I was skeptical about Friendster from my very first invitation on the day it launched. I joined kicking and screaming and never did anything with it. Friendster and its clones seemed primarily dating sites to me. I am not comfortable (in real life and online) in social environments. Making small talk online is as hard for me as it is off line so I wouldn’t naturally join any site of its kind. I opted out of Orkut.
But Flickr’s a little different. I joined despite its somewhat unfortunate name (especially in Dutch) because I “trust” the people behind it. Though Ludicorp‘s GNE wasn’t my thing, it was extremely slick. It made Flickr worth checking out.
Now I’ve seen the light.
First of all, Flickr looks all kinds of sexy, runs smoothly (a few beta hiccups here and there) and so far it’s been very easy to find my way around. It did take me a while to figure out there was more to it than the Groups and userpages and how to launch Flickr proper. I guess the huge pink button escaped my view…
I soon caught on that Flickr is useful outside the dreaded ‘networking’ area. I still have problems with the whole ‘friends’ issue. (“One or two e-mails and a night on IRC don’t make you my friend.”) This may wholly be a cultural difference, as others have noted. Fortunately there’s an ‘acquaintance’ designation in Flickr. But it is Flickr’s image sharing tools in combination with chat and IM that could be very useful to communities like the one we have at U2log.com.
Next year, U2 will start touring again. (U2 fans, don’t laugh — let’s just hope they will.) Flickr will make it very easy (think ‘effortless’) for fans to share their photos immediately after and during the shows (using mobile phones and Flickr’s ‘upload by e-mail’ service ) in the chat and IM environments.
Using Flickr this way can be quite useful to me, current author of “U2 Live: A Concert Documentary”. I could verify events taking place at concerts. Fans will be able to tell me their stories and illustrate them at the same time. All this makes my information gathering for the book a lot easier.
I’ve set up a U2logTalk group at Flickr.com — hopefully the U2log.com readership will ‘get it’ and join. I’m not saying it will all happen the way I dreamed it up, but it might.
‘Course they’ll all start discussing B’s hair, rather than provide me with essential concert details…