Where Does a Former National Geographic Photographer and Current Yahoo Exec in Charge of Flickr Share His Photos? Yep, You Guessed it Google+

Update 12-01-2012, I think Yahoo Exec Adam Cahan just went public with a Flickr account.

Update 12-12-2012. Marissa Mayer just went public with her Flickr account today as well here.

Late last week over at All Things Digital, Kara Swisher reported on the appointment of the latest high profile Yahoo exec, Adam Cahan. In addition to reporting directly into Marissa Mayer and overseeing mobile for Yahoo (super important!) it was also announced that Cahan would be put in charge of Flickr, the photo sharing site that so many of us love.

On the surface this is great news. The fact that the guy who is now overseeing Flickr reports directly into Mayer may mean that Flickr’s profile is moving up internally at Yahoo. After a few years of Flickr layoffs and shrinking, it looks like Yahoo once again is staffing up in photo sharing!

In addition to staffing up, over the past year Yahoo has probably improved Flickr more than any other year in its existence. They’ve added a really nice new justified page layout for your contact’s photos and favorites (hopefully coming to search, photostreams and sets soon!), they added a new meet up page where they are getting active with photowalks again (check out this shot from their Austin photowalk this past weekend), they created a new liquid photo format that expands photos to the size of your monitor (slick!), they also increased the maximum size for photos for paid accounts to 50MB! (Facebook and Google+ downsize your photos).

So my question is, why with so much excitement going on around Flickr, why don’t Yahoo employees use or care more about the service?

A lesser known thing about Adam Cahan, the new Yahoo exec in charge of Flickr, is that according to the San Jose business Journal he’s a former National Geographic wildlife photographer. So here’s the guy who is in charge of Flickr, definitely talented with a camera, and where is he choosing to share *his* photographs? Yep, you guessed it Google+! Here’s a photo he posted earlier this year there for the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Of course, Cahan is just following by example really here, his boss Marissa Mayer chooses to post her own photos over at Instagram instead of Flickr.

Why is Flickr such a pariah that Yahoo’s own executives (even the one directly in charge of Flickr) won’t dare to use it personally?

Certainly Google and Facebook employees share their photos on Google+ and Facebook. So why aren’t Yahoo executives doing the same thing?

I believe that leadership is done by example. I also believe that every company should encourage dogfooding and should encourage their employees to use their own products. I think this sends a better message to users when you feel like people who work for the company use it too.

The message that Mayer and Cahen send when they shun Flickr and instead post their photos on competing photo sharing sites is that those sites are better than Flickr. The exact message that they should be trying to change if they really care about Flickr.

Now I’m all for Yahoo executives testing out the competition. Actually I think that’s smart. They *should* have accounts on Instagram and Google+ and Facebook and all that — but they should *also* have accounts at Flickr and they should be acting as Flickr’s biggest cheerleaders in the same way that Vic Gundotra does for Google+ over there.

There is a current conversation going on over at Flickr in their highest profile discussion group that Flickr is dying. Yahoo should care about discussions like this. Yahoo employees should actually be involved in them and trying to convince people that Flickr is not dying, that a comeback is just around the corner — but in order to be involved in conversations like this Yahoo employees need to actually, you know, have an actual Flickr account.

It’s not hard, really, you can even use your Facebook or Google+ account to sign into Flickr these days. Directly from the Flickr sign up page: “It takes less than a minute to create your free account & start sharing! Have a Google or Facebook account? You can use them to sign in!”

Flickr’s tagline is “almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world.” That’s been it’s tagline for years now. So if this is true, why don’t Yahoo execs want to use it to manage and share their photos? If that tagline isn’t true anymore maybe Yahoo execs should think about changing it to “almost certainly *was* the best online photo management and sharing application in the world.”

I was thinking yesterday back to all the excitement that was around Flickr back in the olden days. Natural disasters tend to be things that galvanize social sharing, and especially photos. Back in 2005 when Katrina hit, Flickr was the go to place for people to post photos online about the disaster. Not only were the best user generated photos flowing into Flickr, they were flowing in fast and furious. Flickr was recognized for the Katrina photos in the national press. A group was started on Flickr to do a print auction to raise funds for Katrina survivors. The very next year Time Magazine named Flickr co-Founders Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake as two of the 100 most influential people in the world! Butterfield and Fake both had Flickr accounts by the way.

More recently hurricane Sandy hit New York. Was Flickr the go to place this time for photos? No. Everywhere you went in the national press it was 24/7 Instagram. It’s telling that Time Magazine — the very same Time Magazine that recognized Flickr and their founders/managers after Hurricane Katrina — recruited five professional photographers this time around to cover hurricane Sandy for them on… Instagram, the same photo sharing site where Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer shares her photos.

By the way, photos taken after Oct 15th tagged Sandy on Flickr? 36,000. Photos tagged Sandy on Instagram? Over 800,000. Now just today Instagram announced photos on the web.

On a personal level, my photos at Facebook and Google+ get far more views and engagement than they do on Flickr — not just a little more, a lot more — as in hundreds of times more. I’m still rooting for Flickr though. They were the photo sharing service that I started out with back in 2004. They still have the best photo organizational tools on the web and at $25 for over 70,000 full high res photos of mine they are a bargain. Competition in the photo sharing space is good for all of us. It benefits the user. I just wish I felt like Yahoo actually wanted to win more with Flickr. Maybe this will change though and some day soon I’ll be able to add Mayer and Cahan as contacts of mine on Flickr. I bet as a former National Geographic pro Cahan has got some great shots. 🙂

PetaPixel / Gizmodo

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  1. Matt Mikulla says:

    I participated in the Austin Photowalk last week.

    From what I could gather from the Flickr folks is they are beginning to make a push to revive Flickr.

    The core Austin folks definitely use Google+. Google has provided attention and support. We organize and share through Google+.

    However, I work in the search industry and I honestly don’t trust Google. I certainly don’t trust them to support photographers for the long haul.

    I, like many, had pretty much given up on Flickr. But I’m willing to give them a chance. Flickr was built for photography.

    Let’s wait and see. I know we’ve all been saying that but I hope Flickr will progress.

  2. joyguard says:

    Instagram is good? No, I need a place to store my original size photos, not to cut my photos into squares.

  3. Let’s divide the cake into three.Shut up!Any messages for me? You really have an ear for pop music.You mustn’t aim too high.As a matter of fact, he was pretending to be ill.Are your grandparents still living? Here you are.Enjoy yourself!Let’s take a short break for lunch.

  4. Prashant says:

    Flickr is dying and there is no escape now. 500px and Google+ are trying to make everyone happy. Let’s see what the future of photography will look like

  5. OldHarryRocks says:

    The reason you have more ‘engagement’ on Google plus is because you were or are on the google SUL list. Being on the SUL list is worth somewhere between 3000 and 10,000 ‘followers’ per day, they are not adding you, they are adding the list. Almost all don’t actually know who you are. One or two though will genuinely follow you, and that is where your ‘engagement’ comes from. But the engagement is largely superficial.

    Circles on google increases ‘follower’ count massively, and increases engagement levels tinyly (although it does increase).

    But I agree there is more engagement on Google. But Flickr is not a social network site in the pure sense. It’s a photo sharing site. It’s a different product altogether.

    Flickr is out of date because it’s old by internet standards. And facebook is also out of date by 2012 standards. Facebook has become more pretty, but it’s functionality is still relatively un-intuitive. Google is up to date because it’s new. However it is a rip off of Diaspora, a newer distributed social network site designed by kids in bedrooms. Facebook and Flickr (at the moment) dominate their respective markets and don’t need to change. Yet. When they do need to change, they may be too far behind.

    You, Thomas have a fixation with everything that you do, without reaching out to see what else is out there. Google and facebook are starting to become very disliked globally due to the way they handle private data, the way they advertise, and in the UK, googles name is mud at the moment because they don’t pay any corporation tax(like, zero or close to zero).

    So it remains to be seen if the big guns will be ruling the roost in 5 or ten years time. They are becoming hated like all large companies become (everyone loves starbucks, starbucks get big, everyone hates starbucks), They are also monetizing their product in ways that annoys people. Flickr just charges a small yearly fee, or you can ‘suffer’ limited functionality and advertising. That is an understood monetization scheme that people understand. That alone will keep them popular. As soon as you start doing secret stuff with peoples data you embark on a very slippery slope, that from the outside looks very, very sinister.

  6. Thomas Hawk says:

    Harry, you are incorrect about my engagement being higher on G+ over flickr because of the Get Started list. It’s higher than Flickr but way way way higher and some of that is likely related to that. But being active on G+ you watch thousands of other photographers who are not on the list also seeing higher engagement on G+ than flickr. This is not a Thomas Hawk isolated case. If I were not on that list I’d still have more engagement at G+ than flickr, but not by as mammoth of a margin.

    Scott Jarvie is not on the Get Started List. Where is he getting more engagement? Far, far, far more on G+. Photographers who are active on G+ get far more favorites, comments and more meaningful conversation and community interaction than photographers who are active on Flickr. I’m also super active on Flickr btw.

    The fact of the matter is that engagement on Flickr has mostly gone down for everyone. Just take a look at the Flickr Central forum. Look how many new conversations have been started in the last week. Now use the wayback machine to look at the page 3 years ago and see how many new conversations had been started. There’s simply no comparison.

    You say I am a fixation on myself without reaching out to see what else is out there. You don’t know me at all. We’re not friends, we don’t engage. You don’t know anything at all about who I spend time with on the web and where. I’m actually quite active on many sites and in many communities and see a great deal of the social web.