Travis has decided not to renew his Flickr Pro account.
Like Travis, I’ve been using Flickr for a long time. I got my first Pro account–a paid account that provides a variety of benefits, in December, 2004.
Travis bemoans the loss of community on the site–a pretty common complaint. Much of that community has, I think, migrated to apps like Instagram. I recognize the same style of friendly, real-time conversations on my Instagram photos that I used to see on Flickr. Several friends, like Rachael or Kris, who were active, popular photographers on Flickr now play a similar role on Instagram.
For me, Flickr has always been first and foremost a backup site for my photos. I enjoyed the community aspects, but I rarely really participated the way friends and colleagues did. I probably spend more time per week with Instagram than I ever did with Flickr.
A few years ago, thanks to a hard drive failure, Flickr became the only place where all of my photos from the past decade live. So, that kind of sealed my commitment to paying a $25-a-year tithe to Flickr.
I suppose I eventually ought to download all 7000 of my Flickr photos (using something like this), praying that all the metadata remains intact when I do. Assuming an average of, say, 3 MB a photo, that’s only about 21 GB of photos.
Our online habits have the same inertia as our offline ones. So, in truth, I’ll probably keep uploading photos to Flickr until the service’s quality really degrades, or it shuts down entirely.
Are you still using Flickr?
Footnote: I was poking around my account, and looking at my most popular photos, according to Flickr’s ‘interestingness’ algorithm. Oddly, the top photo is this scanned Vancouver Sun article from 2005. It’s about blogging, and quotes myself (with a particularly stupid photo) and Flickr founder Caterina Fake. I do not know why this article tops the list.
Sidenote to that Footnote: It saddens me that I can’t find that article online. Not because it’s about me, but rather because it’s only seven years old and there’s a (admittedly small) financial incentive for the Vancouver Sun to keep it online. We are doing such an awful job of archiving what we create in the digital age.