Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Final Project's Draft: FLICKR

In recent years, Web 2.0 technologies have not only revolutionized the World Wide Web, but they have also changed the lives of people all over the world. Web 2.0 technologies allow internet users to use creativity, individuality, and personalization on the internet, and also have allowed people to socialize in ways that are easier than ever before. Thanks to the convenience and ease of Web 2.0 websites, people have been able to keep in touch with old friends, make new friends, etc. Websites such as Facebook and Myspace are two of the more popular social networking sites out there, especially on college campuses like University at Albany. There are hundreds of other popular Web 2.0 websites, including, and

The Web 2.0 website I decided to take a closer look at is called Flickr is a photo and video host, where users can post photos, videos, and many other things. But before we get into what exactly Flickr is, let’s take a quick look at the history of the site. It all began in 2004 thanks to the creative minds of Stewart Butterfield and his wife, Caterina Fake. Butterfield is a very intelligent man, receiving his B.A. from the University of Victoria, in Canada, in philosophy. After the invention of Flickr, he went on to win very respectable awards, such as Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world ( Fake has also won several awards in recent years, including BusinessWeek’s Best Leaders of 2005 and Red Herring’s 20 Entreprueners under 35. Butterfield and Fake co-founded Flickr under the parent company Ludicorp. Also under Ludicorp, an online multiplayer game called Game Neverending was created back in 2002. The site was not very successful, but many of the tools used for Game Neverending were incorporated into Flickr. As Flickr gained popularity on the web, it was only time before a larger company decided to buy it out. Yahoo! would be the company that would do that.

In March of 2005, Yahoo! purchased both Ludicorp and Flickr for an estimated 30-35 million dollars. Considering they paid so much for it, Yahoo! obviously saw potential in the website, and felt they could help it become a lot bigger than it was under Ludicorp. After migrating the servers from Canada to the United States, Yahoo! immediately started in doing what they could to make Flickr an amazing photo storing and sharing website, and the statistics prove that Yahoo! did a good job of doing so. According to Neilson/NetRatings, Flickr's traffic grew 448%. By December 2005, there were over 3.4 million users. Immediately after Yahoo!’s purchase, the amount of people who signed up for accounts also skyrocketed to over 2 million, and by by April 2007, it claimed to have 7.2 members and 400 million photos. This was even before Yahoo! photos was closed and the membership moved onto Flickr (Cox, 2008).

So what is Flickr, and why do millions of people belong to and/or visit the website? When you first visit the website, you have a choice of either signing in, searching for photos, or taking a tour of the website. Flickr offers the tour as a way for new users to become familiar with it. Many websites do not offer such a tour, but this one does,and it happens to be a very informative one. The topics discussed during the tour are the features of the site. These include: upload pictures, edit pictures, organize them, share them with others, use maps to show where the pictures were taken, make stuff like DVDs, and lastly, the site can be used to keep in touch with family and friends. Each one of these features is then explained in better detail.

The first part explains how to upload photos. While this may seem like a simple thing to do for most college students and for those familiar with computers and technology, for others, such as elderly people, it may need some explaining. Flickr suggests using the "Flickr Uploader", which is available for both PC and Mac computers. Other ways of doing it are through email, iPhoto, or through your cell phone camera (which would then be emailed your email address and put onto the website). Once you upload pictures, the next step is to edit them. You do not have to do this, but it is a nice feature that Flickr provides in case the photo you shot is not perfect. Flickr has partnered with the website called Picnik, which offers many editing tools. Some of the things you can do using Flickr are: reduce red eye, add text to pictures, crop, resize, etc. Next, is one of Flickr’s features that many users enjoy. This is organizing your photos. Flickr allows you to create sets and collections, which allow you to organize your pictures into folders by category, to make them easier to find and display. The site also allows you to "tag" pictures, to make them easier to search. While some argue that tagging is done in a selfish manner (to get more views on their own pictures), the purpose of it is more so to allow users to accurately search for what they want to find. However, in my opinion, there is no harm in using tags to get your pictures searched, after all, that’s what Flickr is for: uploading, searching and finding!

Now that you should know how to upload, edit and store photos comes the exciting part, which is sharing them with others. One way Flickr suggests doing this is by joining a group! There are hundreds of groups on the site, anything from people with an interest in travelling, to pets or even sports. If you wish to create a private group so only friends and family can join, that is doable. The latter would be a good idea for those who attended a party or have personal pictures they do not wish for the public to see. Flickr is very on top of making sure their users privacy is not at stake. They have customizable privacy controls, so a user can decide who sees what pictures. This is a great feature, because nowadays there is an increase of professionals and businesses looking at potential employee’s online blogs, photo sites, profiles, etc. The last thing a user needs is to be rejected by their potential employer because the company came across a photo they were not particularly thrilled over seeing. Flickr’s privacy controls do a good job of preventing such an occurrence by allowing users to make pictures viewable by just you, your friends and/or family, or viewable by everybody on the site. The next stop on the tour is the maps feature. This was one feature that I myself was totally unfamiliar with. Turns out, I was extremely surprised by this feature because it is something I had never seen before on any other photo sharing website. The maps feature allows you to "drag and drop" pictures to a specific place on the world map, so others can see where in the world the pictures were taken. This feature can also be used in terms of search for pictures from a specific city or country. If you are doing a report on Madagascar, instead of typing it into a search bar, you can use the map to find pictures from the country, or discover pictures from countries surrounding the one you were originally looking for.

The next part of the tour is about making stuff from the photos you have uploaded. A few examples of things you can make that are shown are credit cards, postage stamps, and holiday cards. The idea of having a credit card with a picture you took yourself is a cool concept that I personally have never heard of before taking the tour. Lastly on the tour is keeping in touch with others. Flickr works similarly to social networking sites like Facebook, by allowing you to add someone as a contact. Once you add someone as a contact, you can take a look at their photos and be updated about any comments they make on your pictures, any new uploads, etc. Flickr came up with the idea of "notes" in addition to comments. Comments are left underneath the picture and are visible by all. However, notes are differnet in that only the picture owner can see what it says when they roll over the portion of the photo that was noted. This is a good feature for anyone who has an inside joke or a story that they only wish to share privately.

Through this tour, we are given a much better understanding of what Flickr is and how it works. Anyone can use the site, as long as you have a computer (or access to one) and some photos, you are welcome to use the site. Flickr is free for everybody, unless you want a Pro account, which is $24.95 per year. Pro members are allowed unlimited photo uploads and are the only ones allowed to upload videos. Videos can be up to 90 seconds in length and 150 MB. This new policy was started recently, in April 2008. If you do not wish to upgrade, you are not suffering at all. Back in December 2006, Flickr upgraded free accounts to being able to upload 100 MB instead of a mere 20 MB. Not too bad at all. The only "drawback" (as many upset users have called it), is that since January of 2007, you must have a Yahoo! user account in order to use Flickr. While this may seem like a hastle to subscribe to Yahoo! and then Flickr, both sites are easy to join and will take less than 5 minutes to do. That five minutes is well worth the hours of fun you can have on Flickr searching photos, socializing with friends, meeting others, uploading your own photos, etc.

I personally had never used Flickr too much before, but after taking the tour and exploring the site, I think I have been missing out. What makes Flickr more appaealing to many, myself included, is the unique features it offers as a photo sharing website. Facebook is a similar site people use to upload their pictures, however, Facebook is used more by high school and college kids, and Flickr is used by a typically more mature audience. That does not mean an older audience, per-say, it just means that you won’t find as many pictures containing alcohol, sex, drugs, etc., as you would on Facebook. Also, Flickr contains pictures of things that are not of people, while Facebook and other social networking sites focus more on pictures of people; and not so much pets, nature, travelling, collages, etc. Flickr is a good site to visit for those who are new to photo sharing, and also for experienced "picture-people". It has both simple and complex features, and the complex ones are very easy to pick up, thanks to the tour Flickr provides.

Out of all the Web 2.0 technologies, Flickr is the most comprehensive, fun-for-all website out there. Not only is it a way to meet people (through groups), share pictures (uploading, tagging, etc)., but it is a small community. People get to know each other and enjoy looking around to see who’s showing what that day. Flickr really is a mini community, and just like with a city, the more you become actively involved, the more you fall in love with it!


Cox, Andrew M. (2008). Flickr: a case study of Web2.0. Aslib Proceedings, 60 (5), 493-516.

Angus, Emma & Thelwall, Mike & Stuart, David (2008). General patterns of tag usage among university groups in Flickr. Online Information Review, 32(1), 89-101.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Summary for November 24, 2008

Today’s article was by Clay Shirkey and was about Dodgeball and Social organizing. Shirkey starts off by explaining a hypothetical situation of two people on an airplane, and explains the chances that the two people both know somebody. At first, you might think it’s a very big coincadence, after all there are 6 billion people in the world. However, Shirkey explains how it really is not that much of a coincadence because the number of people that fly on planes is a lot smaller than the total number of people in the world. Also, your chances of both knowing someone increase because you are departing from (or landing into) the same city as the other person, increasing your chances of knowing similar people.

It is the highly connected people that form social networks. And while chances are you are not a highly connected person, most likely, you know somebody who is. "The ‘knowing somebody in common’ link- the thing that makes you exclaim "small world!" with your seatmate is about that kind of connection" (Shirkey, 214). Basically, it’s not about knowing a lot of people personally, but if each person knows a few people, then we begin to network and form alliances, friendships, etc. And with the help of the selected few who are extremely social and known, it is even easier to run into someone and have a mutual friend, because those social butterflies know so many people, and it's not that rare for two of them to be sitting together on a plane, movie theatre, etc.

Shirkey explains how a networking service, such as Dodgeball, can significantly change the way we network and meet people. Dodgeball is a social networking site for mobile phone users. He gives an example of one day when he was in a bar and he put into Dodgeball that he was there, resulting in everyone else on the site getting a message telling them where he was. He explains how "FOAF networking"(friend of a friend networking) is incorportated into this- meaning, not only do his friends find out, but so do their friends, and their friends, and so on. Instead of just a few friends finding out information, more people than you could ever imagine might wind up finding out.

Dodgeball is similar to two websites that I use, Facebook and Myspace. Facebook is one that I frequent more than Myspace, and on this site, I have noticed similar things as Shirkey explains about Dodgeball. Often times, I am being suggested to add as friends "people who I may know", and I am often seeing pictures of my friends from previous nights out, parties, etc. Sometimes, I will recognize somebody and think to myself, "who is that?", only to remember that I do not know them, but I saw them in a few pictures with one of my best friends from college. It’s amazing how social networking sites like these can really make the world seem like a much smaller place.

Shirkey, Clay. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power if organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


For a period of seven days, I was told I to observe a blog- any blog out there that I thought would be interesting to follow. I chose’s Yankees blog, by Peter Abraham. I searched through many blogs, and eventually I settled on the Yankees one because I used to be a huge fan, but I don’t follow baseball much anymore. I figured by reading the blog I could familiarize myself with what’s been going on in the sport recently. I had looked at quite a few Yankees blogs, but many of them were written by fans and were biased towards certain players, ideas or thoughts. Peter Abraham’s blog was the only one that seemed not only extensive, but neutral and fair in presenting stories about the team. After I read through the blog, I decided to post to it, and then I chose a theme from the book Blogging in @merica, by Aaron Barlow, and applied that theme to the blog.

What I immediately noticed on the blog was the amount of postings. Peter goes above and beyond when it comes to posting, sometimes even posting more than once per day! Some topics that were discussed in the last week on the blog were the new stadium, free agents, press conferences, etc. In addition to the frequent postings, another thing I liked about this blog was that he posted video clips that showed a few of the players being interviewed. I thought that added a nice extra touch, because usually blogs are about reading, and very rarely viewing. Something else that was nicely thought-out was that each and every title was very well-picked and accurately described the blog I was about to read. For example, "Hal, we’re ready for free agency" was the title for a posting about Hal Steinbrenner and negotiations with free agents to be on the team. On other blogs I went to, the titles for each posting were vague, with titles such as "Wednesday, November 12, 2008" or something that would look like, in this case, "Free agency". Peter did a good job of accurately sampling what you are about to read. I also liked this blog because of the huge number of comments to each posting. The numbers varied depending on the day and subject, but were anywhere from 50-250! This made the blog interesting because there was so many things that people had to say regarding Peter’s writing. Peter even sometimes took the time to comment himself, which I thought was nice because it shows the audience that he is keeping up with all the comments, and even is willing to take time out to respond to a few.
After reading through a few blog entries, I decided to become involved in the blog and post a comment. Since I don’t know much about baseball, I wasn’t sure how I was going to comment because most of the comments were about stats, players, rules, regulations, standings, etc., and while it’s interesting to read it all, I wasn’t sure what I was going to post. I decided to be a little more general and ask the people commenting for their opinion. One of my questions went unanswered, but the other received one reply (not a lot- but it’s something). I asked if more people would visit Yankee stadium if the train schedule was easier to follow and there wasn’t so much confusion about driving and parking. The person who wrote back responded that not only would he go more- but he would upgrade his partial season ticket package to a full one! That response kind of makes me want to contact Peter and have him start a blog about this topic in particular!

Barlow’s "Blogging @merica The New Public Sphere" talks about the concept of vertical and horizontal structures. What he means by vertical structure would be most corporations. There is a ladder of heirarchy, and work is passed from the top down. Horizontal structure is when there is no such "flow" and there isn’t one person who will ultimately make a decision, it is a group effort. "Though they like to imagine a horizontal base, on most levels commercial and professional news organizations must operate on a vertical model" (Barlow, 2008). This can be applied to Peter’s blog, but it is a little differnet in that I think it is both horizontal and vertical, not just one. It has a vertical structure in that there are people on that hire Peter and give him some sort of deadlines and requirements. However, the success of the blog relies on horizontal structure, in that it is up to the public and Peter to create an interesting, fun blog for baseball fans to read. It is a collective effort and not one of hierarchy that, in terms of the blog itself, make it work.

I learned a lot by reading Peter’s Yankees blog. I don’t follow baseball much anymore, and yet I still was able to understand what he was talking about. I was even able to read through the comments, and agree or disgaree with some of them. Since there were so many comments, it wasn’t hard to sift through the ones that were too detailed for me to understand and just focus on the other ones. Peter’s blog has actually made me more interested in blogging because I never realized there were blogs out there that were as extensive, unbiased, interesting, and detailed as his!
Barlow, Aaron (2008). Blogging @merica: The New Public Sphere. Connecticut: Praeger Publishers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Summary for November 11, 2008

This reading by Lori Kendall is called "Shout into the Wind, and It Shouts Back", and it is about LiveJournal, a Web 2.0 technology that people can use to write their feelings- as either a personal diary or a public blog.

She sampled and closely examine 26 users over a 2 year time frame. These were people she was friends with, or met through friends, so the sample wasn't exactly a random selection of all users. "Statistically, LiveJournal is dominated by teenagers but most of my 26 interviewees are in their late 20s to late 30s" (Kendall, 2). (This is important to note because the age of the bloggers can be a huge determinant of the experience they have and the opinions they form). But, at any rate, she examined a few different things from these people: private journal vs. public performance, efficiency vs. audience management, control vs. connection, and autonomy vs. the desire for comments.

A topic I found interesting was the private journal vs. public performance. She explains in her writing that she noticed that LiveJournal is used to maintain relationships with family members, friends, coworkers, etc., and also for people to vent and write down their private feelings, but the boundaries between what is acceptable for posting on the World Wide Web and what is not often become blurry for some. Kendall found that many people use the site for different reasons, and that for many, it's not a definite "diary" or "public blog"- often times it can fall in the middle somewhere. Take for instance Alison, a woman in her early 30s. Alison describes her blog as a "performance art kind of thing. I don't think of it as my own personal private journal since I don't want the entire world reading my personal private journal" (Kendall, 4). However, Kendall observed that she wrote about many things that one would write in a diary about, such as relationship problems, work events, online quiz results, etc. She found that many of these things are similar to that of what someone who was writing a private diary type journal would include.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back." Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from

Yankees Blog- 5 Days of Observation


I wasn’t sure what kind of blog I wanted to observe for this next essay. The last blog I observed was about cats, so I wanted to do something different this time. I wound up picking a Yankees blog- about as different as you can get, I’d say! The blog is called The LoHud Yankees Blog. After I picked this blog I realized that it actually is a blog that is written on a website of my local home newspaper, which I read every day when I’m at home, back in Rockland County, so that’s pretty cool. The blogs are written by Peter Abraham. The first thing I noticed was that there were quite a few blogs from today, Thursday. Most blogs I thought would have one per day, maybe two if the blogger had a lot of free time, but this blog had quite a few! The first post of the day caught my attention because it featured my favorite player, Andy Pettitte. I fell in love (or should I say "love") with him when I was about 10 years old and ever since then have considered him my favorite baseball player- even if I don’t follow baseball that much anymore. That’s another reason I chose the Yankees blog, is because I figured I’d use it as a way to see what’s going on in the world of baseball, since, like I said, I don’t follow it as much as I used to as a kid. The post I read was about making a deal with Andy Pettitte, I suppose his contract was up… again, something I should know, and would know if I followed baseball more! Perhaps following this blog will be a better idea than I originally thought! Anyway, there are so many comments to his postings! For this particular one, there were 128 comments! For the other ones left today, there were 151, 64 and 21. So it seems that more blogs get more responses than others, but they all seem to be read by a substantial number of people.



I went to the blog today and I saw that one of the postings had over 250 comments! Of course I was interested in what it was about right away! First he says that the GM (general manager, I assume?) meetings didn’t make any deals, then he tells his readers that he is about to go to an event where he hopes to interview Yankees players Mariano Rivera, Pettitte (lucky him!), and a few others. Lastly, in this short posting, he tells the readers to listen to WFAN tomorrow morning to hear Joe Girardi speak. I’m anxious to read all these comments (although theres no way I will get through more than like 15% of them!)

For the most part, the comments are people who are just putting their own opinions out there, but there isn’t as much arguing as I thought there would be. There’s actually a lot of polite comments! People say thank you and give praise when they feel its necessary. Most of the comments on this entry are just people discussing stats, which player is better, etc. It really does not have to do much with what the original blog was saying, but I suppose when you have 250+ comments, your bound to get off on some sort of tangents!



I was surprised that Peter wrote a blog today, considering it was a Saturday, but he did. Today he posted video clips, which I thought was so cool! He put up clips of players being interviewed at a Joe Torre event (whatever that means!). The players featured are Joe Girardi (the manager), Andy Pettitte (yay!), Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and then audio samples from Joe Torre and Jorge Posada. Wow, he also has up a written summary of more info. from what happened at the event. This guy is one serious blogger! No wonder so many people comment. His blogs are interesting to read because they are full of information and content. It’s a baseball fan’s dream blog! Let’s take a look at the comments…….

I noticed a couple of interesting things. I hadn’t noticed in the past two days that Peter had been commenting back. But I see now that he has; his postings are in bold writing, to make it easier for the reader to see that it’s him responding, I suppose (even though I didn’t notice last time, but that’s just me). Another thing I realized is that some of the comments are coming from the same people. Mel is one name I see frequently here on the comments page. She wrote comments at 10:55 pm, 12:13 am, 1:40 am, and 1:49. Wow, she must visit this blog a lot! That also got me thinking- I wonder if Mel is a woman or a man. I feel like it might be a woman, and that’s why she chose Mel instead of Melissa or Melanie, so that the men do not immediately write her off and ignore her postings (because Mel can be a male name). If that is the case, I think she’s smart, because she’s avoiding any gender biases that might arise, especially because baseball is generally something men discuss more often then women do.



Today I was bored so I took a look around at some other blog sites on the web. Some of them out there were only updated every few weeks, and others had very few comments on them. It made me realize how much the Yankees blog that I’ve been following is an interesting one, due to the constant postings and commenting (that sometimes run into the 200s!) I also realized how cool it is that Peter included videos in his blog from yesterday (Saturday). I didn’t really think about it much yesterday but today I realize that it is pretty cool that he allowed his readers to take a break from reading and actually view something with their eyes for a change. Makes readers more interested because it offers up something new (viewing rather than reading). Good job Peter!



Today is my last day posting a response to Peter’s Yankees blog, and again, there were more than one posting for the day. How cool is that? The first posting I read was a list of players, more specifically,’s list of the Top 10 Yankee prospects (up and coming players). This type of thing is sure to spark debate and it did in the comments section. People definetly discussed their opinions, but again, I did not see anything that was vulgar, arguementative, etc. Keep in mind, there are over 150 reactions, so I might have skipped one or two that did qualify as one of those, but from the majority of what I saw, they were pretty much nicely said.

The next posting of the day had a captian that caught my eye, it was called "So What About The Train Station?". That’s one more thing I would give credit to Peter for. I like a lot of his titles- they’re catchy and relevant. Anyway, I clicked it to read it because I was curious as to what a train station had to do with baseball and the Yankees. WOW, I’m so impressed with this blog! Peter apparently asked readers if they knew anything about a new train that will lead to the new stadium. In his blog, he includes information that readers gave him. I think that’s so cool because it makes the readers feel as if they are a part of this blog, because they can contribute their knowledge to it. Not only does he acknowledge the readers information but he puts it out there unchanged- in other words, exactly how the reader explained it to him, is how he put it up on his blog. That’s pretty cool because it’s different! How often do you see a blogger who puts someone else’s opinion up? It makes me want to read his blog and makes me feel like if I did have any comments, suggestions, advice, recommendations, etc., he would take them into consideration and use them (even though it’s not guaranteed, it’s just the feeling I get from reading his blog).

I decided to leave a comment, in the form of a question, to see if any body would give me a response, and if they did, if it would be in a nice way or a "what are you talking about" way. In the comments, people are discussing the trains and which method is easiest to get to the new Yankee Stadium. So the question I asked is "do you think if it wasn’t so hard to get to the stadium, more people would want to go? Or do you think people that are Yankees fans would go see a game no matter how difficult it is to get there?" I ask that question because I myself think that if it was easier to get to the stadium, I’d be more likely to want to go to games. All the train and driving confusion is just too much sometimes! Well, I guess I’ll post again tomorrow after people answer my question!
UPDATE (11/11/08):
Well, it seems no body responded to my comment! Today, I posted another question, this time asking people what they thought about the new stadium's expensive technology they are installing in it. I asked people if they thought it was necessary or not but no body responded this time either. From what it seems, people are more interested in talking about stats, players, trades, etc., rather than the questions I asked about the new stadium. I guess that's not an interesting topic to be discussing! Oh well, I tried!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October 29th Blog

In Chapter two of Blogging @merica, Barlow explains how blogs have become more popular in recent years. He starts off with a startling statistic that there are more than 75 million blogs out there found by Technorati, a blog monitoring service (Barlow, 35). Even if some of those blogs are fake or not actual blogs, 75 million is still an astounding number considering that blogging on the Internet only became popular a few years ago.

I found it interesting how Barlow addressed how bloggers feel when they are blogging online. He explains how bloggers want to have a positive image and do not want readers to think they are, in a sense, crazy or weird because they are posting their feelings online. Bloggers do not want people to think they are just rambling, because for the most part, they are usually speaking from their hearts or speaking about something they are very passionate about.

One of the negative aspects of blogging that Barlow discusses in the chapter is the possibility of receiving threats from strangers (or even people who know you) that disagree with something you have said on your blog. When you put anything online, you are at risk of receiving negative comments or feedback, but bloggers are specifically vulnerable because often times the nature of a blog is controversial. For instance, when speaking about politics, health issues, laws, etc. you are more likely to spark debate then when discussing your children, pets, or home decorating ideas. Interestingly, even with the risk of threats and criticism, Barlow says that most bloggers do not prefer to remain anonymous on their sites. Reason being is that blogs should basically be somewhere for people to come together and feel united, and if they are anonymous that takes away some of the bonding that can potentially take place if bloggers know who they are communicating with and whos lives they are learning more about.

I used to think that blogs were just for people who had no one to talk to or who felt they needed attention from strangers so they decided to post stories online. But after reading more about them I think differnetly now. I think blogs are actually a good way to express your feelings and when other people read them, they get to know you, and possible friendships or even love interests might arise out of it. In terms of receiving threats, though, I always was curious about this myself. When you are putting so much information out there, you are more suspetable to negative feedback, and there are crazy people out there who don’t hold back when it comes to threatening or insulting others. A few years ago, my best friend used to have a Myspace and she would sometimes blog on it. The amount of random messages she received was crazy. There were tons of people who would read her information and blogs and comment to her about them. She eventually got tired of the it and stopped using the website to blog her feelings. But even though her experience was not so good, I do think blogging is a great way, for the most part, to express yourself through words, pictures, ideas and chatting.

Barlow, Arron. (2008). Blogging @merica: The New Public Sphere. Westport: Praeger

Monday, October 20, 2008

Third Essay [revised]

As digital cameras, scrapbooking, and photo editing become more and more popular, there has been a huge increase in the number of people who have an interest in photo taking and sharing. Currently, there is also a huge increase in the number of people who have a hobby in blogging, and sharing their stories, lives, pictures, etc., on the World Wide Web, be it with the general public or a selected group of people. Put those two together, and you will see there are more picture sharing/blogging sites out there then ever before. One of the more popular sites is known as Flickr. Flickr is a Web 2.0 technology. It is a free video and picture hosting site, in which users can upload pictures, edit them, view other’s albums, etc. Because I am interested in learning more about this website, I decided to use search engines and find out more information.

I used the search engines and to see what kind of relevant, accurate information on Flickr there is out there on the World Wide Web. I also used EBSCOhost, which can be found through my college’s website, I chose Google because it is one of the two most popular search engines out there, along with Yahoo. I chose Ask because I was curious as to whether or not it would be better in quality and/or quantity then a bigger, more popular search engine like Google. Lastly, I chose to use EBSCOhost because it is not a public search engine; it is run through my school, and I figured the results would be more accurate, because there is less of a chance of opinionated or articles containing untrue information.

I went to Google and typed in the keyword "Flickr" and got over 200 million results. Talk about the Web being a huge place! The first two results were links to the website directly. The third result was Wikipedia is a very useful site that gave me information on Flickr’s history, corporate information, controversies, etc. Although Wikipedia is very useful, it is not a site that can be completely trusted because of it is edited by the general public and can contain false information. As I went down the results page, I saw a section called “news results for Flickr”. It featured an article that was posted just 16 minutes ago, called Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004. It is an opinion article and the author is explaining why he feels that blogs are no longer a good idea and tries to convince the audience to stop using sites such as Flickr to blog. This so-called “news” article was a very biased, opinionated article based on one man’s opinion on blogging and did not contain any information containing Flickr specifically.

I continued to search on Google, this time by changing the keywords quite a bit. I found that by adding a word after Flickr gave me more specific results. I typed in “using Flickr” and the first result I received was: A Comprehensive Guide To Using Flickr for Traffic Building and Brand Marketing. The “Comprehensive Guide” part seemed interesting so I clicked on it. The site was actually very informative, and gave advice on choosing a free or pro account, how to tag pictures, networking on Flickr, etc. I would definetly use this website for reliable information because it is like a little guide to the Flickr world.

Lastly on Google, I typed in Flickr+history to see if I could get any information of how Flickr began., which is a credible news source, had a link right on the first page to their article titled Flickr An Idea on a Gaming Project Led to Photo Website. Through this article in particular, I learned that a woman is the creator of Flickr, and also that it is currently owned by Yahoo (Graham, 2006). I then headed over to to see what kind of results that site would give me. Like Google, Ask provided me with millions of results. To my surprise, the results were extremely similar. I figured similar results would pop up, but for some reason I thought Google would have more relevant ones first, but it turns out they both had pretty similar arrangements of results. There were differences between Ask and Google: on Ask, the first result that pops up is an ad for Chinese dating. That is completely irrelevant to my search and is just an annoyingly-placed ad. However, I saw something on Ask that Google didn't seem to have, that I actually really did like. On the right hand corner of the site there was a box that said Ask Q&A: 454 Questions about Flickr. When I clicked on it, there was a whole list of commonly asked questions, that when clicked took me to websites such as eHow and Yahoo! Answers, which had (often times) very detailed explanations for whatever it was the user was asking. This was extremely helpful because a lot of people have similar questions regarding the website and most of them are answered by those more familiar with Flickr. Back to the search results, I saw a link called Interview With Flickr- Creative Commons. This site featured an interview between the website, Creative Commons and Flickr’s co-founder, Stewart Butterfield. Although it contained interesting information, the article was a little out-dated because it was from October 1, 2005, so I think it being 3 years old makes it not useful because Butterfield is talking about a lot of goals and ideas that might have already happened or been not used since that time. The next article I looked at was called What Is Flickr (and Hot Tips for Using It). This site also contained a lot of useful information, however, it also was from 2005 and quite outdated since a lot might have changed on the website since then. I realize now that it is very important to check for dates on websites because a lot of these that are appearing, even those at the beginning of the search results, are not even close to being current. Before I left Ask, I decided to do a more specific search, so I typed in flickr+corporate to see if I could get any results regarding the business side of the website. I retrieved one article, that is recent (from 2008), which was good, called It's No Flickr of Hope.

Lastly, I decided to visit EBSCOhost to see if I could find any interesting information. I was very surprised that the search actually provided me with results! I didn’t think a search from ESBCOhost would return anything when I put in Flickr, considering Flickr isn’t really an academic or learning-based website, but to my surprise, there were actually quite a few results, and many of them were really good. One was called The Internet Connection: Web 2.0, Flickr and Endless Possibilities. It described Web 2.0 and Flickr, and I don’t think I saw a site on Google or Ask that had really touched upon the Web 2.0 aspect of the site. Another site that caught my attention was called When Worlds Collide.
It was an interesting article about how personal and professional lives are now being linked through sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Flickr.

After searching these three search engines for information, I found that the use of specific keywords makes it a lot easier to sift through millions of search results. While just typing in Flickr to the search engine definetly does work, adding a more specific keyword after it, like "history" or "popularity", made the results much more specific and usable. I also came across a lot of sites that seemed like they had a lot of inaccurate information. Obviously, when using a search engine there are going to be many user-based sites with personal opinions, biased information, etc. Luckily, it’s usually easy to tell which sites do not contain credible information. Often times, it’s a blogging site, and if it is not, you can usually tell just by reading the first few sentences as to whether or not the information is reliable to believe and use.

Graham, Jefferson (2006). Flickr of idea on a gaming project led to photo website. Retrieved October 20, 2008, from USA Website: