I spend way too much time telling you what’s wrong with the world. Let me mention an example that, for me, is exactly right. flickr. I have an account there, but big deal; that’s mostly reprints from digitize.textfiles.com, anyway. That’s not what I enjoy about it. Here’s what I like about it:
- Very simple to use and work with.
- Items uploaded are maintained in original pristine form as an option.
- It is possible to download these original pristine forms.
- Downloading is not like trying to pull the fire out of a runaway steam locomotive.
- The “tags” system thing actually works as intended, providing additional search vectors when looking for items.
- Crazy little toys, like being able to search by camera type or model, don’t interfere with using the site.
- Creative Commons aware, allowing you to search by license. (While I again don’t think people always entirely understand the repercussions, they are definitely voluntarily adding these licenses.)
- If there’s 5 of something I’m looking for, there’s 500.
- It’s quick as a whip.
The archivist in me likes being able to get my hands on the original material for saving. But the kid in me likes the crazy shit!
The collaboration is, in some ways, not dissimilar to what people think Wikipedia’s is, except at Flickr, the smallest possible unit is the Photo. A person puts a “photo” up and that’s about it. People can comment on it, add their own photos with similar tags, and so on. In this way, you can have a bunch of people “collaborate” on providing photos to an event with the use of a similar tag. Thumbs up from doesn’t-like-watching-everything-turn-into-grey-goo boy.
And the breadth of it!
That ability to dive in and just grab handfuls of amazing shots is quite something, and every once in a while I grant myself a couple hours of photo swim time, just to blow through hundreds of images, savoring the weirdness.
This all is especially amazing considering it was bought by Yahoo and doesn’t in fact get turned into suck. I bought a “pro” account, and that’s saying something. I never get tired of that place, and literately have to tear myself away to get “real” stuff done.
So there we go. Flickr. I Like Flickr.
Now, back to the whining.
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