It didn’t take long for a group of Flickr users to start kicking up a fuss about the latest new feature. Lets face it, it seems it doesn’t take long for a group of Flickr users to start kicking up a fuss about almost any change – indeed I myself have moaned about some of the ill thought out ones such as the initial change to forcing users to use Yahoo accounts when the mobile site didn’t support it – and after some bad experiences with Yahoo I was less than keen at the prospect of having to deal with them for accounts.
The latest change to cause people to get upset is the addition of video. Thomas Hawk has a page collecting together the negative feedback, the general gist being that Flickr is a photo site, and videos should go elsewhere, for example YouTube.
However, when you actually look at what Flickr say they are trying to do, it isn’t the same as YouTube. They specifically limit video clips to 90 seconds, so rather than going after people with video cameras, they are targeting people with modern digital cameras that can shoot short clips of video too. It’s not all the time, but there are occasions now when I will be switching backwards and forwards between taking static shots and short video clips, and currently the clips go to a video site such as YouTube or Vimeo and the pictures to Flickr. Sometimes I edit multiple clips together for a longer video, however in general to tell a visual story, I really want the clips and the pictures mixed in together – just the kind of thing that Flickr is now offering.
The issue really is that there are now a number of distinct groups on Flickr. There are some very vocal photography fans, and indeed some fantastic pictures on the site. Equally there are people that are using the site to share holiday snaps with friends and family, or even just as a convenient way to host up visual content for their sites. By far the biggest group of users are the everyday snappers, but equally those are also the ones who probably least use features like the forums and the groups, whereas the photography fans make a lot of use of these to look at some of the great pictures you can find on the site. Flickr have provided the ability for moderators of the groups to restrict submissions to photographs only, so these groups can continue to focus only on photography, but unfortunately there seem to be some users who object to the mere presence of video because it affects the purity of the site.
From my point of view, I like browsing through some of the impressive pictures you can find, but equally for the kind of use I make of my camera now, for the occasions when I need movement, the support for short video clips is ideal – well done Flickr, great addition.