About Flickr

flickr.jpg Flickr ( is one of the oldest and most popular social media sites, built around the sharing and organizing of photographs. At a basic level, you can use Flickr as online storage for your photos, but it also makes it very easy to use tagging as a way of grouping photos by keyword, or into galleries or collections. Flickr groups offer a way to build communities around interest areas. Other features allow you to create sets and slideshows of related images, to embed a "badge" or widget with your recent activity into your own web site, and to author blog posts or send Twitter messages directly from a Flickr photo page. Visitors to your photos can add comments or add your photos to their own curated online galleries. Flickr includes hooks for third-party developers to create more applications and tools; these do everything from sending online postcards to searching for Flickr images by the subject's color or shape.

How do I use it?

If you're new to Flickr, you can start by adding other photographers as contacts so that you get updates of their work. They do not have to approve this, and they can reciprocate or not as they wish. Upload your own photos, drawings, or screenshots to build out your collection. If you use a digital photo management program like iPhoto, Aperture, or others, you can export your images to Flickr quickly and easily. Flickr even gives you a special email address so that when you take an image on a mobile device, you can instantly email it to your Flickr account.

You can also search for images relating to your museum or to other topics of personal interest. Mark the best ones as favorites, and add tags if you see images that you know something about. Commenting on the images of other photographers is a friendly way to show interest in their work.

Why is it important?

Flickr can be used to provide a live feed of imagery to your web sites, but more importantly, users of Flickr are active social networkers who are passionate about visual media. User tagging offers an easy way to aggregate a large collection of images related to a topic. The group and commenting tools offer platforms for building community around common interest areas. A number of museums have become part of a Flickr program called Flickr Commons . The Commons is a place for museums and other institutions to post photographs from their collections -- often photos with little known about them -- and allows the Flickr community to tag and share information about the photographs. Flickr Commons is a good example of crowdsourcing.

Flickr Tips

  • Be selective about sharing your best photos. Most people take many more pictures than they upload to Flickr.
  • If you choose to post pictures of friends and family, consider taking advantage of the settings that allow you to set privacy levels. You can mark photos as visible to everyone, just to your contacts, just to contacts listed as friends, just those listed as family, or just yourself.
  • Use descriptive titles and captions for your images, and be generous in using tags to describe them (this expands the potential for discovery).
  • If you will be uploading many images, consider purchasing a Pro account (around $25/year) — this gives you unlimited uploads and provides statistics on the activity around your photos.
  • Be familiar and aware of creative commons licensing , and if possible, license your photos so that others can use them

Getting Started

Museums and Flickr

Listening in Flickr

See Also

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Notes and Questions

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