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 Google.com and Ask.com 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, albany.edu. 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.com. 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. USAtoday.com, 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 Ask.com 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 Today.com. Website: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/2006-02-27-flickr_x.htm