Wow - Thank you for all your thoughtful comments. It’s lovely to hear that you enjoyed the article! I wanted to address a couple of things directly…
_"I wonder if, in the described Flickr groups, you observe a small group of people who contribute a lot of comments and photos and a large group who contribute a lot less.“_
Yes, I’m sure that’s often the case, particularly when people are finding their feet within a new group of people. It depends a bit on the sort of group too, I think. I’ve observed a certain cycle on Flickr several times which I think is fascinating. An example is where someone might post to our Help Forum asking a question (or being angry about something!), and then I’ll see that same person actually being helpful in some of the other threads! I think what often happens in groups is that some members will participate and engage more deeply than others, and often end up being “promoted” to a moderator or an admin.
Nielsen’s theory about lurking really just mirrors the way we are offline, doesn’t it? Not everyone’s an extrovert or an exhibitionist.
_"Isn’t that the essence of this whole “˜internet’ thing?!?“_
Absolutely! We the People of the Internet have always known that, but I think it’s a relatively new realisation for the megacorps and broadcasters out there :)
_"I think the analogy can even be expanded further, Flickr as an institution on the internet, even the beginnings of a visual processing (occipital) “˜lobe’ of the internet. Each portion of the “˜society’ acts to contribute, aggregate, processe, etc. the inputs from the edge of the network and therefore adds their own value to it.“_
What a wonderful thing to say!! I think I love you!
_"Maybe I should organise a meet!“_
I’d highly recommend that. Flickr meets are great! There are lots happening all over the world, a sample of which you can see over in “the Flickr group on Upcoming”:http://upcoming.yahoo.com/group/8/.
_”...and leave us with the rather elliptical suggestion that “identity and connections appear to have social value”?. That doesn’t explain any actual suspicion, though, and I’d be very interested in your take on where this suspicion comes from.“_
(This could probably fill a whole other article.)
Apologies for the ellipsis - I thought it was particularly hard to quantify that concept, so made a slightly cheeky assertion rather than stating a hard fact.
One of the most powerful things about Flickr, I think, is that it allows us to see true lives and actual people. Certainly there is a huge artistic vein to the content, but there are also many, many life stories and often gritty realities. Perhaps it’s as if there’s a “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine” thing going on. Perhaps it’s that people who don’t engage and share after a while aren’t “joining in.”
_"in a smaller, growing community, how do we make sure trolls don’t set up shop and dominate the conversation?“_
You need to concentrate and be present. If someone comes by and makes waves, you’re well within your rights to weed them out. It’s like that annoying dude at your party who’s hitting on all the chicks and generally being a dork. No harm in asking him to leave…
*Richard A. said*
_"hmm how do I add this user as a contact? where is that link again!? dang flicker interface..“_
Wily, isn’t it? (You can add someone as a contact a few different ways: by mousing over their buddy icon, clicking on the little arrow that pops up and choosing “Add as a contact”, or by heading for their profile and clicking “Add x as a contact.” Totally acknowledge this could be easier, fwiw.)
*Chris H. said*
_"I then wrote a few lines of CSS and made a custom stylesheet that could be applied to Flickr automatically by the browser.“_
Fantastic! I must mention my very favourite Greasemonkey hack… An Englishman named Pip wrote a little script to “change the spelling”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/pip/59343912/ of “favorite” to the Queen’s English spelling, “favourite” :)
There are “loads of hacks like this”:http://www.flickr.com/search/?ss=1&w=all&q=greasemonkey+screenshot+flickr&m=text… though maybe “hacks” is the wrong word. Perhaps “enhancements” is better.
_"It’s interesting how negative the reaction has been to [video] on Flickr. So much for the community spirit of love. This could be a good example of how a community fights change introduced by its creators.“_
Yes, agreed. You could say that the negativity is also a sign of love, that people feel such passion for the place and feel protective of it. Interestingly, there was also a “backlash against the backlash” over video on Flickr, where other members helped to assuage fears, poke fun or stay the course with video. We knew it was a big change - absolutely - but we also knew that it was going to be a lot of fun, opening up new channels for creativity and documentation - a position we felt confident we could defend. And you’re right, there’s some wonderful stuff coming online, which you can get a taste of over in “the Video! Video! Video! Flickr group”:http://flickr.com/groups/video/pool/ ...