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).
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.