Update 8 a.m. PST January 14: Sorry, I ran out of invitations, but you can request them from Photophlow's home page. Update 8 a.m. PST January 11: I added links to a couple of helpful videos.
For a Web 2.0 powerhouse, Flickr feels awfully Web 1.0. At least that was my conclusion after spending a few hours in the chat rooms of Photophlow, a start-up that grafts a highly interactive experience on top of Yahoo's photo-sharing Web site.
Flickr deserves credit for pioneering what can be done with photos on the Internet beyond merely displaying photos and albums. Flickr advantages include tags that let members sort and search photos, groups for finding like-minded photographers and sharing photos, and maps to sift through pictures geographically.
But Photophlow, which presents a chat room interface to the act of browsing Flickr, makes all those interfaces seem static. For me, the site felt like wandering through a museum with a group of new acquaintances, commenting on pictures as we went from room to room. And some of the rooms featured our own pictures.
The site is invitation-only right now so that Oortle, the start-up behind Photophlow, can keep up with growth. I ran out of invitations, but you also can request one at the site, which is how I got in.
I'm not the only person who's favorably impressed.
'A comfy coffee lounge'"It really changes the way I use Flickr," said Alex Almeida, who publishes the Phat Photographer blog, who described Photophlow with a different metaphor. With its instant interaction, "it really is like a comfy coffee lounge with a big shoe box of photos where people can chat comfortably and pull any of those photos out of the shoebox and discuss them."
Readers of this blog will have inferred I'm a fan of geotagging--in fact, I'm trying to label all my photos with the tags that show where the picture was taken, even though the geotagging process is complicated.
I'm betting that much of the value of geotagging lies in the future, for example, when I might have a harder time remembering which hike a particular picture came from. But can anything useful be done with those geotagged photos today?
While the Internet might be a soulless place that's mostly devoid of any real human warmth or compassion, there are certain things that make it better. While there might be a YouTube, we're still very much the me generation when it comes to defining a personal identity online. Some of these "Web achievements" people pick up over the years require some serious talent. Others can be had with a little luck. We've compiled a list of some of the more prominent ones--consider it a list of things to do on the Internet before you die.Skill. Achievements that require talent, skill, or personality Get on Flickr's interesting picture wall. Flickr's interestingness algorithm is based on several qualities of user interaction with a photo. Flickr lists them as "where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing." In short, it's about how popular your photo is on an aggregate scale.
Chances of it actually happening: Depends on skill. It could be one of the best pictures on earth, but if nobody's looking at it, you're out of luck. That being said, the photos you tend to see on Flickr's explore page (the listing of interesting photos) tend to be great-looking, but even the occasional bad shot of something amazing makes the cut.Make the YouTube featured videos list. This elusive honor puts your video on the front page of YouTube.com. Many unknown artists have gotten huge view counts and channel subscriptions out of a front page spot, which gets millions of eyeballs each day.
Chances of it actually happening: Slim. The smattering of videos in the featured videos section on the front page is picked out by a team of YouTube editors. These folks are in charge of cool hunting, and given the amount of content that's uploaded to the site each day, the best way to get noticed might be to get picked up on some other social sites for visibility first. Mark Glaser from PBS' MediaShift has a great post on the editorial process here.Get your post on The Best of Craigslist. This elusive honor is reserved for some of the best-written, or just plain obscure postings on the popular classifieds site. There's no real science to it beside the fact that your post must be nominated by a certain amount of users before it's picked out from the crowd.
Chances of it actually happening: Slim. Getting on Best of Craigslist is incredibly tough. Nationwide only a handful of posts are picked out each week, and you're relying on Craigslist users to not only read what you've written, but nominate it.Making the front page of social news site like Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Slashdot, and Newsvine.
Chances of it actually happening: Reasonable. The beauty of getting on these sites is that you don't have to write an article you're submitting. In most cases, the only responsibility is to write title and description. Adding a little style and flair to the original title and description can do wonders. On the other hand, writing a story, taking a picture or video that makes the front page of any of these sites is a far greater achievement than simply adding the link.
Continue reading to learn about repetitive and ego-stroking achievements galore...
It wasn't Lane Hartwell's first heated exchange over a photo copyright issue, but a tussle involving a witty YouTube video probably was the one with the highest profile for the professional photographer.
Last week, a not-for-profit San Francisco singing group called the Richter Scales posted a Web 2.0-mocking video, Here Comes Another Bubble, set to the tune of Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire. One of the many photos that flashed by in the video was one Hartwell took of Valleywag's Owen Thomas.
The problem: Although Hartwell had posted the image publicly at … Read more
As a user of several Web photo hosting services, I've settled on Flickr, and one of the things it's really good for is loading a bunch of vacation pictures into a set and sending a link to that to my family members. That's about where the experience ends, though. There's not a built-in blogging tool, or a simple way to set up your shots with a lot of narration short of writing extensive captions. Many folks I know simply opened up WordPress or Blogger accounts and started up a disposable travel blog for such a purpose. … Read more
Flickr on Thursday released a new version of its tool for uploading photos to the Yahoo photo-sharing site, and made it an open-source program in the process.
Flickr Uploadr 3.0, available for Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 and for Windows XP and Vista is now available in source code form, too, governed by version 2 of the General Public License (GPL). Open-source software may be freely modified, copied, and shared; opening source code could let programmers modify the Uploadr tool so it works on Linux or uploads to other photo-sharing sites, for example.
Uploadr lets photographers … Read more
Correction: I updated the blog to correct a misspelling of Don MacAskill's name.
SmugMug, a site popular among photography aficionados, has been retooled with a more adaptable interface and overhauled video-sharing technology.
The new interface, which the Mountain View, Calif.-based company calls SmugMungous, automatically displays one of nine different sizes of a photo on the screen, with a patch of thumbnails of related images to the left side. The reason for the SmugMungous name: the largest of these images is 1600x1200 pixels, enough to fill up very large monitors.
In addition, the new site comes with an iTunes … Read more
Flickr members now can edit pictures online using Picnik's online tools, a significant change in the ability and focus of the photo-sharing site.
A new "edit this" option on each photo's page takes Flickr members to a "powered by Picnik" screen that permits them to change exposure, colors, sharpness, and other attributes, as well as add text, whiten teeth, fix red-eye, crop, and resize. The features duplicate those already available on Picnik's site.