Thursday, July 07, 2005

Why I love Flickr


When not pontificating on how sore my rear end is going to be after six years of corrupt Olympic-related spending and bullshit, I have been pleasuring myself with a few choice Internet links, including:

What happened to Flickr? Its initial appeal was as a cheap photo hosting service for folks like me who take loads of pictures and wanted somewhere to store them on the Net. Then the social interactivity thing took off in a big way. For many people, the photography side of things seems almost incidental and some of the most active Flickr participants barely upload any photos at all.

Don’t misunderstand me. The interactive side of Flickr is a big plus. I’ve been particularly amused by coming across folks like Andy, Clive, David, Kevo and many others. I’ve been amused partly by their (occasional) wit ;-) but mostly by the thought that there so many other people walking exactly the same ground as Ian and I do, doing exactly the same thing. Sometimes, I’ll be standing in front of a particular piece of graffiti or interesting-shaped door knob in London somewhere and think to myself ‘If I wait here for 1/2 hour someone I know from Flickr will stop and photograph this as well’. At that point I usually scurry off in case that is what happens and someone I know from Flickr discovers that I am, in reality, only three foot tall and that I cross-dress.

Not that it would matter though. Not in the World of Flickr. A passing interest in cross-dressing/ tv is the least of many users’ problems. I’ve never encountered so many people with mental health issues anywhere else, ever, and believe me that’s saying something. It’s quite normal to browse into a users’ photostream and see a picture entitled ‘My Meds’ of them proudly displaying hands filled with pills.

Thanks to Kevo, a user called Quiplash rapidly passed into Flickr legend and became immortalised as a widely-used Flickr verb less than a day after posting this, out of the blue, after he received some criticism on a discussion thread he was administering…

Listen to me.
I take enough antidepressant medication to keep a small village happy, and I am still recovering from a suicide attept last October.
I cannot please everyopne. Every time I make a decision in order to try and appease everybody I get a shitstorm.
I am leaving Flickr.
I hate all of you for heaping more shit on me.

It’s getting to a point where you have to check someone’s profile extensively before saying anything to them in case you turn out to be that final straw that leads them to snap. I’m not sure that this is what I signed up for and, in my more reflective moments, I do feel sad for all those damaged people out there; reaching out for human contact and compassion through whatever medium that comes to hand.

However, I haven’t been feeling too reflective lately but I still keeping watching because I find the whole thing bizarrely compelling. It’s a bit like watching a soap. Only with a soap you don’t have the option to toy with the characters’ fragile minds by stepping in with a choice comment every now and again.

F*ck me, I've just had an idea for a television show ...


David said...

Wow, just like big brother over there- do we only really enjoy BB or forums when everything goes off the rails? I certainly do, as well as the intellectual discussions.

Anonymous said...

I keep thinking I'll run into you Stef :D...I'd probably mug you and nick your lenses ;)

Without sucking up to you too much (no laughing at the back), your flickr site and stream is usually the one I look at first, not just for your photos, but also for your humour/paranoia as well for inspiration for photos and angles...hell I've just outed myself! :P

look after yourself mate


Stef said...

@david: you can open an Flickr account for free - why not join in

@andy: my lens collection is a little depleted at the moment. Three of my little darlings are in various states of disrepair. If you do bump into me take down the bloke with me - he's always got lots of lovely things things in his bag - and none of them are busted

PS it's only paranoia if they're NOT out to get you ;-)