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Flickr contacts

Flickr contacts are what makes Flickr “Flickr”. We can post our pictures on the web in any number of places. Flickr is about photography, but it is also a social network. Our interaction with our Flickr contacts determines how much we get out of our investment in Flickr.


Flickr contacts do a lot of things for us. They provide us a mini art gallery of new work each day to look at--an art gallery where we have 100% control of the artists in it. They give us words of wisdom, friendship, humor, and sorrow. Their art provides us with new ideas that improves our own work.


The nature of Flickr creates a unique environment by which to enjoy art. The everyday blog nature of Flickr links Flickr photos to the everyday rhythm and pace of the artist’s life—the ups and downs, the moments of extreme excitement and boredom, the life transitions, the seasons. Coupled with the ability to interact with the artist in a reciprocal relationship makes Flickr a “hot” medium.


I am convinced that Flickr contacts are the most common reason people leave Flickr. You have to nourish your network constantly. Keeping up with the social network aspect of Flickr takes a lot of time, and for any number of reasons this can become impossible or undesirable. Flickrites who can’t figure out how to create and engage an effective social network don’t get the level of traffic and comments on their pictures they expect and give up on Flickr.


I have 3663 total contacts: 239 are two-way (i.e. they are contacts with me and I am a contact of theirs), 33 are one-way from me to them (i.e. they are my contact, but I am not theirs), and 3424 are one-way from them to me. I have managed as many as 400 and as few as 150 contacts, but for me 250 is about the sweet spot.


I want to THANK the 31 Flickr contacts that I have had as contacts for three years or more: Hazed, ilsebatten, fotoaparatas, I'mMurphy'sLaw, losy, Anne Strickland, crowt59, brynmeillion, peggyhr, bryanilona, Sir Cam, Tailer's Family, André Pipa, LukeOlsen, i_love_u_get_away_from_me, tengtan, setsuna, abuela pinocho, jotKa26, Zé Eduardo, goorn23, the-father, spkennedy3000, Sati Kobashi, Celia, Zinni, ~lala~(Lisa), Steve-h, Lady Smirnoff, 3dphoto.net, Pisces Romance, and {maeve}. What joys you have given me!


I manage my network size through occasional purges—if someone doesn’t reciprocate my comments for a long period of time I have to make a judgment whether to keep or not. I do keep some contacts who never look at my work, but not many. When new contacts connect with me, I consider two questions: Will I like looking at their art every day, and will they be a good, reliable contact?


I have observed many different types of Flickr contacts over my three years of Flickring:

* The Reliable Contact—One or two pictures a day, every day, always reciprocates.

* The Weekend Contact—Posts one or two pics a day, and then catches up with their contacts on the weekend.

* The Haphazard Contact—Posts haphazardly, visits haphazardly. Still can be good contacts, they just are at a different activity level with Flickr. Sometimes Reliable and Weekend Contacts go through this phase.

* The Contact Who Dumped You—Won’t visit you even though you notice they’re visiting others.

* The Dead Contact—Isn’t visiting anybody.

* The Experimenting Contacts—Of course I love them! Always trying to push the boundaries with something new.

* The One Trick Pony Contacts—Yes I love the 1000 pictures of {Insert Obsession Here}, but could you try something different!

* The Blogging Contacts—Contacts who have as much to say as they do to show.

* The No Hands Contacts—Contacts who only fave, won’t comment.

* The Lurking Contacts—They don’t comment or fave, but they still may be viewing your work.

* The On the Cusp Contacts—They’re on the cusp of quitting Flickr… beware the drama!

* The Photo Dump Contacts—They post a lot of pictures every day. If they’re not good artists they won’t remain a contact very long… but if they’re really good artists, I don’t mind keeping up with the volume. Few can pull it off but there are some gems.

* The Teaching Contacts—Their art teaches us constantly how to improve ourselves.


Here’s Three Cheers for Contacts!

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Taken on July 31, 2010