On April 20th, 2018 SmugMug and Flickr simultaneously announced that Flickr was acquired by SmugMug. After years of being passed around from Yahoo to Verizon and not seeing a vast improvement on the platform, a lot of Flickr users seem to be worried about this new acquisition; especially since the announcements, emails and TOS updates are not as clear.
There is a huge Second Life community on flickr and we use it often to engage with each other. That’s why I felt it was important for me to write this post and possibly offer some alternatives and also try to settle some nerves.
A Voice of Reason
I was still worried about the future though and what it entails, until I read Thomas Hawk’s post: MY THOUGHTS ON THE SMUGMUG FLICKR ACQUISITION. I was introduced to Thomas Hawk through Empire Avenue many years ago, and have been following his work since then. He’s a wonderful real world photographer and has connections both in Flickr and SmugMug headquarters. He’s not worried about the acquisition at all and in fact is looking forward to some positive changes in Flickr, finally. He feels since SmugMug is a platform that has always encouraged photographers and artists, they might make changes to Flickr that will be beneficial to all in the future. Reading his thoughts on the matter put me at ease about this whole situation.
Two Different Purposes
SmugMug has been a great source for real world photographers for many years. However, it is a completely different animal from Flickr. Flickr is a great place for photographers to share their work and get feedback because it works like a social network. You can follow each other, fav photos, leave comments and really interact with the artists that you follow. Whereas SmugMug is more geared towards selling. It doesn’t work like a social network at all and in fact, you need to have a paid account to use it at all. Because of this, I feel like they definitely will keep both Flickr and SmugMug running separately as they serve two different purposes and both will generate income for them in different ways.
For now, I plan to do nothing but continue on with Flickr like I have been before. I will still host my blog images there and upload there every time I do a blog post. If things change in the future and they decide they will get rid of flickr, then I will go back and fix/update any important blog posts with the images. Obviously I won’t do all of them, but for major posts I will make time to do that. I also plan to eventually backup all of my flickr pictures to Google Photos. Google Photos gives users free, unlimited storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution. I’ve looked into what would be the easiest way to transfer 10 years of images and I’ve seen a few suggestions such as using a service like MultCloud or do it manually by downloading zip files from your camera roll on flickr and then uploading directly to Google Photos. There is a step by step on this page: How to move your Flickr pictures to Google Photos. This is a backup plan that we all can look into implementing so we don’t lose years of memories. We have time to do this now as it doesn’t look like they have plans to get rid of Flickr anytime soon, so do think about it.
Let’s say in the future they do decide that they want to close Flickr, where would the Second Life community go to share their art? I have a few suggestions that I looked into. I have also created an account on these networks so if you guys do decide to migrate over, remember to add me and let me know so I can follow back.
There is already a budding Second Life community on Instagram, which was kind of surprising to me as I don’t like to post Second Life images from my phone. I use photoshop and upload directly from my desktop and Instagram is mainly mobile only. However, there are certain apps that you can use on your desktop, which Instagram approves of, that let you upload to Instagram. You can read this article and see which apps are approved by Instagram and choose the one that best suits your needs. I decided to go with the app Later.com and it has been working wonderfully for me so far. I have used it to post three images from my desktop in the past week. The way it works is, you can upload it to Later.com from desktop and then schedule when you want to post it. Then I just login to the app on my phone and post it directly to Instagram from there as the picture is already there. So it still requires you to have a phone to do it but it makes uploading the image and scheduling the post a lot easier, for me anyways.
Here are some Instagram accounts you may want to follow:
- Strawberry Singh on Instragram (I’ll try and follow back any Second Life/Sansar residents that follow me.)
- Sansar Official account on Instagram (I have confirmed with the Lab and this is their official account.)
- Second Life Official account on Instagram (I have confirmed with the Lab and this is their official account. All other accounts claiming to be official Second Life accounts should be unfollowed/reported.)
- Search #SecondLife hashtag on Instagram to look for more active residents.
You can also embed Instagram pictures into your blog posts. Here are a couple of my pictures from the past week:
Koinup was a great social network for virtual world photographers but it was sold to another company and since then I noticed it was getting spammed by weird real life images. Hopefully, we can take it back if we all decide to move there. I quit posting there last year, but if more people join and follow, then I’ll start participating there again. This is my Koinup account.
DeviantArt is one of the biggest online communities for artists and art-lovers. I have heard that a lot of the artists on DeviantArt don’t appreciate Second Life images, but I’m not sure how true that is. I do have an account on DeviantArt, but honestly don’t really use it that often. I just uploaded a couple of pictures today, I’ll see how it goes. Let me know if you guys decide to join.
Other Photo Platforms
I hope this post helps settle your nerves a bit as I do feel like flickr isn’t going anywhere, not any time soon anyways. But even if it does in the future, it’s good to have a backup plan and also establish a presence on other photo platforms.