts. Now I’m actually going to revert back to the old photo page (so that I can get the html code to blog the image in this post) and then revert back to the new page and keep testing it out.

What do you think of the new Flickr Photo Page? Do you like it? Love it? Hate it? And why?

More from The Verge here.

Update: Another little thing I don’t like (that I hope is fixed before release) — when I hover on a tag on the new photo page, I don’t get an option to explore other photos with that tag by me or by everyone. The only choice is to click the actual tag link which takes me to everyone. Flickr is a personal organizer for my photos and I like having the option to only return my photos with that tag, without having to go to search and specify that there.

Yahoo and Flickr Renege on Their Paid Advertising Free Accounts

The New Yahoo Advertising Tool Bar on Flickr is Ugly

One of the things that I’ve liked about being able to pay Yahoo and Flickr $24.95 per year, is that it comes with an advertising free experience. The deal between Yahoo and Pro accounts is simple, and can be summed up in Flickr’s own words: “No ads in your browsing experience.”

While new Flickr Pro accounts are no longer available, all existing Pro accounts were given an opportunity to grandfather in their Pro accounts and continue them ad free. If users want an ad free experience now, they have to pay double the price as the old Pro account, but it’s still an option.

In the past, when paid accounts on Flickr have complained about advertisements, Flickr pointed them to a toolbar that a user likely installed: “If you are pro, we don’t show you ads on Flickr, but you may have unintentionally installed a browser toolbar, extension or add-on that is serving them.”

I’ve always respected Flickr for offering this ad-free option, it’s a refreshing departure from Facebook, where we are bombarded with ads at every turn.

Unfortunately, today Flickr has reneged on their advertising free account by forcing a new Yahoo tool bar on all Flickr users, both those with free ad supported accounts and those of us with paid ad-free versions. It’s an ugly intrusion to an otherwise beautiful new Flickr. It also advertises at me on *every* *single* *page* on Flickr — a bunch of Yahoo services that I *do* *not* *want.*

Complete with a Yahoo logo, the forced real estate takeover also offers me Home, Mail, News, Sports, Finance, Weather, Games, Groups, Answers, Flickr, omg!, Shine, Movies, Music, TV, Health, Shopping, Auto, Travels, Home.

There is no way to disable this forced tool bar. Worse it follows you as you scroll down the page. It never goes away. As of right now it is impossible to be on any page on Flickr without having these hyperlinked ads in your face.

I think these advertisements are just awful. I think they are distasteful and I think it’s unfortunate that Yahoo is so greedy that they cannot be satisfied with our simply paying them for an ad-free experience. If Yahoo cannot make enough money off of Flickr, then increase the price, or give us an option to pay more and remove this intrusive forced advertising bar.

Flickr is supposed to be an elegant, paid, ad-free, photo experience — or at least one version of it is. Forcing advertisements like this on ad-free accounts is wrong. Flickr should give all paid accounts an option to x out this ugly marketing based tool bar and make it go away.

There are few things as annoying as having a toolbar forced on you with a bunch of advertising links to things that you do not want. You can follow user reaction to this new forced tool bar in the Flickr Help Forum here.

You can and should do better than this Flickr.

Why Aren’t Search Engines Making Better Use of Their Social Networks for Image Search?

One thing I’ve noticed more and more over the past few years is what a poor job traditional image search engines do vs. social networks.

By using social information around photos (likes, faves, comments, +1s, etc.), social networks typically produce much superior image search results than traditional image search.

Take this search of Coachella 2013 for example.

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 10.45.53 AM
Yahoo Image Search: “Coachella 2013″

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Google Image Search: “Coachella 2013″

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 10.47.28 AM
Flickr Image Search: “Coachella 2013″

The first image comes from Yahoo (or is it Microsoft these days, I can’t keep it all straight). It’s not very good. It shows too many images of just the lineup vs. actual fun interesting photos of the event itself.

Google’s image search results are better, but still not as good as many of the images I find on social networks.

Now I may be biased (as I shot this particular event) but I think Flickr’s search results are *far* better than either Google or Yahoo Image search.

I’m working on a project right now to photograph the 100 largest American cities. When I’m researching things to photograph in these cities I almost always go first to Flickr (because it’s the largest database of highly organized quality photos on the web). I will also look at Google+ too, sometimes. Google+ doesn’t have as many high quality images in the total database as Flickr, yet, but I find some pretty good stuff there sometimes still. Most of Flickr’s advantage here over Google+ just has to do with the fact that they are older and have more images indexed.

Lately I’ve also played around with graph search on Facebook for images — I haven’t been very impressed there at all though.

The one place I hardly ever go is to the actual Google or Yahoo image search engines — because the results are so inferior.

Here’s what I don’t get: *why* are the results at Yahoo and Google Image search inferior? Google and Yahoo have access to proprietary internal social data around photos in their social networks, why isn’t that coming through better in the signal for high quality images.

On my example search using Coachella 2013, not a single Flickr photo appears on Yahoo’s first page image search and not a single Google+ image appears on Google’s first page image search.

Shouldn’t these search engines be better mining organically and socially ranked superior content? It’s not that these engines don’t index it, they do, it’s just not ranking well.

Beyond just better image search, Google and Yahoo *should* have another significant incentive to better include their social images into image search.

All things being equal, assuming you could improve image search results, wouldn’t you want to drive more traffic to your own internal social network, rather than to some unrelated destination — and wouldn’t you want to reward the best photographers on your social network with more traffic vs. some random SEO rigged site somewhere?

Why aren’t image search engines doing a better job with social?

Another added benefit to driving image search traffic to your social network, is that the presentation there is usually better, more uniform and consistent. When I’m tempted to go further on an image from Yahoo or Google, I may end up at some odd sized photo, in some odd format. With a G+ or Flickr result I get a strong consistent image experience that I’m familiar with.

As an unrelated topic dealing with image search on Flickr — the best social image search on the web today — Flickr needs to give us the ability to block certain users from our search results. Many popular photographers will pollute image search on Flickr by falsely tagging things that are not in their popular photos, just to try to garner traffic.

Take this search on Flickr for dog for example. So many of the first page results are not photos of dogs at all. Flickr should allow us to block certain users from our search results in order to better refine them. When we block people from our search results, this should also be a signal to Flickr that this user should rank much worse in search. If users get the message that they will be penalized for purposely mistagging their photos, they will be less likely to try and game the system this way, resulting in better image search on Flickr for all of us.

Yahoo Running Television Commercials for the New Flickr

Yahoo Running a Television Commercial Promoting the New Flickr

Lest anyone doubt Marissa Mayer and Yahoo’s new commitment to photo sharing site Flickr, apparently Yahoo is now running a paid television commercial for the photo sharing site — the first of its kind as far as I’m aware. Following some of the tweets on the commercial spot, it sounds like it may have begun running yesterday on NBC programming.

The advertisement, which features the Bright Eyes song, “The First Day of My Life,” shows a photo montage of pug dogs, among other images. You can watch the commercial yourself above from Yahoo’s corporate YouTube account.

The commercial comes out a few weeks after a successful new redesign of the site that gave all Flickr users a free terabyte of high res photo space.

I posted previously on an informal statistic of uploads being up 71% at Flickr since the redesign, these statistics would seem to be in line with other metrics that Yahoo is also seeing internally, according to Flickr Community Manager Thea Lampkin.

“[W]e have a lot of data already and are measuring traffic to all the new pages (don’t worry, it’s all anonymous),” writes Lampkin. “So far the metrics have been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re very happy with how Flickr members everywhere are interacting with the new site. Sets in particular are getting more traffic than ever before.”

Flickr Users Uploading 71% More Photos to Flickr Since New Design Rolled Out

Founder of Flickr Likes the New Flickr

Recently I blogged about the new design on Flickr noting that engagement on my own personal photostream had skyrocketed. By my own estimation, activity (comments/faves) have increased approximately 294% on my stream since the redesign.

Despite a loud, vulgar, disrespectful chorus, by a small group of torch and pitchfork type haters in the Flickr Help Forum, I’ve wondered how the larger Flickr community has felt about the site changes. To hear it told by the haters, *everybody* on Flickr hates the new design and they are all leaving in droves for other sites on the web.

One of the interesting things about Flickr, is that each photo on Flickr is assigned a unique ascending number on upload that signifies its numerical place as a Flickr upload. Because of this structure, it is fairly easy to measure the pace of uploads at any given time on Flickr.

I wanted to see if users were uploading more or less photos since the changes.

My measurement is approximate, but would seem to indicate that the number of uploads to Flickr since the site redesign have increased *dramatically*, about 71%.

To measure this, I tried to find a photo about as close to the redesign implementation as possible. In this case I found this photo taken by Veronica Belmont posted at about 3pm PST on the date of the change, May 21. This was within minutes of the change as implemented on Flickr. This is what I’m using as a baseline image. It is Flickr photo number 8,776,546,808 (you see this number in the url of the photo).

Next, I went and looked at a recent photo uploaded today. This photo by my contact rollerphoto works. This photo is upload number 8,855,853,505

So roughly between today and the changes made by Flickr, users have uploaded almost 80 million photos to the site. The time measured is about six hours short of six days.

Next, I went and found an older photo uploaded about six days *before* the change was implemented. In this case I found this photo taken by my contact Jazzyblue TR. This photo is one hour short of six days from the changes. This photo is upload number 8,730,146,140.

So, in the 6 days prior to the change, users uploaded about 47 million photos to the site.

So, roughly, as measured in the six days before and the six days after Flickr’s new site design, uploads are up about 71% site wide.

Now, number of photos uploaded is only one metric to measure when looking at the effect of this change. As I mentioned earlier, personally my own engagement numbers are up even higher — but to hear it told by a loud, vocal contingent of about 3,000 members in the Flickr Help Forum, 99% of users hate this change. This simply is not true. The vast silent majority of Flickr users are chugging along just like they always have been and I suspect Flickr signups have *far* exceeded deletions since the change has been made.

Flickr can view much more data internally than I can from the outside, but I suspect that by every way they measure success on the site, this most recent change has been an absolute homerun for them.

Unfortunately, with all change comes haters. Flickr would do well to ignore these haters. Of the almost 100 million Flickr users, we may lose a few thousand of the most vulgar and vitriolic accounts on Flickr, but I suspect what we gain in terms of new users is far greater.

Interestingly enough, earlier last week, the Founder of Flickr himself, Stewart Butterfield, had high praise for the new design on Flickr. Butterfield left as General Manager of Flickr back in 2008, but remains a user still today. In a tweet, Butterfield described the new design as “fantastic,” noting that history will ultimately vindicate the work as “nicely done.” I posted about this praise by Butterfield in the hatefest in the Flickr Help Forum and it only took about 21 minutes for one of the haters to compare his words with Adolph Hitler.

Hopefully the worst of these haters *do* actually leave the site as they keep threatening to do over and over and over and over again, and let the rest of us who *do* like the changes enjoy the new design for what it is, a new, better, fresher version of Flickr.

Flickr Founder Stewart Butterfield on Flickr’s New Redesign

Founder of Flickr Likes the New Flickr

Dear Marissa Mayer, Please Give Us a Tool to Better Block Bad Actors on Flickr

As an opinionated blogger, watching Flickr roll out recent changes to the site this past week has been an interesting experience, to say the least.

Thanks, Marissa Mayer, for making Flickr awesome again. Thanks also to the Flickr team who have worked so hard to roll out these changes. The new Flickr is the most photo immersive experience anywhere on the web. It is far more engaging and far more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.

Witnessing and countering in the vile hatefest that the Flickr Help Forum has become this past week has also been interesting. Simply for expressing my opinion in a public feedback forum on the new design, I’ve been called a shill, a troll, a sock puppet, a scrotum sack, and many things far worse that I don’t really feel like printing.

I’ve been told that my photography is absolute crap, been accused of working for Yahoo, of being related to Marissa Mayer, of trying to pump up Yahoo’s stock price by supporting the changes — my work, motives and integrity have all been subject to relentless attacks there.

There is little civility in a forum taken over by the ugliest and most vulgar of what the web represents.

The vandalization of Marissa Mayer’s own Flickrstream, and the encouraged vandalism in the same forum, saddens me. To see someone leave an offensive comment on a Mother’s Day Photo, of all things, makes Flickr less of a place to want to spend time.

One Flickr staffer had to actually turn off public comments on his Flickrstream. “You are going to hell,” was the comment that made him turn them off.

There is, at least, a partial answer to this problem: give us a tool to block other users on Flickr.

Flickr already does have a blocking feature of course, it’s just super weak and only prevents someone from leaving a comment on one of *your* photos.

On the other hand, even if you block someone, they can still attack you in all sorts of other places on Flickr, where you spend time. Flickr users should be able to use the public areas of the site without being subject to vile personal attacks. The Help Forum, Groups, other people’s photos, all should be places where Flickr users can visit and feel safe and comfortable.

I left Flickr groups for good a few years back (so did a lot of my friends). The reason why I left was that groups were becoming too ugly. Especially as an opinionated and high profile user, I found myself subject to constant terrible attacks. There was nothing that could really be done about this. Sure, you could report someone violating the Flickr Community Guidelines to Flickr, and maybe 5 days later their account would be deleted, but then they’d just make up a new troll account and be right back at it over and over again.

It was simply easier to just leave the public community of Flickr than to deal with the hate.

When I first joined Google+, I saw some of these same bad actors appear over there, too. I’d watch both myself and my good friends be attacked by others — jealous, petty haters and trolls, mostly. But then Google did a really smart thing. Google rolled out a really strong blocking tool and, just like that, all the hate went away.

You see, on Google+, when you block somebody, they become entirely invisible to you. They are entirely filtered out of all of your views on G+. Poof. Gone for good, not just in your stream, but *everywhere* for you on the site — and that has made Google+ a far better, nicer and more polite place for community than Flickr. Where the Flickr community is a negative hatefest, the G+ community is the most amazing, optimistic, supportive community I’ve ever known online.

You see, blocking the worst of the web doesn’t just filter it out of your view. The more significant thing that it does is it *encourages* civility.

Right now on Flickr we have no power against incivility. People can be as nasty and as rude and as ugly and as disrespectful as they want. They can spam the Flickr help forum with images of excrement (as they actually did last week) and you can’t do a damn thing about it — but if you give us the ability to block these bad actors, then their power is reduced. They know that as soon as they begin the ugliest of hate that the vast majority of positive contributing members will simply block them. Their audience is diminished and soon they are standing on a soap box shouting only to the 10 or so other users who share their hate filled outlook on life.

Before I quit using Flickr groups, one particular nasty member was looking at the photos that I was favoriting (this is forced public and Flickr won’t allow me to control who gets to see it — unlike on G+ where it is private) and this person began leaving vile comments on every photo that I was commenting on. This way, every single one of their comments was showing up in my recent activity, even though I’d blocked them from commenting on my own photos. That’s just wrong.

If Flickr wants to be a place where community can flourish, they need to give us tools to protect ourselves from the hate.

Marissa, I don’t need to tell you how bad the hate can be on Flickr. If you’ve reviewed your own Flickrstream this past week, you know what I’m talking about. It’s deplorable. Especially when any user can so easily just keep making anonymous troll account after anonymous troll account — please, give us a tool to remove the bad actors from our Flickr experience.

This week’s new design work was fantastic, now let’s go to work on improving the community for those of us who want to positively contribute there as well.

Top 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of the New Flickr

Earlier this week, Flickr rolled out the most significant changes to their service since purchased by Yahoo back in 2005.

In addition to a major web redesign and a new Android app, Flickr also changed the basic fee structure of their account types and storage limits.

Former Pro users are being allowed to retain their $24.99 year fee structure for unlimited, ad free service. If you are a Pro account user, nothing changes if you want to keep it.

Free account users were all given 1 terabyte of free high res photo storage. Free accounts are still ad supported, as they have been in the past, but now you are no longer limited to only viewing your 200 most recent uploads to the site.

Despite the typical torch and pitchfork mob rage emanating from the Flickr Help Forum*, (a group of super negative Flickr users representing less than .01% of all Flickr users), I’ve found over the past week that engagement on my own photos is up dramatically. More specifically, based on my Flickr stats page, engagement (as measured by comments and favorites) is up approximately 294% on my own photos since the new release.

*Dear Marissa Mayer, PLEASE, give us the ability to block users on Flickr, it would make it a much nicer place for those of us who want to enjoy it. :)

I have no way of knowing, more broadly speaking, if the stats numbers look this good for Flickr in general, but if they do, I suspect that they are very happy indeed with the success of this week’s new features.

This post is not meant to be a debate about the new changes; this post is for those of you who are ok with the site design and are now looking for ways to get the most out of it.

On with the list.

Tip #1, Make The Last Photo You Upload in a Batch Count

1. Consider a strategy for uploading your batches of photos. I upload two batches of photos to Flickr a day — one in the morning and one in the evening. Your upload strategy and the ordering of your batch uploads matters. With the new Flickr redesign, photos on the flickr.com homepage are really, really, big. Big photos get far more engagement. However, the only photo that gets shown ginormous on the flickr.com homepage is the very last one that you upload. The 5 before that are shown as small thumbnails there.

So, if you are uploading a batch of photos to Flickr, make sure the one that is uploaded last is the best of the batch. Also, landscape oriented and square photos show up much larger on the flickr homepage than portrait oriented crops. So, all other things being equal, consider making sure your last photo uploaded in a batch to Flickr is one of your strongest square or landscape oriented photographs.

Tip #2, Flickr is Your New Cloud Photo Back Up

2. Anyone who ever complains about losing photos on a crashed hard drive again is just dumb. While you, of course, should not depend on Flickr as your sole backup strategy, everyone now has a free 1TB drive in the sky for photos.

Even if you don’t want to share certain photos, or you only want to share them with your very close friends and family, upload them to Flickr anyways and mark them private or friends/family only. If nothing else, you will have a backup of last resort if you need to go get those photos later. I don’t know of anyplace else on the web where you can get 1TB of free storage. Take advantage of that not only for the photos you want to share publicly, but all your photos.

Hunt Peck

3. This is not necessarily a tip new to the new Flickr, but it’s one everyone ought to know about — keyboard commands..

On Flickr you can use the F key to fave a photo, the C key to comment on a photo, the G key to add a photo to a group, and the T key to tag a photo. This will make your Flickr experience much faster. For those complaining that, with larger photos, they now have to scroll down the page to comment, no you don’t — simply press the C key and you will jump right there, with your cursor right in place and ready to type.

Tip #4, More

4. … = MORE! This is a universal symbol on the internet for more. Anytime you see … anywhere, this means that there are things hidden underneath the … that you may want to find. It’s a good way for a site to de-clutter. I’ve seen many people ask where their favorite lesser used Flickr feature went (EXIF data, gallery functionality, all sizes, etc.). Just click on the … and you’ll find it all there.

Tip #5, Make Sure Your Sets Are in the Order You Want Them In

5. Make the most out of your sets. By default, Flickr puts your sets in the order created. Your most recent sets are shown first, and older sets are shown last. This may not be the best way to present your sets though. One of my most viewed sets is one of my oldest, my 10 faves or more set. If I didn’t manually move this to the top of my sets page, it would be buried in the over 1,800 sets I have on Flickr. Go to the Flickr organizer page here and make sure that your sets are in the order that you want them in.

If you have a lot of sets and find it cumbersome to move them around in the organizer (like I do). Shrink your browser view to super small and it will make more and more thumbnails in the organizer that are easier to move around.

Make sure your sets page shows your best sets on the first page. This will give people a great first impression of what your albums are all about.

Consider making a few “best of” sets on Flickr. If you use Jeremy Brooks’ SuprSetr app it will automatically tag all of your photos that have been favorited 10 times or more fav10. It can then build an album for you of just these popular photos of yours that you can highlight on your sets page.

Just Re-Upped for 2 More Years of Flickr PRO!!!

6. If you have a Flickr Pro account, do NOT let that expire. Your Flickr Pro account is worth more than it’s ever been worth in the past. It’s pure gold. Getting unlimited, high res, ad-free photos was the deal of a lifetime. Although Flickr is no longer offering this extraordinary deal anymore, if you have it, you get to keep it.

Go here to check on the status of your Flickr Pro and I’d recommend both renewing it now AND making sure you are set up as a recurring Pro so it automatically charges your credit card in the future. Don’t lose this awesome benefit.

Tip #7, Reupload Your Avatar

7. Make sure you reupload your Flickr avatar on the new Flickr. The old Flickr used a smaller version of your avatar, so you might notice that you have sort of this weird small avatar over a larger, dimmed out version of your old avatar on your Flickr page. You can reupload a better sized version of your avatar which will override this and make your new, larger avatar look much better.

Tip #8, Make Sure to Personalize Your Cover Photo

8. Change your cover photo. Flickr added a number of new cover photos by default with the new page design. Go to your page and change your cover photo to something new. Find a photo of yours (or a portion of a photo of yours) that uses an extreme landscape crop and will fit there and work well. I used a mosaic strip of photos for mine.

Tip #9, Review Who Calls You a Contact

9. Make sure to review your “who calls you a contact” page. This is a page that shows everyone on Flickr who has contacted you. You may be surprised that some of your friends have contacted you that you are not aware of. Review this list to see if you’ve missed any old or new friends on Flickr and add them back if you want.

Tip #10, Mobile

10. Make the most out of mobile. Although 95% of my own personal Flickr time is spent on the web version, don’t forget about mobile. Earlier this week, Flickr rolled out their Android app, which is every bit as good as their previous iPhone app and probably even better.

One of the easy things to do with this app is to favorite photos by your friends. Simply pull up your contacts photostream on the app and tap/tap to fave a photo. You can scroll down and see different friend’s photos or you can scroll sideways and see more photos from a single friend. When you have down time on the bus, or are waiting for your table at Bob’s Big Boy or wherever, use that time to favorite photos of your friends. They will see that and favorite your photos back most likely. :)

Ok Glass, Get Dogfood

Bonus tip: Get the new Flickr app for Google Glass. It’s awesome! 😉 Just kidding. There’s no new Flickr app for Google Glass…

…yet.

You can find me on Flickr here.