As many of you will be aware by now, Flickr launched a new version of its photo sharing site last Monday. I knew this change was coming as I had been railroaded into a test version on both my accounts for a few weeks prior to the launch. To say the new version has not been met with enthusiasm is an understatement. As I write there have been over 23k posts on the thread for feedback in their help forum; some are furious, others annoyed, but most are disappointed. Gone is the ease of use. Your landing page, where your recent comments, faves, and notes were available, has changed. Now it is a cascading roll of images, mainly ones you commented or faved and these could be ones you have long forgotten. It is impossible to locate your own photographs. It is not customisable.
Your photostream is now a wall of images on black. Ya, you can edit it to get something close to the old version, but it is not the same. While I like it to view the streams of other photographers, I would like if textual information was available under the photos as it had been before. Very often I write accompanying text for my uploads. Now these are not visible unless you click on the image. And when you click on the image it brings you to an on-black view. All fine and dandy, but if you have a dark image, the image loses clarity.
Having two accounts I like to post in the first comment a small size image of the photo I am posting on the other account. It allows contacts to click through. Now with the new format for comments with so few actually showing, it means that when I go over a few comments those comments made at the start are not visible; rendering the link to the photo from my other account being hidden. In the past few days, this has meant views on my images on my iPhone account have dropped. And do not get me started on why we have to scroll down, away from viewing the image, to make our comments. It becomes a memory test. How difficult would it be to allow a sidebar, or a box directly under the photo to allow us write our comment as we look at the image? This is a suggestion I have made many times to Flickr; one I made when I was in the test version of the new version also. Did they listen? No!
The worst thing about all of this is that I have had emails from contacts, friends who have said they are leaving. Now, that is so sad. These are people who have given me so much. Photographers I have learnt so much from. I cannot imagine a Flickr without them. How hard would it be to create a customisable version for paying customers? Pros. We all paid our 25 bucks a year to have ad-free, unlimited uploads, and stats. But with the new policy of Flickr – it is all about volume. They want to attract those happy snappers who click click relentlessly and upload vast volumes. Users who will accept and consume the barrage of advertising that will go with their free accounts. We, who pay the 25 bucks will not see those ads, rendering us useless to them. What they gain from our subscription is chicken feed in comparison to the pots of gold they will gather from advertising.
As I write this blog post, Flickr has stopped. I cannot get it to load. I had uploaded my images for the day on both accounts but cannot get them to load now. The widget that showed my Flickr photos on the right of this blog post has stopped working too.
What to do? Change is always met with resistance. We are creatures of habit. What works well for us, we become comfortable with. Yes, there are good points to the new layout and design of Flickr, but there are many faults. It needs fine tuning. I hope that is what is happening in the background at Yahoo!, that they are taking on board the criticism and suggestions and working towards providing a platform for photographers to share images and also, even more importantly, to communicate and learn from each other. If they do, I will stick it out. On Monday, they said Pro accounts were to be abolished. On Tuesday they rolled back on that. I would like to think they will do something similar with the layout and design.
If not, what are the alternatives. I was on 500px, but it did not appeal to me. I disliked the dislike button, more than anything. Many contacts have already moved to ipernity.com. It looks like old Flickr. Redbubble is another option. At least there you can view an image and see it at the same time. Instagram is just for fun. Here on the blog, I really should post more photos, but the interaction cannot be the same as a Flickr-type platform. What are your suggestions?
For now, I will flickr on. But if things do not improve I very well might just flickr off.