I had a busy weekend and was not paying attention to the news, but as I was hoping through my inbox this morning, I came across a note from Flickr announcing the acquisition by SmugMug.
I have been a user of Flickr for many years, and while I had few complaints about the platform until recently, I could not fail to notice its stagnation and decline, which became particularly painful and glaring after I have signed up for Instagram and other modern social media. After Verizon bought Yahoo!, an ominous cloud started to hang over the service: even though Flickr may have had value as a content-generating engine, its waining popularity turned it into a liability, and given how peripheral it is to Verizon’s core business and ambitions, I feared that the days of Flickr were numbered.
In light of that, today’s news were very good, albeit bittersweet. The Flickr community has finally found what appears to be a welcoming corporate home, and probably one of the best ones they could have wished for. On the other hand, while no dramatic actions are planned imminently, I would not be surprised if Flickr will be slowly integrated and absorbed into SmugMug. So for Flickr, this is more of a retirement with honors rather than a beginning of a new era.
I am feeling a bit sentimental over this, as posting my photographs on Flickr was an important part of my life for many years. When I first decided to post the pictures I took online, it was in the dark ages, when Google was just another search engine and Facebook was still TheFacebook, among other things. I wrote Perl scripts and Photoshop macros to generate thumbnails, preview images and navigation links. Then came Fotki.com, which looked exactly like what I had in my mind when I created my home-brew tools, and I have used it for a few years. I do not remember why exactly I have signed up with Flickr, but it probably was for the exciting features like the easy upload, map, tagging, advanced album options, sleek interface and the fact that some of my friends were using it, too.
I could also go into details on why I have decided to move on from Flickr, but it hardly matters now. Suffice it to say, the returns from posting regular, quality updates on Flickr no longer justified the time investment for me. While I will do my best to keep my photo stream there flickering, my website and other social media will take priority. So, if you have not done already, I recommend that you start follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
And, in honor of Flickr’s retirement, I would like to share a few of my favorite images that I have shared there.