Is Flickr just one big circle jerk? Am I just another Flickr gerbil racing on the giant Flickr wheel?
There now appear to be as many or more groups on Flickr as there are members. I manage thirteen of them myself. Some Flickr groups, such as Flickr Central, are all inclusive; others are narrow, catering to a very limited interest (sepia photos of left handed New York city firemen (alright, I made that up but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out there is such a group).
We all madly solicit for our groups. We all want our groups to grow and grow and grow. I freely admit I troll for additions to my favorite groups (Faces of Maturity and East Tennessee Natural Landscapes). Every image I post which proves popular receives six, seven or more invitations to join someone else’s group.
Then there are the “award” groups. In return for the priviledge of posting to “Outstanding Photographs Taken in Cincinnati at Dawn”, I must comment on five other photos in the group or be banned. If you are desperate for comments you can post to the mandatory comment groups. Some groups insist I judge ten or more images (I’m thinking of starting a group requiring a poster to write an Italian sonnet about each of the five photos to the right). So we all post photos. We all post to groups. We all comment on photos in those groups as the rules require. Why do we all do this? So those whose photos we commented on will comment on ours, or join our groups? I scratch your back so you’ll scratch mine? I wonder if I would be such an enthusiastic Flickrite if there was no way to get (positive) feedback on my images. So what if lots of people might look at my work but I never knew how many people, or knew what any of them thought about my images. My guess is my posting would be far less frequent.
So I guess the deal is implicit but compelling. Comment Or Languish. I often run across very good photos with only a handful of hits. Invariably these neglected gems are in just one or two groups, or even none at all. God! What a terrible fate!
So I’ll honor the deal. Speed up the wheel; I’ll grab the guy’s to the right. I crave those hearts and flowers, stars, medals, panda’s and all those other cute little graphics assuring me my images aren’t all that bad. And I’m willing to dish out the same to you.